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What are some good service selling techniques?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by PlowOrDie, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    Just curious about what are some selling techniques you all might be using that you feel are helping you land more clients, or possibly even upsell?
     
  2. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609


    i tell them ill be there anyway plowing snow into their driveway instead of out of it.



    payup
     
  3. MIDTOWNPC

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,452

    What do you do... commercial ? residential?
     
  4. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    It really comes down to stated price. All other things being equal, most will go with the cheapest. Not all, but most. When competing with others in a field like this, the trick to being able to charge more than others is to find an angle. For instance, I've got customers who have been with me for several years and pay me more than they might pay someone else. BUT, the trick is that no one else will plow that area when they need it plowed. There are couple who need plowed by a certain time in the morning or perhaps late in the evening (One woman works varying shifts. She knows she can just call me to make sure she can get in at 2:00 in the morning cause I live real close.). Then I've got another in the same general area because I've got those two and no one else wants to run clear over there just for that one. Another guy I plowed for several years lived quite a ways away. He'd built a new house up a steep driveway. The plow guy who did the rest of the development couldn't get up it and suggested he call me. I charged him three times what I normally would and he knew it. I had him for several years until I sent him a letter this year that he'd have to find someone else.

    My point with all this is that if you're just another guy competing with everyone else out there, the only thing you can offer is to do it cheaper. Otherwise, you really need to find an angle or something you can offer where no one else can. That will apply to large, commercial lots (where the angle might be that you'll have people and equipment there no matter what) or to driveways. I even have driveways only because the customer told me (about the "other guy") - "I won't have him on my place". So, I get it although my competitor would have done it cheaper.
     
  5. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    I do commercial and residential - more residential though



    So in other words, you're saying that the initial price that you throw at the client is what will help you either sink or swim?

    Also, when you throw out a price, do you throw out a basic price for just the plowing portion?

    Do you try to upsell sidewalk/walkway/stair shoveling and/or application anti-icing minerals?
     
  6. MIDTOWNPC

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,452

    just educating the customer usually helps getting the extras like salt and sand especially in commercial.

    Ie - salt not only makes it so people dont slip, but if you plow a site and then salt and it starts to snow again lightly that snow will melt and keep the lot clean till build up occurs if it keeps going.

    For some reason people are really interested when I say well looks like we would stack snow there so it melts in the sun, rather then over here in the shade.

    People dont know the differnces between salt sand and just straight salt - you could upsell to salt from salt sand because it doesnt track everywhere.

    Going over any special needs like shoveling away from the garage or walkways ect. trying to get that upsell but cater to the customers needs. Maybe you have customers that never want to own a shovel.. you can sell your shovel! for the all inclusive price of $xx we will make sure you never need it (residential)
     
  7. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    It can depend on the person, thier previous experiences, circumstances and most anything. You really need to be able to size up the person and thier wants. I've had customers that got lousy service and the selling point was that I don't push snow against the garage wall. I've also gotten an account because I had a sander and others didn't even though they never actually WANTED it sanded; they just wanted to know I had one. Hard to make money with a sander when you never use it but, in that case, I charged more just because of that (and got away with it for a couple years until somebody else bought a sander and offered to plow it cheaper). MOST of the time, yes it comes down to who'll do it cheapest.

    When I gave a price that included sanding, I gave seperate prices for each. Reason being, plowing prices varied by overall depth of the snow plowed per storm. Cost of sand varied by amount of sand used. There was often no relationship between the two. For instance, I might plow 14" of snow and put down a small scattering of sand. On the other hand, it may not even need plowing, but need to put down a heavy layer of sand - in the case of an ice storm - with particularly heavy on hills and curves. Or, how about freezing rain followed by 6" of snow? You need to keep options open when dealing with residentials - especially if you've got a particular customer. These are the ones who will want all these services to start with.

    I can't really answer the last part - I do not shovel anything. Neither do I get out of the truck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  8. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    I would love to search all of your previous posts to find the answer to this Mick, can ya spare me some time and answer me WHY you dont get out of the truck?
     
  9. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Sure - I set it up that way with customers in the beginning. They shovel their own pathways to their cars. There are no sidewalks in my town. Second, for my safety - the likelihood of injury is higher whenever you get out of the truck. How are you going to plow if you're laid up from falling and breaking a leg or getting a head injury? Third - the amount of time spent shoveling could be spent plowing and how many people will pay you an amount equal to plowing for shoveling thier driveway? If you want to shovel, hire a shovel guy. Besides, I'm an old man - shoveling snow is more likely to lead to a heart attack and that's just not worth it. If they want shoveling, hire someone else.

    But, what works for me won't necessarily work for you. You have to run your business in a way that's best for you. That might be the "trick" that gets you a customer - you'll shovel and your competitor doesn't.
     
  10. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    good advice! I am 27, and pretty fit, so my situation would differ. I wouldn't mind jumping out of the truck for a 5 minute paid exercise.

    The slipping and falling and getting injured part though can happen to anyone, so that worries me. But, the more I think about it, the probability of slipping and getting injured is probably the same as me crashing... so I am not going to worry about it

    but, I shall knock on wood!....
     
  11. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Include the sidewalks in the cost. Alot of the plowers around here don't do the sidewalks until it gets realy deep and the City has called the customer on it. Charge a couple of bucks more, (or the same as just the drive) and the extra service will get it for you.

    Tell them, "$XX.xx and that includes everyting. Sidewalks & Driveway and that short path to your front door. One cost when ever it snows X" or more.

    No body salts residential here so that is not an issue.
     
  12. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164

    The city that I do most all of my residential work in has a sidewalk cleaning service. There are about 3 city workers who cruise around in enclosed skidsters or some other machine of the sort and clean EVERY sidewalk in the city.

    So offering to service the sidewalks really will not work in my case.

    But, in any other city where they do not offer that service, you best believe that I will be using it as a sales tactic

    Hey Quad, why doesn't anybody salt residential there?
     
  13. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I probably shouldn't say that NO one does it. I have never had a request for it and I have never seen any other company doing it. We just plow them clean when it snows.

    The City I plow for wanted a guess on what it would cost to plow all the walks in town. I gave them one and they decided to leave it up to the residents. But the small town I live out side of has a village employee in a John Deere tractor with a blade that does all the walks.
     
  14. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    aka Your taxes are too high and this guy needs to do something to justify his job. :angry:
     
  15. PlowOrDie

    PlowOrDie Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 164



    LoneCowboy, i think you're wrong about taxes being too high.

    The city I am talking about that has city sidewalk removal has one of the lowest property taxes in OH... But they DO have a load of companies that really bring the money in for the city through income tax and property tax. If that makes sense?

    Basically what I am saying is that the city has enough money to pay for the machinery and labor, in an attempt to please the residents, which i am sure it does because the residents dont have to pay as much to have it done compared to having a private company do it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  16. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    Honestly, I've tried many of these techniques, shoveling sidewalk's, salting etc. to try and get an extra few bucks but in my experience it just comes down to the all mighty buck! I am at the point this year where we had to hire subs and that has been a good selling point,( the fact we have 4 trucks). People seem to like to hear we can handle any snow fall. But 98% of the time its $$$$. I havent done any advertising for plowing this year, and I suppose if I did, I would spend more time talking with and educating the customer's on the benefits of using us vs. a "Some guy's plowing". I always tell the customer, "to me it would be worth having a professional company who you know will show up no matter what for an extra couple of bucks" I also try to relate to them in a way they can understand, for instants--"its like buying a cheap used car from a private owner with no guarantee vs. buying a nice to decent used car from a dealer for a couple more bucks a month that should stand behind their cars.
     
  17. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    you're missing the point.
    if they have that much money to waste, (and it is a complete waste), then taxes are too high. Period. They should either be lowered or returned to those who paid them.
    Private citizens could use the market to either shovel their own or hire someone for much less overall cost than the government is taking in taxes.

    As you said, the companies are getting hosed, not the citizens, but someone pays. And what happens when you are part of those who are getting hosed? Who will speak up for you?

    When is enough enough?