I woke up on February 1st with no heat. Heater dead. I called somebody out of the Yellow Pages – best ad. They had a guy there in an hour, fixed a “bad igniter.” $154.00. But he upsold me to their Priority Yearly Service Plan, which got me a $27.00 discount on the $154.00, but, in total, had my check made out for $314.00. I spent more to save some.
When that’s all over with, you sometimes think: what just happened here?
I had three thoughts about small business marketing as all this went on.
First, the tech was naturally a better tech than salesman, did the upsell somewhat awkwardly, basically reading it off the work order and bill. But he did it. I bought more to encourage him than because I really wanted it. But I can promise you, clumsy and hesitant or not, if he delivers that little upsell script every time, at least 20% will take it. At whatever point(s) there is human contact with customer in your business, there ought to be an upsell, unless you’re already too rich.
Second, if there had been a place I had to sign to refuse the Plan, indicating he had explained it and I understood I was putting my whole house at dire risk by refusing, not just the place to sign if I said yes, then the company would be more successful at getting all their people to do it. Just a little tip that can be worth big money.
Third, speaking of money, as I wrote out that check for $314.00 without a second thought, I remembered living here in Ohio, in comparably bitter cold winters, when our heating system failed and my parents couldn’t pay for repairs and we waited two or three weeks until they could, to get heat back. Or times when they couldn’t pay for heating oil delivery and we had only the fireplace in the dining room and blankets.
I remember the heating cord wrapped around the water pipe you filled buckets with out at the barn cracking through, a new one at the hardware store costing nineteen dollars, and none of us having nineteen dollars, so the pipe froze. I thought about all that as I wrote out that check, and then took a few minutes to jot this down.
Believe me, I know how very, very fortunate I am these days, to be free of money worries, to make large sums of money doing work I enjoy. A little ironic that only several days before my heating system finked out on me, I made $100,000.00 in three days, presenting a workshop. The guy fixing my furnace wouldn’t make that for a full year of work. (And he knows how to do things I don’t. Isn’t that interesting?)
Finally I thought if only my parents and I had known then the things I know now about money and how easy it is to make it, there would never have been a night without heat. All around us, people with all kinds of ability and talent end their days with empty checkbooks and piles of unpaid bills only because they do not know what you and I know, what we discuss and consider in this newsletter every month, and, to be totally fair, they sometimes lack the initiative and ambition to get and use such information.
Here’s a great Donald Trump quote from ‘The Apprentice’, that I jotted down while watching: “People settle for mediocrity because they are lazy.” I have zero sympathy for those who lack initiative and ambition, but I have enormous empathy for those who merely lack the information needed to get ahead.
I hope you really appreciate the great fortune that has come your way and that you have invested time, energy, initiative, discipline and money in creating for yourself. It pleases me to be some part of it. Oh, and try not to overlook opportunities to encourage anybody you run into who displays some glimmers of ability or initiative.
That, I think, is how you can pay homage, how you can honor your good fortune. So, I offered the heating guy a cup of coffee when he got there. I complimented him on doing a good job with the upsell, which caught him by surprise, but might make him think.
I said, “You know, you could make a good salesman. Or business owner.” And now I’ll jot a note to his company, letting them know the guy did a good job.