Sunday, June 15, 2008

Deliver What You Promise

So Robin Robins reminds us that "No one knows how good you are until after the sale. Before they buy, they only know how good your marketing is."

How true. How true.

And it really doesn't matter what business you're in.

But the next step is also critical: Once they sign the deal, you better deliver what you promised. Maybe more.

Robin always gives examples from other service industries (e.g., heating and air). I have a personal experience relating to having my backyard redone.

A few years ago we had two new patios put in. The salesman did a perfect job of sales. Gave us just the right information. Had a binder full of reference letters. Got us to pay for the plans. Revised things per our feedback.

Step by step . . . all the way to YES.

And then they proceeded to do a half-assed job of pouring concrete. We had cracks so large we were afraid to let the chihuahua go out unattended. On two different occasions we have had to call them in to jackhammer out their concrete and re-pour it the way it should have been done in the first place.

Even at that, they wanted us to pay for them to re-do the work they screwed up!


You did it wrong. You get to pay to do it over.

- - - - -

Unfortunately, I've seen the same thing in our line of business. A technician is paid to do a job. They mess it up or learn on the job. The client doesn't know the difference.

And when the system blows up, the technician gets paid to fix it.

Even if the fix is another half-assed learning experience.

To my mind, that's the "bad" side of break/fix. It creates an environment in which incompetent technicians can thrive off of unsuspecting clients.

That doesn't represent most break/fix technicians and clients, but it represents a lot more than it should. Through thirteen years in this business, I've seen this scenario a minimum of once a year. When I was going after smaller, cheaper clients, I saw it a lot more frequently.

- - - - -

My good friends Erick Simpson and Matt Makowicz can lay out some spectacular sales strategies. Upselling. Cross-selling. Selling selling. Selling some more.

Buy both books and these two will teach you sales like you've never had before.

But then you have to deliver.

When I think about the efficient sales processes of Erick and Matt, I can see a gaggle of consultants going out and selling millions of dollars of new business.

But I'm not worried about the delivery side. Why?

Both of these guys put 99.9% of their attention on the long run. They don't sell one-off jobs with no eye to the future. Their nefarious plan is to make the client happy, get invited back, sell them another job, and build a relationship that will last ten or more years.

Service delivery is as important as sales.

Good service delivery means quality work.

Good service delivery means no rework.

Good service delivery means happy clients.

Good service delivery means good documentation.

Good service delivery means working for the client's best long-term interest.

Good service delivery means profit.

Good service delivery means follow through.

Good service delivery means delivering on the promises you made during the sales process.

Good service delivery means future referrals.

Good service delivery means good service.

Good service delivery means creating value.

Many people think selling on "value" means jacking up the price. These people tend to be prospective clients who only buy on price and assume that one technician is the same as another.

But we're not all the same!

Some technicians go in, barely do the job they're hired to do, and leave. Other technicians deliver spectacular results -- and value.

One of these types of technicians gets invited back.

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