When I teach clients my Sales Power! selling system, one of the biggest concerns the owner and their Techs have is what to do when a client complains about a bill or a price by saying, “Well, your guy was only here 5 minutes!”
Customers have a distorted sense of time and value for our effort. And although they may be wrong….they always remain the customer. This is a tough objection that’s bound to come up. This is especially so if you don’t know how to minimize the problem on the front end.
The trick is to use a sales system that minimizes your need to play defense.
This type of price objection has been growing in number as more and more contractors in more trades are using a flat-rate pricing system.
But hey, you might be thinking, “We’re a T & M shop [time and material] so this doesn’t apply.”
We ran as a T & M shop for years and customers would call and complain about the time on the invoice saying stuff like, “He went for parts and I should be charged for that” or “He was smoking a cigarette and I shouldn’t be charged for that.” You get the picture. It was a tug of war over clock watching
That’s why I learned how to teach my own Techs to first get customers comfortable with what flat-rate pricing is all about by using one of the most common explanations there is, “We charge by the job not by the hour” because the real goal is for everyone to focus on the task at hand and not on time alone.
I do admit that if your Tech happens to be quick on the job or lucky enough to find and resolve the problem fast the customer is going to feel cheated if they don’t see the value of what you’re doing.
That’s why I teach Techs as specific 5 Step Sales Process designed to build value the whole way. And one technique that has helped with time is for the Tech to say before the work starts, “Whether it takes me 5 minutes or 5 hours here’s all you’ll pay.”
This gets the conversation back to the true benefits to a customer when it comes to why flat-rate pricing is in their best interest and not just the company:
- Fairness: Which means you pay the same price as your neighbor would pay for the same work.
- Protection: Which means this is all you’ll pay for the work you’ll be doing whether you take 5 minutes or 5 hours.
Like all good systems, they need to be in writing. And then they need to be practiced in role-plays. The closer the role-play conditions are to the “Real-World” the better the training goes and the more success the Tech and the company will have.