Would You Like Fries With That?

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Jan 14, 2013

 Would You Like Fries With That?
It’s Not a Sin to Ask For More Work Retail and fast food chains sur­vive by get­ting cus­tomers to add more food to their cur­rent request. You know what I’m talk­ing about. You go grab a burg­er and the cashier asks, Would you like fries with that?” You were think­ing just a burg­er and they helped you add fries or a soft drink to your meal. How many times have you said yes to their ques­tion? Hint…most of those chains are doing well today! Con­trac­tors can learn some­thing from these chains. The eas­i­est way to grow one’s busi­ness is by ask­ing for more work from your exist­ing cus­tomers, espe­cial­ly while you are cur­rent­ly work­ing on a project. One of the hard­est things for busi­ness own­ers (and I’ve seen this first-hand while work­ing with my dad) is get­ting employ­ees to sell addi­tion­al work. It is like pulling a tooth that won’t budge. I think there are two ways to make it hap­pen. You Get What You Inspect, Not What You Expect First, my dad always said, You get what you inspect, not what you expect.” You need to con­tin­u­al­ly remind, man­age and fol­low up with your employ­ees. You can’t just tell them to ask for more work. You have to tell them, and then fol­low up until it gets done. I talked to one con­trac­tor who said when he fol­lows up with his employ­ees on how they are doing with seek­ing addi­tion­al work, he can add 10% to this annu­al rev­enue goal. That is with min­i­mal effort on his part. When he gets busy and does­n’t fol­low up, that num­ber drops below 5%. So fol­low-up is step one. Don’t Just Tell Them To — Train, Encour­age, Set Goals Sec­ond is to train and encour­age your employ­ees: make it easy and even fun. You can have con­test if you’d like or just give your employ­ees tan­gi­ble goals. I spoke with my dad about this recent­ly. We fig­ured if every­one could look for $450 a week (each crew leader) it would add 10% to the annu­al rev­enue goal. $450 of extra work is noth­ing in the paint­ing busi­ness. It might be the front fas­cia, an entry door, a small bed­room etc. The tech­ni­cian in the field could have a very high clos­ing rate in sell­ing addi­tion­al work because of the trust he or she has earned with the home­own­er. He has built the rap­port, and it is only nat­ur­al to take a lit­tle ini­tia­tive and ask for more work. Here is how it might sound. The project manager/​crew leader is wrap­ping up a job and men­tions to the own­er, My crew is just about done with your project. Is there any­thing else we can do for you while we are here?” That one ques­tion could open up a world of extra work. Home­own­ers might respond with a sim­ple, Can’t think of any­thing right now.” But oth­ers may say, Hmm, I’m not sure. What do you think? Are there some areas you think need atten­tion?” Or Not that I can think of. Why? Did you have some sug­ges­tions?” The ide­al client will want your crews to make sure their home or prop­er­ty looks great. He or she will be rely­ing on your com­pa­ny’s exper­tise. So encour­age your employ­ees to always ask if there is some­thing more you can do. This is a way of serv­ing your cus­tomers. Many home­own­ers will be glad you asked! Got any oth­er ideas on how to ask for more work? Love to hear about it here, by email or on my face­book page.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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