Prospecting for Work

“I think lining and coating are two of the most exciting technologies I’ve ever run across. Being able to rehab pipe without using invasive methods like digging up the ground to replace the pipe or ripping out sheetrock to replace the DWV pipe. I’m really good at operating both units and all the customers I’ve performed work to praise my work. My problem is not getting enough people to see what a great technology this is. I’ve advertised it, mentioned it to every customer  I’ve had a call to, and spent more time talking up the technology than any other thing I offer but I’m not getting many people to want me to perform this work for them. Any tips?” John

John, I understand your enthusiasm about these technologies and think I may be able to offer you some tips regarding applying it to your jobs. No one calling you cares about this technology. They call you because they have a problem and are looking for someone to solve their immediate problem, namely, open up their sewer line so it drains or to fix a leak that is staining their wall. They are looking for expertise to solve these problems immediately and have not thought of anything other than getting this fixed. Most of the time they have no thoughts of root problems, scaling in cast iron pipe, nor any of the other issues found in the drainage system.

Before you remove all the roots or fix the leading DWV pipe, you have a small window to present options to your customers. This window is small and only open for a short amount of time before it closes by a competitor, lack of interest, or funding.

While the window is open you should show your customer the problem.

  • The old saying a picture is worth a thousand words applies here. Showing your customer video footage of what’s behind the problem they called you out to fix will help explain options to them of different ways you can address the problem. Opening up a wall, wrapping a no-hub coupling around a lead or blowing a hole through the root intrusions is a solution but only a temporary fix and you can explain that while reviewing the video of the problem.
  • Your next option is to rip out and replace the pipe. You can point out all associated cost to be covered and involve quoting costs for the work as well as the impact of that type of work. This includes restoration which comes into play as well as time which may include displacing people from the space while you perform your work.  
  • Your final option is to discuss the low impact option of lining or coating to solve the problem which not only includes opening the drain but taking the cure to a more permanent point than cleaning only. You can point out the short time frame as well as not needing to displace any people from the work areas to complete the work.

When was the last time you called any vendor and mentioned you’d like to buy their goods or services without any point of reference for why you’d need it? While you may need the technology, without a point of reference you will most likely turn up your nose at the offer. Not until you understand the technology and can understand how it will help you, any promotion of the product or process will be ignored by you.

During this window of opportunity, you can then and only then explain why and how the rehabilitation of the piping will be a benefit. While you and I may know that roots will grow back and that scale will continue to build and cause issues in the future, your customer doesn’t know that and it may take time to convince them to wrap their head around your proposal. If you propose a lining or coating fix and your customer doesn’t accept the proposal, you may propose a longer warranty to free drain cleaning during the warranty period if they have a back-up. Once a back-up occurs they will call you and if you’ve crafted your warranty they will hire you for rehabilitation if the back-up occurs. You’ve locked in the customer from calling others who will charge them for opening the drain while your service will be no cost, and if you demonstrate the problem is caused by the same issues from the original call you will have a job for rehabilitation.

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