Selling M.A.'s

August 15, 2005

By: Adams Hudson

Okay, here's the thing. Most contractors do a job once. Get paid. Leave. Hope the customer remembers you. Yada yada.

How would you like to be paid repeatedly, automatically and predictably, while "locking in" customers? Thought so. Wouldn't it be nice to have a customer PAY YOU to remain a customer? Thought so.
This issue is for you.

Maintenance Agreement Magic
Team Support Sells; No Support Fails
Establishing a powerful Maintenance Agreement (MA) Program doesn't come by "an announcement from above." It's a team effort. So, your next question is, "How do I get the team to support this Program?"

1. Don't forget that your employees are your most important customers. They make more contacts, see things no one else does, and get comments that are pure gold in helping improve customer service.

A way to help ensure Maintenance Agreement success is to give each employee - including those in the office - your MA service.

So when a customer asks your tech if he gets regular maintenance, he can say, "Yes, although I could fix anything that broke, I believe in them enough to actually have one at my home."

When the doctor takes the same medicine he prescribes, there is no higher endorsement.

2. Pay a commission to all employees who sell the Program, whether they work in the field or the office. Your receptionist can be as important as the tech. They "open the door" to an MA by saying, "Be sure to ask your tech how to save 10% today..." It is a team effort.

Performance-based pay also means:
More team spirit
Expanded contact with customers
Shared goals for everyone
Increase sales and service awareness
Put your "team" in an MA effort. Change the mindset from "selling" to "converting".

Maintenance Agreement Marketing
You can't perform broad market advertising your MA Program since they are more about a relationship than making a sale. And no ad is going to break a furnace or cause a plumbing leak.

Likewise, it is extremely difficult to market broadly for a contractual arrangement. The reason? Because you're skipping the first, crucial step. You hear the "Two-Step" close often in retailing...

Just before you buy a DVD player you'll be asked, "Did you want Damage Protection with that?"

When you buy a car and are about to sign for your payment agreement or purchase order, "Did the product rep tell you about the Extended Service Contract for your car?"

So your primary objective is to gain MORE of the opportunities that introduce the MA as the logical 2nd step. Broad market your tune-ups and plumbing maintenance and convert them to MA when the tech presents the invoice.

Now go out there and sell something!

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink “Creative Marketing that Works.” His company creates a full line of marketing tools for contractors including Customer Retention newsletters, Yellow Page ads, “turn-key” Marketing PowerPacks and custom copywriting. You can get a free subscription to his “Sales & Marketing Insider” by faxing your letterhead to 334-262-1115 with the request. Also check out on the web for free marketing tips or call 1-800-489-9099 for more info.

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