“Lessons Learned from a Lifetime in Pest Management”, Presented by Hall of Famer Norm Cooper

Posted: December 4, 2013 in New York Pest Expo
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Norm Speaking PEWe had a great presentation from our friend Norm Cooper at this year’s New York Pest Expo. Norm shared some life lessons he has learned in his many years of running one of the largest pest control companies in the New York area.

Each of us has a unique quality that makes us different from others. When it comes to selling your services, Norm feels strongly you should be selling your uniqueness. Why are you different? What sets you apart? Once you understand this and how to use it to your advantage you won’t have to sell price. You deserve the business. Keep in mind that when it comes to customer management be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. You can’t be all things to all people.

Norm has found that no matter the business, if the service is great, price is secondary. In the pest control industry, many operators are small. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, this can be a blessing. Exploit the fact that you’re small, and personable, and readily available, and able to make quick decisions.

Norm recommended being selective in your choice of words. For example:

  • Replace “free” with “save”
  • Replace “guaranteed” with “proven”
  • Replace “can’t” with “We will do everything possible”
  • Replace “contract” with “agreement”
  • Replace “exterminator” with “technician” or “pest management professional”
  • Pepper your conversation with power words like “sale”, “secrets”, “benefits”, “yes”, and “fast”.

But, the most important word is “because”.  It breaks down resistance. When you have to explain a decision or clarify a point, open your statement with “because”.  For example: “Because it is the most effective method.”

The words and phrases we choose to use paint a picture. When you’re speaking with your customers about increasing fees, don’t say “It’s only a 5% increase.” Try: “Starting next month it will be an additional $4.” That doesn’t sound so bad. Does it?

When you’re ready to increase your pricing try it initially with a small group of clients and test it. It’s unlikely you’ll lose 10% of your client base with a 5% increase. But even if you did, you’ll still come out ahead in added profits. After all, you have to cover the increases you receive from your vendors, don’t you?  You will have to practice increases to keep your profits.

Always remember, the most significant person in your company is the customer. We depend on them and they are why we are in business. Never think of your customers as an “interruption”. They are always a top priority.  Give your clients great customer service. Answer the phone before the 3rd ring.  Let the customer “hear” your smile. Be engaged, genuine and polite. Ask permission before putting someone on hold. If you’re too busy, ask to call the customer back, not for them to call you.   And always thank the customer for calling.  Demonstrate to them just how important they are to you.

Thank you for reading our recap! We really appreciate it.

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