It’s Easier Not to Start

“Hi, Mike? How’s it going?”

“Oh, you know.”

“What are you doing these days?”

“A little this, a little that.”

Janet laughed. Mike was always trying new things. He always had something new on the go. Mike was a sales guy. He could sell you anything. He was constantly buying and selling and making a profit.

“I don’t know how you did it, Mike, but those 2 jobs you helped me close a few weeks back worked out better than most. They just seemed to go smoothly and then they paid me right away and thanked me. I was right there with you, but I still don’t get it.”

“Janet, mostly I listened. I listened for them to tell me what was most important to them. Remember I told you that Mr Smith was worried about his roses. You must have done a good job looking after them. A good thing, too, because I guaranteed you wouldn’t kill them. He was way more concerned with his roses than he was with the price.”

“Yes, we made a point of covering them and uncovering them every day. That was a big difficult roof. I priced it a little higher, anticipating we might run into problems and we didn’t. He came out with his cheque book as we were wrapping up and I almost told him to take 10% off, it went so smoothly.”

Mike looked horrified, “You didn’t, though, right? Tell me you didn’t.”

Janet laughed, “No, I didn’t”

“Look, Janet. You still charged less than anyone else would have. Your customers want a fair price, not the lowest price, in fact, if you are the lowest price, they wonder what is wrong with you. If you didn’t have a really good reputation, your low prices would scare people away. You need to bring your prices up.”

“I can’t look someone in the eye and tell them their job will cost x if I know it will cost less.”

“Janet, I know you love your old truck, but if you are working as hard as you are and you can’t afford a new one, you are not covering your costs. If you aren’t putting money away to replace your equipment or for retirement you are not covering your costs. Those are part of your costs of doing business. Your customers don’t want to be gouged, but they are happy to pay a fair price that covers all your costs.”

“I just want to help people. I don’t think I can do this. I’m comfortable with the way things are. If I increase my prices, people will expect more.”

“I’ll tell you what. You write up your estimates and add 20%. Tell your customers your associate will stop by with the estimate and I’ll close the sales for you. Just to show you it will work.”

“Yes, but, Mike,  if I need that money for new equipment and everything, how will I pay you?”

“Don’t worry about that. I’ll add my fee on top.”

“Add 20% and then you’ll add even more? That won’t work”

“Trust me, Janet. It will work.”

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