Make it Easy

It all started when a potential client asked me to research the recreational rental market including jet skis and ATVs (all-terrain vehicles). After conducting research at several dealers specializing in the sale of these items, I started to see how it would be fun to use an ATV myself.

All it took was a short test drive and I was hooked. But I knew I really just wanted to use one a few times a year — I didn’t want to own one with all the related costs, such as purchasing a trailer and storing it. I also knew that I didn’t want to travel alone when driving one, so I would need multiple units for friends and family. Even though my intention was to rent, I found there were no ATV rental possibilities within a reasonable distance of where I would be using them.

So, last week I purchased two ATVs after a number of visits to ATV dealers that were all in need of sales training. It seemed that even the large, seemingly successful stores were relying almost exclusively on their location and the prospect’s initiative to sell their products. I purchased where I did because the salesperson (who was one of the owners) showed real interest in my situation and needs. She made it easy for me.

Most businesses don’t put a large enough emphasis on making it easy for the customer to give more money. This point was highlighted by an insurance agent I dealt with the day after I made the ATV purchase. I originally told the agent the type of coverage I wanted, and she quoted $200. As she was typing in the information, I politely asked to add some additional coverages she had mentioned before. She said that it would mean re-doing some of the forms she had just completed. Her voice and body language strongly suggested to me that she didn’t want to put in this extra effort. I apologetically asked her to make the changes she had been anxious for me to take until she started filling out the paperwork. The cost for the additional coverages more than doubled the premium.

The moral of the story is — be sure you’re doing everything in your power to make it easy for your customers/prospects to do business with you.

The first step is to analyze the communication between your staff and your customers/prospects. Be objective. Are employees using the best techniques to maximize their effectiveness? Check other portions of your business, including credit policies and procedures, to see if there are ways to streamline. Next, develop a plan to make all of the needed changes — and in the case of the people skills portion, make the changes into habits. Once you implement the new plan, periodically evaluate the success of your changes. Don’t get complacent with the way your business works — all businesses have room for improvement.

Dick Detmer is a nationally recognized business consultant, lecturer and writer and has been involved in the equipment rental industry for over 30 years. He is the author of “The Guide to Great Customer Service” as well as “A Practical Guide to Working in an Equipment Rental Business.” Copies are $12.95 and $19.95 U.S. respectively, plus $1.50 shipping and handling and 81 cents/$1.25 tax per book (IL residents). For consulting or seminar services, Dick can be contacted at (309) 781-3451.