The Right Solution

This year’s Renters’ Review, on page 10 of this issue, highlights an important fundamental point that often gets lost, and that is the need to listen to your customers to determine what they need, and then make a commitment to ensuring they get it (even if it means it’s not from you).

We all know people rent equipment because they have a problem that needs solving. Whether the problem is a flooded construction jobsite or a scuffed-up kitchen table, your customers come to you looking for a solution. To provide the right solution, you need to first focus on asking the right questions and then pay close attention to the answers.

In one of the real-life rental situations relayed in this year’s Renters’ Review, one of our writers needed a boom lift to replace an upstairs window, but since his rental source had no boom lift available at the time, his salesperson suggested a scissor lift, assuring him it would work fine for his job. For a variety of reasons, a scissor lift was not an effective — or safe — solution to this customer’s problem. Luckily, no one was hurt in this case, but the potential for mayhem was significant.

No doubt the salesperson sincerely wanted to provide a solution for his customer, and certainly wanted to avoid losing his business, so he offered a makeshift option. His tactic might have seemed successful at first — after all, he made the sale — but was it a sound business decision in the long run, when his angry customer demanded a break on the rate and vowed never to use his company again?

We in the rental industry love to promote the convenience and cost effectiveness of renting, but if field salespeople or counter employees fail to ask the right questions to determine the right tool for the job, or ignore the answers because they’re so focused on making the sale, the effect will not be positive but instead, could cost your customer time and money, and cost you a customer in the end.

Everyone wants to get as much business as possible, but a customer will appreciate your honesty and expertise when you listen carefully to what his needs are, and then sincerely try to meet them, even if that means occasionally referring him elsewhere for the right tool.