How to Establish Control of the Service Call

Written on: July 3, 2018 by Roger Daviston

An assertive person is a person who thinks proactively and does not wait for events to occur. In other words, they don’t wait to react; they plan and move ahead of anticipated events. Obviously, we all have to react to events that come at us but an assertive person understands that he/she needs to plan ahead and is comfortable with non-urgent matters.
As a result of planning ahead and moving ahead of events, the assertive person has much less chaos in his/her life because he/she took care of it beforehand. The more you plan and work ahead, the less chaotic your life will be.
Let me illustrate this point from the perspective of The Service Call Blueprint with a greeting. The greeting is filled with assertive characteristics. Let’s look closer:
Tech: Mr. Jones, We appreciate your business and thanks for letting us come out. How can I help you today?
Mr. Jones:  I noticed that my house was getting warm and then I noticed that the A/C would not come on.
Tech: Okay, I can certainly help you with that. Just to confirm, did the office share with you the service fee of $79? (Proactive move: Past experience taught me that sometimes this becomes a problem later so I learned to move ahead and be proactive).Daviston service tech pic
Mr. Jones: Yes. I’m fine with that.
Tech: Okay, just to let you know so you’re comfortable with how I do things, I will go and get my tools, take a look and figure out what we need to do to get you going. Once I know, I would like to  sit down with you and go over your options. Then you can tell me what you would like to do. You’re the boss. How does that sound? (Proactive move: I am moving ahead of the event called the “presentation.” I don’t want any issues with getting him to sit down so I planned it. I asked for it and I got agreement.)
Mr. Jones: Sure, not a problem.
Tech: Good. How are you on time? (Proactive move: Experience has taught me that often times homeowners will leave when I least expect them to. So I move ahead of that event, too.)
Mr. Jones:  I’ll be here all day.
Please don’t miss this. The question about time is critical because even though it is rare, sometimes customers do run off. When they leave, you lose leverage because you can’t get them involved visually. Sure, you can send them a video or pictures but there is nothing more powerful than letting a homeowner hold the front panel of an air handler covered in fuzzy growth.
Raising another person’s pain level helps him/her make a decision. Looking at and holding a problematic component makes them feel real pain much more so than seeing a video. Our solution eliminates the fuzzy growth, and at a deeper level, eliminates the customer’s pain.
Recently, I was coaching a client. He called his customer proactively and set up an appointment for a tune-up. Even though the weather was mild, he managed to set appointments by calling his customers and selling tune-ups for $99.
One of his customers was a radiologist at a local hospital. She lives in a big house and has four systems. My client found about $3,000 worth of  indoor air quality (IAQ) issues that he wanted to bring to her attention, but couldn’t, because he forgot to ask, “Are you good on time?”
As you know, it takes three or four hours to do maintenance on four systems. Obviously, his customer did not know this and had to leave. When she got the technician’s attention, he became flustered and quickly presented some ideas, which was a mistake. If he had been proactive he would have anticipated this and set a time to come back and let her see, and maybe even hold, the fuzzy growth.
He may get this sale, but if he does not, it was a very expensive mistake. It is only five words: “Are you good on time?”
How many times have you done a beautiful presentation only to hear that they need to talk it over with someone else? Would it not be a more proactive move to ask that question before you present? I have a rule. No presentation until I talk to ALL people who are going to expect this new system to work and have authority to say “Yes,” or “No.”
This is a very proactive and assertive move and may feel uncomfortable. Even if it feels uncomfortable, do it anyway. Fear paralyzes us but fear is normal. Break through the fear. Most of what I do today comes easily, but in the beginning, I was afraid to feel uncomfortable. Get through your fear, grow and become better. ICM
Roger Daviston is a cognitive behavioral specialist who helps clients achieve and maintain behavioral change. His new book The Service Call Blueprint is available on
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