Going Above and Beyond

Referrals are the strongest business leads we can get. When a past customer sings our praises, we can get no better recommendation. In light of this, I want to show you how to transform ordinary business relationships into extraordinary ones. I want to encourage you to create actions that are designed to be so exceptional and different from what is expected that your customers are pleasantly surprised, to say the least. These actions generate such good word-of-mouth advertising that it’s the best form of advertising you can buy regardless of cost.

Above-and-beyond actions don’t have to be expensive, but they are thoughtful. They leave a good impression that your customers will not soon forget. These above-and-beyond activities are unique to a client’s situation, and are usually a surprise. They are specific and personal. For example, if you pull up one morning on a work site and find the homeowner rushing out the door for an important appointment only to discover they have a flat tire, imagine how this homeowner would feel if you hand them your car keys and said, “Go ahead and take my truck. I’ll be here all day. I’ll take care of the tire.”
If I loan you my truck and that allows you to make an important meeting or complete a big sale, that would be the topic of conversation with every one of your friends for the next week. It’s these sorts of actions that create extraordinary relationships, not just satisfied customers.

Opportunities can show up in a variety of ways. When remodeling someone’s home, we are disrupting virtually all of their routines simply by the nature of our work. Cooking becomes its own challenge if the kitchen is under renovation. Without telling them in advance, surprise your customers by showing up with a picnic basket that includes a full dinner including wine and dessert. Enclose a note instructing them to merely return the empty basket to the front porch and it will be picked up.

You can also find out what their favorite restaurant is, and you can surprise them by giving them a gift card to that restaurant.

If they have children, give them a night out with a gift certificate for a movie and popcorn. Can you begin to imagine the good feelings that come from that?

With a variety of tradespeople working in their home every day, cleaning can become an impossible task. I know a very successful contractor who sends in a cleaning crew in the middle of the project, and he instructs the crew to clean the rest of the house. This is a momentary but welcome reprieve for homeowners who are struggling with the mess that comes with most remodeling projects. Here are some additional ways to create a pleasant surprise for people you are working with.

Know your customer’s likes. Surprise them with gift cards for:

  • Restaurants
  • Golf
  • Get-away hotels
  • Family activities for kids and adults
  • Electronics (Flat-screen TV)

Project related:

  • Bath accessories gift card
  • Kitchen accessories gift card
  • Furniture store gift card
  • With new wood floors, offer a gift of cleaning supplies for those wood floors

Above-and-beyond activities are characterized by the following attributes:

  • A pleasant surprise
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Timeliness

There is no one way to plan these above-and-beyond opportunities. One remodeler I know in northern Virginia piles his guys into a truck every time it snows and he shovels the walks and driveways of every person he is working with. It’s a simple thing, but it leaves its mark. Imagine what these home-owners think when they see this going on. These activities result in a form of word-of-mouth advertising that you can’t buy for any amount of money.