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A VAN MAN Story: Growing Your Business By Giving It Away

* In addition to being the owner of the Van Man, Roger Rench is also a writer and owner of Vision 4 Greatness. Their mission is to inspire and equip people to "BE great, LIVE great, and make a great IMPACT in your world". He writes a weekly inspirational story that people can get for free by subscribing to V4G. This story is about a moving customer and highlights the Van Man's business philosophy of providing value to every potential customer and doing what's best for them. 

What would happen to your business if you honestly always tried to do what's best for the customer? What if you spoke to them like a friend giving objective advice, rather than as a biased company rep trying to get a sale? What if you gave them helpful info for free that other competitors would never give away? What if you told them a way they could get it for less than your price?

What I'm about to share with you is counter intuitive and may sound crazy. But for many businesses - especially service businesses - it works to increase sales. Tho it may seem like a reverse psychology trick, it's probably the most honest way to get a sale and gain lifelong customers.

The secret is this: instead of trying to get their business, try to give it away. To illustrate, let me share a true story of how this works in my moving business. As you read, be thinking of how you can apply this in your business or line of work.

One day a customer called me for a moving quote from Cedar Rapids,IA to Rock Island,IL - a short 80 mile trip 1-way. We were 125 miles away in Des Moines, and for us it would be a much longer trip of 375 total miles. I knew our quote would probably be too high for such a short distance for the customer. I told her that up front, but quoted her anyway.

She had already got a rate quote for a rental truck. So I knew what her approximate costs would be for the truck, gas, and movers to load and unload if she drove her own truck. My quote was about $200 higher to do everything. She had a tight budget so that $200 was a big difference. So I told her the truth... because we were not from her town, our costs were a little more. I did the math for her on the phone, comparing her costs if she drove herself against our quote. Then I said, "You'd probably save a couple hundred $ by driving your own truck, cause they gave you a great deal." She agreed and gave me a big thank you for my honesty.

A few minutes later she called me back and said she’d really like to use us, as we would save her time and trouble with having to reserve a truck, call around, and hire movers on both ends. When I offered her a $50 discount, it sealed the deal.

So what happened here? This woman only needed help loading a truck. When she found out we could do the whole move, I gave her a quote. But it was higher than she'd hoped… bummer! Yet because I was honest and helped her think through it, then on her own she realized that the extra expense was worth the lack of hassle and work, we got the job!

I can't tell you the number of times this has happened when I have told the customer other ways they could get the job done for less, yet they hired us. Why? INTEGRITY. If I had tried to use my powers of persuasion to convince them to use us when there were cheaper options, do you think we'd have got those jobs? Probably not. Customers can sense when you genuinely care and want what's best for them, and it often moves them to work with you!

I have always done business this way. It's part of my character and value system. It gives me an edge over competitors. I aim to give value to every potential customer, even if we can't help them. I will give them ideas, suggestions, and other people to contact - even competitors I network with who are reputable. Sometimes they are surprised when I do this, and they end up referring friends to us. Often when we can’t help, I hear something like this, “Thank you so much. We’d love to use you in the future. We really appreciate your help and will be sure to tell our friends about you.” I am always amazed at the positive results this simple act of giving valued information brings. We get a lot of business from friends of customers and people we couldn’t even help.

So why does this strategy work? Because people value honesty and transparency. They are on guard for scams and sales pitches. And when they trust you, they will give you their business and tell everyone they know about you. It's proof that we "reap what we sow" - what we give comes back to us. In business, giving a customer value up front will gain their favor and trust, then they will often buy your product or service. I recently heard that car dealerships who offer people a coke when looking at cars close 38% more sales. Isn’t that amazing?

So how can you apply this in your business or work? It's simple... listen, be honest, treat them like a friend, look out for their best interests, and give value. You will get their business more often than not, and even if not, you've made a friend who may refer others to you down the road. It's all about what's important to them, their needs, and how you make them feel. If you put these attitudes into practical action, I can guarantee it will help your business grow. And if you’d like some help figuring out how to do this in your specific niche of the marketplace, write me and we can brainstorm together!

All about the customer, Roger

Copyright 2020 Roger Rench