Boost Your Business: The Art of Soft Selling

Selling to your customers when they are already paying for your services can be a delicate matter. It can be a fine line between being helpful and being pushy. You don’t want to sell your customers something that they don’t want or don’t need and risk them not calling you back the next time they need your service.

On the other hand, selling your customers something that they may need or may have to go to the store to get can help both you and your customer. By offering your customer information to help them make an informed, educated decision, you can not only potentially sell them products or services that will save them money in the long run, but also gain a life-long customer. We talked to a few septic professionals from around the country to see how they handle these situations.

No Hard Selling

“We up-sell when there is an opportunity but no hard selling to our customers,” says Ellen Skibitsky at Stinky’s Septic Tank Pumping in New Jersey. “When we see the need, we up-sell septic risers, jetting laterals, enzyme additive, and our other services such as plumbing and well work.

“We offer Lenzyme and tips when we find their septic tank unhealthy. We offer septic jetting and drain cleaning with back-ups, risers when we charge for digging to save the customer that cost in the future.

“We use Roth (used to be Fralo Plastech) for our plastic risers and a local company, Flemington Precast, for concrete and steel. We have Spartan jetters. Lenzyme septic additive provides us with private labeling on a 12-month supply box.

“Offering diverse services with equipment always ready and material in stock keeps our customers calling. When they have a backup or a problem, they want someone out fast who can fix it and make their problem go away.”

Digestants and Extra Parts

FM Abrams with Affordable Septic Tank Service in Kansas, likes Chempace dry biological digestants for his customers. “This is one of my favored add-on sales because it is private labeled with my company name. The price is always favorable in the customer’s eyes as well. I also typically keep my truck loaded with PVC ells and tees and Polylok’s Extend & Lok to add a quick baffle to an inlet or outlet. Customers typically appreciate the ability to get it done on the spot without having to pay for an additional service call.”

Filling a Need

Another septic professional has taken another approach to selling accessories. David Batson with Batson Enterprises in Alabama was tired of constantly working on headworks boxes that kept failing and not doing the job that he felt it should.

“I’ve designed the Batson Automatic Headworks Box to replace old or broken headworks filtration systems,” says Batson. “I plan on selling it to licensed engineers, technicians and dealers. I’m just starting to sell them, but I’ve already sold two to people who heard about the box.

“With the headworks box as the last line of defense, it needs to work. Ninety percent of the time when I go out to fix a system, the number one problem is that something is wrong with the headworks box. The filters are too small and stop up too quick and break. The box I’ve got solves that with a 2″ and 3″ diameter filter and no seems. The flow rates are 55 for the 2″ and 110 for the 3″. It will support 150 pounds of pressure. With the bigger surface area, you’ve got more time before it will clog.

“It comes as a complete unit. All you have to do is cut off the pipes on each side, dig a hole, take out the old system and put in the new. Mine only takes 15 minutes to change a filter when it needs to be changed. No more pulling out parts to get to it, then having to put it back together. When you are changing it out, the system cuts one off and water can bypass while you change it out.”

Batson teaches a class at The Alabama Onsite Wastewater Association Training Center and he was able to demonstrate the box at his last class. One of the participants asked, “How do I know when the filter is stopped up?” Batson says it has two valves. “Take a pressure gauge and check pressure on upper and lower, if there is more than 2-3 pounds difference then it needs to be changed. The box on site has been in the ground for two years. I’ve only ever had to check the pressure once, it’s compatible with what is out there. The two valves have different sequences and performs different functions. You don’t have to have new electronics; just put it back in place and hook it to the same controllers. It simplifies the whole thing. The cost of the box is cheaper than what is on the market and it’s ten times the box.”

Whether you already sell accessories or parts to your clients or are thinking about it, remember that it’s about keeping that customer coming back to you through the years. If you have heard about a product but haven’t seen it in action, then you can say that to your customer. They may want to try something out if it turns out to be a long-term solution. Then you will want to keep tabs on them to see if it’s working or not.

Those adept at soft selling and providing good educational information to their customers, will prosper in the end.

Story by Jennifer Taylor

Resources
For More Information:
—Batson Automatic Headworks Box, visit www.headworksbox.com
—Lenzyme, visit www.lenzyme.com
—Polylok, visit www.polylok.com
—Roth, visit www.roth-usa.com
—Spartan, visit www.spartantool.com

Increase Your Profit Margins Selling Additives

The septic additive market is estimated at $70,000,000. Professionals understand that people who buy additives are people who regularly take care of their systems with regular inspections and pumping. Why give this business to the super markets when you’re the person they call first when there’s a problem?

The following is a breakdown of the average daily revenues and expenses for a typical septic professional (costs may differ per area).

Revenue:
Pumping six tanks at $ 250.00 ea = $1,500

Expenses:
Disposal (600.00)
Equipment Costs (363.00)
Labor and Administrative Costs (200.00)
Insurance and Advertising Costs (108.00)
Profit before taxes $227.00

The following is the breakdown of selling Septic Drainer as an additive for drain field failure restoration.

Pumping profit margin $1,500.00/$227.00 = 15 percent profit before taxes etc.
Selling a drain field restoration job at $1,500.00 (average)

Drain Field Restoration:
Revenue $1,500.00
Costs $(315.00)
Profit $1,185.00

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates 25 percent of all residential systems are failing or have failed. Out of six systems, that’s 1.5 systems per day you have an opportunity to restore.

$1,185.00 x 1.5 = $1,777.50 a day in profit

(Pumping profit) $227.00 + (Drain Field Repair profits) $1,777.50 = $2,004.50

Total Revenue of $4,500.00 / $2,004.50 = 44 percent profit

You have increased your daily income by 87 percent.

With drain field restoration you can increase your profits and offer your customers advantages other companies can’t.

For more information contact RCS II, Inc. at 1-518-812-0000 or visit us at www.septicdrainer.com

by Mark Reynolds

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