Editor’s Note: This letter is in response to our October 2013 Editor’s Log, “Good Old Days No More,” available online at www.locksmithledger.com/ 11141911.
Good thoughts. I agree. If your business plan is to wait for the phone to ring, you are in trouble!
This is something I recently posted on a discussion forum in response to complaints about all the calls looking for a price. I was surprised that several locksmiths were uncomfortable with my suggestions, and stated they were not salesmen. While no one is going to cash in on every call, there are ways (besides cutting the price) to up your odds.
The customer calls for a price. Once you give it, you are done. Why not use the fact that the caller needs something from you to build value and show that you care? They do not know you, or why you may be a better choice to help them. Ask questions that make them think. Show them that you care. Ego has no place in this conversation.
“Do you have a safe place to wait for us to come out? Have you checked all the doors, and windows?” You would be surprised how often we come out and find a passenger door opened.
“Are you sure the keys are in the car?” Some locksmiths who do lockouts exclusively cannot make and or program keys.
“Does it matter how we get in?” We can usually make a key to let you in. That costs a little more, but then there is no chance your paint will get scratched, and your car will stay watertight.
“Does it have to be done right now?” If you can get a ride home, we can come back during normal business hours, and save you some money.
Advice for the customer: Please be careful as you call around. Many out-of-state companies are using local phone numbers to take advantage of people in your situation. Ask to talk directly to the person who is going to do the work. Can you understand him, or is there a language problem? Find out where he is coming from. Ten minutes away does not let you know if he is familiar with the area. Ask if he is giving you the total price. Ask what is the most it will cost. I know this is a very stressful situation. Please do not let your guard down, and get taken advantage of.
“Would you mind if I called you tomorrow to find out how you made out?” Do you see where I am going with this? Does this sound like someone you would want to do business with? Few good salesman will give a price before they explain the value of what you are getting. You may not win them all, but it should bring up your winning percentage.
Owings Mills MD
I agree the problems of phone book stuffing and Internet dominance are very real. The scammers are not in the business to attract repeat customers. They are counting on the numbers of first-time calls with no intent of building good will. Short term big profits and a gullible public will allow them to continue this practice.
Initially they are getting customers. However, the legitimate locksmiths will profit from their practice as what used to seem to be an exorbitant price will not be quibbled over after being scammed.
What is really needed is a law against false advertising of address and location as well as vague and misleading price quotes, such as $40 service calls to open a car or house which increases to $160
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