Have you ever heard it said that speed attracts money? Think of fast things. Cars, boats, planes, olympic sprinters, horse races. What do all these have in common? Big money is spent for the fastest of these. Winners are fast and people want to be around winners.
What does this have to do with your business you ask?
Think about how “FAST” is your business. How fast do you deliver your product or service? How fast do you deliver an estimate for your service? How fast do you return a phone call? How fast do you correct mistakes or make repairs? How fast can they connect with you on the web?
Too many times people associate fast with poor quality. Like fast food. They may have a point about the quality in some cases, but what are people really paying for in those cases? They’re paying for speed and convenience. The quality is actually low on the list of priorities when it comes down to fast food. You certainly can’t say places like McDonalds aren’t making any money now can you. It’s simply a matter of knowing what your customer wants.
Now let’s say you have a service business. Isn’t speed of great importance? Isn’t it important that you take care of a customer quickly before someone else does? If someone has water damage to their carpets are you going to get to them in 2 weeks? I sure hope not. I’m thinking the same day or worst case next day right?
I know contractors that brag about a 6 month wait list even a year or two. Does that mean that speed is irrelevant to their business? In this case speed is of even greater importance. If you’re a custom home builder and have an 18 month wait list do you wait six months to give someone an estimate? Absolutely not! Your estimating process needs to be systemized and quick to deliver.
When someone contacts your company with a 2 million dollar house design they have certain expectations. One of those is to be treated as a priority. They don’t expect you to break ground in three weeks but they certainly want to know the numbers and who they are selecting to build this dream home of theirs. There’s often multiple bidders for these jobs as well and every day you delay opens the door for someone else to step in and serve them.
Will people wait 2 - 3 month's for an estimate? Some may, but most will not and that’s because speed attracts money. People pay for fast and preferential treatment do they not? So if you could consistently deliver a quality product in a fast manner don’t you think there’d be a high demand for what you do? I’d say yes on that one. One thing I learned after 30 years in business is no customers ever complained about work getting started or done early.
What about returning phone calls quickly? I know I’ve spoken about first response to calls to initial inquiries before, but I’m talking about every call, every text, every email. How fast do you respond? 60 seconds, 5 minutes, hours, days, weeks? I’ve seen them all and I’ll tell you the best of them are in the first two responses.
It’s the ability to continue to treat your clients like they are the most important thing in the world to you. I can hear everyone right now mumbling the excuses why they would never get back to people that fast. “They’ll get spoiled” “They’ll abuse it and call me all the time” “I have more important things to do” and the list can go on for days I’m sure. It’s communication and people pay for speedy communications. Take a look at that cell phone in your pocket. How much do you pay for that every month, year after year? How fast do you want your videos to play? How fast do you want to send and receive texts and emails? How fast do you want to take a picture and see what it looks like? How fast do you want to search for information or products online?
So it’s ok for you to demand speed in everything but not for your paying clients? They’re not worthy of a rapid response from you? You don’t think that if you responded rapidly to every client all the time, that alone wouldn’t generate a ton of referral business? That wouldn’t speed up payment from customers? If you were one of the mumblers with excuses you need to reevaluate yourself and your procedures in this area. It’s costing you money and future work.
How fast do you get an estimate to a customer? This is another area where speed attracts money. The quicker you can get a quality estimate to a client the higher your chances are of closing the deal with that client. How these companies can take weeks to get an estimate to someone that should take 15 minutes is beyond me. I’ve given estimates, closed the deal and completed the job before other contractors have even got their bid to them. Honestly, once I was picking up the final check and the customer opened his mail and right there he showed me the other estimate. We both laughed and he became my customer for many years.
Get your act together when it comes to estimates. Stop being lazy and cheap. Get 100% mobile in everything from your digital presentations to printers in your trucks or emailed from tablets right as you sit in their living rooms. People can get something shipped from across the world in one day but you want to take 2 weeks to get them an estimate from down the street. Get real.
Now we’ll talk about a real sore spot with customers. How fast you take care of mistakes or make repairs. Even how fast you fully complete a job. Again speed attracts money. The faster you correct a mistake or repair damage the quicker you’ll get final payment. The faster you complete EVERY aspect of your job the faster you’ll get paid and the faster someone will refer you to others. If you have trouble tying up loose ends on a job you need to focus on a solution for that deficiency. And if you are taking full payment without finishing those details, shame on you.
One last little area regarding speed. How fast can people connect with you via the web? I don’t mean just submit a contact form. I mean talk to a human being. Is it immediately, 24/7? Impossible? Not hardly. You can outsource this for a very small price that will pay for itself 10x over. Look into services that can do this for your business. Call other companies and see how they are doing it. I didn’t just come with this idea myself. There’s a lot of smart folks out there taking care of their customers in unique ways. Start learning what those are and use them.
There are a whole lot of ways to introduce speed to your business. If speed attracts money, don’t you want to be faster? I’m not suggesting sacrificing quality for speed, I'm suggesting bringing speed to your quality.
Has anyone ever complained about getting their product or service too fast? I’ll bet that’s pretty rare isn’t it. Aren’t they that much happier to pay you for delivering so quickly? So spend some time on implementing speed into your business and watch what happens.
Just remember it’s also about consistency so don’t be fast some of the time. Get great at it and deliver it ALL the time.
One more thing about speed. The faster you get back to people, deliver your product/service, handle complaints, answer the phone, the more people will feel you respect them. No matter what business you’re in, it’s about the people, and people appreciate respect.
Don’t disappoint them.