One of the most difficult things to learn as a trades professional is how to successfully portray yourself as the industry expert you are. Between stereotypes, assumptions and biases, it can be easy for customers to discount your professional opinion or not take your recommendations seriously. But similarities in our job fields can be found in many other places in society — we just have to find the inspiration to present ourselves differently from the life lessons all around us.
A great example of how perception can determine service experience is comparing a plumber to a doctor. Right off the bat you may be thinking it’s a crazy and unequal comparison, but really look at the base functions of both jobs.
Both figures live out a process to handle uncomfortable situations. Whether it’s PRESS PLAY or bedside manner, they ask questions, get to know their customer/patient and find connections. What seems to be the problem? When did it start? Are there other symptoms or signs that the problem is spreading? The same questions could apply to an injured knee or a clogged toilet.
Then, they proceed to test the problem. They check other connected systems, try to view the problem with a camera or investigate a series of questions that can cross suspected causes off the list. Both a doctor and plumber could be using these investigative actions to try to diagnose the problem you are experiencing.
Eventually, the professional will come to a conclusion. They have determined what the source of the problem is and present their findings to the customer/patient. Both doctors and plumbers have to approach their customers/patients cautiously and know that they will run into obstacles in response to the problem.
Lastly, they give options for next steps. However, if they are a good professional, they will recommend one option above the others. This is what having professional expertise means. The customer or patient may deserve the chance to choose what option they want to go with, but they are not the industry expert. They always need the professional to recommend one option as the best option. Whether it’s a course of treatment or a technical solution, you are the person to encourage the best course of action for the client in your care.
The biggest difference between these two careers is that doctors have a perceived authority that plumbers — or other trade technicians — don’t usually have. The public views the position of ‘doctor’ as inherently more authoritative than a plumber, but both positions require specialized training and very similar communication skills. When it comes down to it, even doctors who don’t communicate clearly and present themselves as professionals on the topic can be perceived as less desirable.
For the most part, it has nothing to do with your actual job. You have to hold the confidence and expertise at the forefront when you are communicating with the customer. If they can see how knowledgeable and sure you are through your service and communication skills, they are more likely to just give you objections about the options you give and not the fact that you are giving those options. You know how to fight objections, but you have to get to that point in the first place. That requires your customer to perceive you as a professional.
It can be difficult to conceptualize the comparison between a doctor and a plumber, but the moral of the story is: are you presenting yourself as the experienced, master of the industry you work in? If you aren’t — or you don’t know how — Service Excellence can help! Let us guide you into a more authoritative state of mind that will help your customers feel more sure about your recommendations and result in more closed deals. Check out our resources today!
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