Going Above and Beyond: Exceeding Expectations

Referrals are the strongest business leads we can get. When a past customer sings our praises, we can get no better recommendation. In light of this, I want to show you how to transform ordinary business relationships into extraordinary ones. I want to encourage you to create actions that are designed to be so exceptional and different from what is expected that your customers are pleasantly surprised, to say the least. These actions generate such good work-of-mouth advertising that it’s the best form of advertising you can buy regardless of cost.

Above and beyond actions don’t have to be expensive, but they are thoughtful. They leave a good impression that your customers will not soon forget. These “above and beyond” activities are unique to the person’s situation, and are usually a surprise. They are specific and personal. For example, if you pulled up one morning on a worksite and found the homeowner rushing out the door for an important appointment only to discover they had a flat tire, imagine how this homeowner would feel as you handed them your car keys and said “go ahead and take my truck. I’ll be here all day. I’ll take care of the tire.”

If I loaned you my truck and that allowed you to make an important meeting, or complete a big sale, that would be the topic of conversation with every one of your friends for the next week. It’s these sorts of actions that create extraordinary relationships, not just satisfied customers.

These activities can show up in a variety of ways. When remodeling someone’s home, we are disrupting virtually every routine by virtue of our work. Cooking can become its own challenge because the kitchen might be under renovation. Without telling them in advance, surprise your customers by showing up with a picnic basket that includes a full dinner including wine and dessert. Enclose a note instructing them to merely return the empty basket to the front porch and it will be picked up. You can also determine what their favorite restaurant is, and you can surprise them by giving them a gift card to that restaurant. If they have children, give them a night out with a gift certificate for a movie and popcorn. Can you begin to imagine the good feelings that come from that?

With a variety of tradespeople working in the house every day, cleaning can become an impossible task. I know a very successful contractor who sends in a cleaning crew in the middle of the project, and he instructs the crew to clean the rest of the house. This is a momentary but welcome reprieve for homeowners who are struggling with the mess that comes with most remodeling projects. Here are some additional ways to create a pleasant surprise for people you are working with:

Know your customer likes:

  • Gift cards
  • Restaurants
  • Golf
  • Get-away hotels
  • Family activities for kids and adults
  • Electronics (Flat-screen TV)

Project related:

  • Bath accessories gift card
  • Kitchen accessories gift card
  • Furniture store gift card
  • With new wood floors, offer a gift of cleaning supplies for those wood floors

Above and beyond activities are characteristic by the following attributes:

  • A pleasant surprise
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Timeliness

There is no one way to do these activities. They are unique. There is a contractor in northern Virginia that when it snows, he piles his guys into a truck, and he shovels the walks and driveways of every person he is working with. It’s a simple thing, but it leaves its mark. Imagine what these homeowners think when they see this going on. These activities result in a form of word-of-mouth advertising that you can’t buy for any amount of money.