This evening I received a call from one of my longstanding pest control customers who was met by a summer door-to-door pest control salesman. These kids who do this work are motivated by one thing only – a fast buck. They may or may not have a license, but one thing is sure. They are flung into this work, having no prior field work exposure. They have been revved up by the prospect of making lots of money over the summer, so they can kick back during the school year. Often, these young people have few plans at all other than getting away from small towns and narrowly focused lifestyles in which they were raised. They do not have the customer interest at heart.
What these kids don’t understand is this. Yes, they are being trained in the sales trades. But they are being trained in the mode of used car salesmen. They are very imaginative kids who knock the competition, whether true or false. They slash prices to a level that will earn the commission, if successful, while creating new accounts that are at best border-line profitable. They do the industry an injustice by portraying a pest control service as a mere commodity product.
The consumer does not benefit when their service is transferred from a company that has provided good quality services throughout the years, in favor of shabby services with half-baked add-on solutions that very often exacerbate pest problems. Instead of a win-win situation, where the consumer receives a quality service at a reasonable price point, they develop a lose-lose-lose situation. Who loses? Obviously, the prior company loses a customer relationship and a revenue stream. The customer loses when they find that what the summer pest control salesman offered reflects the price, but not the level of service previously experienced. Eventually, they often realize that the relationship with the new pest control company is fundamentally different. That is when it becomes a lose-lose-lose scenario where the new company loses the customer after paying enormous commissions to the imaginative door-to-door pest control salesman a la your local used car dealership.
The companies employing these kids are in a cut-throat commodity game. They play on the sympathies of consumers for an honest looking, clean cut scholar. But that is not what the consumer gets.
Well, I’ve got news for these companies. Pest control is not a commodity. Customers want skilled technicians that they trust on their property and especially inside their homes. They want real people and a real company that understands their needs. They don’t want or need a company that is looking for a commodity sale and views the service cycle with mathematical precision, devoid of human considerations. Pest control door knocking kids are infamous for their tall tales and the trail of pest control accounts that quickly disappear when the pest control company can not meet the demands of fast growth and low margins produced by these cut-rate accounts. In this economy, the pest control company that attempts to grow through such door-to-door sales will eventually suffer the most by having attracted people who feel compelled to find the cheapest service. These accounts will not last. I repeat, not just some, but large numbers of these door-to-door acquired accounts will be lost. That is when they will receive the punch line of the joke.
It’s wonderful to know that I have customers so devoted that they are able to come to me and talk with me about the insane offers they are being presented. It is wonderful that we have developed such trust that they will totally shut down these offers, with the knowledge that they are provided high quality service at a reasonable price. The truth is that in a very anonymous world, one in which people are constantly being taken advantage of, the public wants to believe that relationships are real. Watch this Hearts Pest Management customer video and you’ll get my point!