We got a very sneaky direct mail postcard the other day. It was from a services company we had used for some plumbing a few years ago.
The postcard read:
Your home may be due for its annual plumbing inspection and water heater clean and check as recommended by the consumer product safety commission and your manufacturer.
Your home’s $30 credit can be used for any plumbing, heating, air conditioning, electrical or appliance service or repair.
The postcard said we had a credit with them that would expire on an approaching date.
A “credit” implies we overpaid in the past or were overcharged and that we have some money due back to us.
The truth is we don’t have a credit with the company. The truth is that this is just a gimmick to get us to use the credit towards a more expensive work order.
Tricking customers is never a good long-term strategy.
A better strategy here would have been to continue down the path of their first paragraph: educate the customer. Perhaps, “We’ll inspect your air conditioning system for free. If we find a problem, we’ll show you what it is, explain your options, and give you our price. If you choose us to service your A/C, that would be great. If not, that is OK too.”
Be completely transparent and honest. The hardest part is getting the customer to invite you to their home. Once you are there, you can educate some more, give them options for repairs, and will probably close the sale.