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Sending Business to the Competition

Posted by: Heidi Nyline

Yup, the title is right. I gave a customer the contact information for another painter.

I'll explain why.

We are running a pretty big online advertising campaign since the launch of our new website and that means I get lots of calls for all sorts of painting jobs.

This particular lady saw our ad and called because she couldn't get a hold of a painter she had used in the past. She said he offered a "special" for the painting of three rooms for - you guessed it - $299. She saw our website and thought we looked like a good company and wanted to know if we offer the same special.

Okay, so she obviously didn't read my blog called "Not So Special, Specials".

"No" I politely told her, we didn't offer specials like that because we couldn't paint three rooms for $100 each. She was quite surprised by my answer and asked why.

I tried to explain to her that we focused on providing quality painting and it wasn't feasible for us to get the amount of work we did in prep, along with doing a proper paint job, for that low of a price.

"But the other guy did a good job" she said.

Uh huh.

Oh, so many things ran through my head in that moment, such as did she consider the reason why she couldn't find this painter anymore was maybe that undercharging for his work had put him out of business? But I have said it before and I stick by it "I can't be everybody's painter."

We are a quality first painting company and that is the only work we do.

A picture is worth a thousand words.
This is why we can't paint three rooms for $300. It's called prep.

There was no point trying to convince this lady that there was a difference between our work and his. I told her I was sorry we couldn't help her but I also knew of a local Surrey painter that regularly offered a special to paint three rooms for $300 and I passed on his name and website address to her. Sounding a bit taken aback, she thanked me and hung up.

When I got off the phone, I thought about if there was a better way for me to handle the call. I don't think there was. I was polite and helpful but also stuck to my guns about being who we are and not compromising our brand. A few years ago, I might have tried harder to get her business, even if it cost me money. Oh, how far I have come.

The truth is the title of this article is misleading because the painter's name I passed on is not a competitor. We are in the same industry but we have vastly different clientele and I am not interested in tapping into his customer base.

I hope the lady is happy with the paint job she gets. My guess is she will be and I if she happens to tell the guy I referred her to that it was me that gave her his name, well who knows, maybe he'll call and thank me.

Posted by: Luis Carrillo
I am very happy to hear this topic from another painter that cares about quality. I''ve been trying to explain this to potential clients like that so many times. Keep it going!
Posted by: Chris Haught
That is so true, and well put. Too many contractors try to be everything to everybody, that often leads to over promising and under delivering. I send customers to my competition as well!

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