10 Second Clock 606766fc99b03

The 10-second Service Agreement Close

April 2, 2021
It happens thousands of times every day. It can work for you too.

I can sell a service agreement, maintenance contract, or high margin service repair in 10 seconds or less nine out of 10 times guaranteed.  But then again, so can you - at least, that is, if you have this one qualification.   

Can you go to a big box store like the big orange one or the big blue one or maybe even the one that sells foreign made tools at rock bottom prices?  

And when you get there, could you fill out an employment application and qualify for a job in that store? 

Ok, you’re doing good so far.  Now here’s the kicker, the big dog test, to see how far you can climb the career ladder.  

Can you, by hard work, ambition, initiative, and maybe some butt kissing, get moved up to a cashier position?  You know, would they let you hold the keys to the kingdom, the tally for the till, and maybe a store radio on your hip so you can say things like “Code 50 at register No. 3?”  

If you have that much on the ball, then you can sell in 10 seconds.  

I learned this on service work, and even on replacement sales, simply by trial and error. But I was blown away when I started timing cashiers at my favorite big blue store. It started by surreptitiously (love that word) watching customers on the sly, sort of.  I call it “hiding in plain sight,” usually about 10 feet from shoppers. 

It doesn’t really matter the section, but I’ve done it in kitchen faucets, appliances, floor coverings, tools, hardware, paint, lumber, you name it.That’s how I learned that people can make almost any decision in less than 15 seconds.But the day I caught a cashier out of the corner of my eye selling a customer a 2-year warranty on a DeWalt drill, I immediately stopped what I was doing (checking out a $35 Stanley tape measure—yes, they have them, and you should get one) and I moved in just a little closer to watch.Then I did something even shrewder (I think that’s a word); I started timing cashiers.Then I dug deeper, and here’s what I found.

The time it takes a cashier at the big blue store -- I guess I can say it, Lowe’s and/or The Home Depot, and just about everywhere else -- is 2.6 seconds.  

Sell a two-year warranty in 2.6 seconds. And get this: no sales training, none, zippo.  I watched this again and again; I was mesmerized; I was literally amazed. 

But we can all witness something and just walk away being amazed, impressed, can’t we?  

What separates the winners, the achievers, the eventual fat cats, is what happened next.  I immediately tested. You have to test if you want to verify.  I wrote a script to sell a service agreement in 2.6 seconds.  Now, I will allow up to 10 seconds, but 2.6 is my goal.  After all, cashiers that make a whole heck of a lot less money than you do sell millions of dollars every day in extended warranties (think add-on sales). So, can you do it? 

The script works when it is placed at the right place in the service call process. At the end, as an afterthought.  

So, here’s my script.  By the way, don’t be too quick to judge me until you test it. You see, we have been taught that the customer calls us for a service call, but that’s not what they really want, is it?  No, what they really want is for us to sit them down and educate them, teach them maybe, even give them a multiple-choice quiz when we are done.   

So, how’s that working out for you?   

Ok, sorry to be so hard on you, but we get told to do things that are not smart because nobody seems to know what actually works.  Well, how about seeing how stores selling billions of dollars every year with low paid employees do it? 

You have been told to pay six-figure salaries to technicians because it will cause them to sell your stuff.  Ok, stop right now, Rodney.  I have to talk myself down off the ledge of despair when I think of what this industry has cost me in frustration. 

Ok, I’m over it. 

Back to the 10 second sales script: 

#1. You probably already have a service agreement or maintenance contract.

#2.  You probably already have some price points. 

So, take your annual price of, let’s say, $299, and drop it to $239. You’re not selling hardly any at $299, so let’s make some real money. 

$299/12 = $24.92 a month.  No problem, but just be aware of the monthly number.  

So, I like something under $20 a month to start, to get my feet wet, but testing is what works, so test any number you want.  

The big stores use small numbers like $9.99 for a two-year warranty on a drill. 

So, the script works when it is placed at the right place in the service call process. At the end, as an afterthought.  

Step 1.  Run the call as per your process.

Step 2.  Do the work, do it right, test it, you know, like you are supposed to do.

Step 3.  This is important!  Do something extra for wow factor.  I’m sure you already do this to keep happy customers, but if not, start.  This can be as simple as wiping down the equipment you worked on, or maybe replacing missing screws, or tightening something up.  If you would like a list of “101 WOW Factors,” just ask and I’ll send it to you.  When I was a T&M (time and material) electrician, I always tightened up the screws in the panel if I worked in it. Made sure all 6 cover screws were in place, all slots pointed horizontal.  Just saying. Do something extra.  Pick up the trash, straighten up around equipment, rework piping to look nice if you work on it.  

Step 4.  Bring the paperwork or tablet or whatever to the customer to get the final signature and payment, but before asking for the signature, use “The 10 second service agreement script.” 

“Well, Mr. Customer, I took care of (insert the name of the repair that you did) and tested it out. It’s working great!  (Now here’s a secret:  brag on their equipment). By the way, I really like those (insert brand or type here) units; they do a great job and usually last a long time. And now for the big hook, say “Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention our service plan; it’s only $19.99 a month and lets us do a checkup once a year to look for problems like this; should I add that to the ticket?” 

That’s it. If you can keep your mouth shut and just say these few words, you will wear out your fingers writing up service agreement sales.   

What if the customer asks questions?  Answer the questions.  But stop talking once the question is answered.  If you can drop your service conversations to a few seconds instead of 20 minutes and close 3 times, maybe 10 times, as many, what would that do for your company?  

By the way, remember, cashiers are doing it right now while you are reading this article.  Think about that.  

I should also tell you that a service company in your town has an average repair ticket that is three to four times what your company has, and they don’t even try to sell service agreements on service calls.  They only sell them when the customer buys new equipment.   

Quit trying to educate a customer that knows how to buy just about anything in less than 10 seconds, and your life just got better.  

Call me anytime.   

Rodney Koop

[email protected]

(706)581-0622, anytime

Pricing enthusiast Rodney Koop is the founder and CEO of The New Flat Rate, a home service menu-selling system designed to put profit directly into the hands of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC contractors. 

About the Author

Rodney Koop | Founder/CEO

Rodney Koop is the founder and CEO of The New Flat Rate. The New Flat Rate is described as the #1 Pricing System, providing menus for HVAC, plumbing and electrical flat rate service companies, that takes the pressure off the technicians and automatically does the selling.


Patrick Daxenbichler/iStock/Getty
Thank You Banner