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The Wrap-Up: Setting the Kitchen Table

July 11, 2024
The Wrap-Up: Setting the Kitchen Table

In Step 1, we spoke of the introduction and the time commitment needed to make sure we’re available at the end of our time there. We want to be welcomed to sit down, establishing general time expectations up front.

In Step 2, we secured permission from the homeowner to take a look at the system to see if anything needed to be addressed, and to then bring up our findings to them at the end of the agreed upon time commitment.

In Step 3, we remembered to build the relationship at every turn, making sure to convey genuine care and concern, never faking it. Using the F-O-R-M method to talk to homeowners about Family, Occupation, Recreation and Material possessions will help drive conversations and build rapport.

Step 4: The Welcome Mat

Now it’s time for “the talk.” Not the kind your parents may have had waiting for you after a day of troublemaking. This is a talk where you’re able to help the homeowners by reporting your findings after your inspection or walk through or what have you. So what language will you use to remind them that it’s time? If you’ve done Step 1 correctly, it will not come as a surprise that you need to talk with them before leaving. And if your relationship-building has been going well, they may even feed you some dinner when you’re done.

“Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, is there a quiet place we can sit down to speak about my findings? Earlier you had mentioned we could carve out some time to talk after I wrapped up.”

At this point, one of two general responses will be given, with obvious room for variations. The first response you may get is a positive one, something along the lines of this – “Sure, the kitchen table is the quietest place in the house. I’ll be right there.”

The second response you may get is a neutral or negative response – “That took longer than I thought; can you just leave your price quote on the table there so I can start dinner?” Or an outright no. Or an excuse or stall tactic – “It’s time for my daughter to go to bed and I read her a story and tuck her in every night; it takes about 30 minutes and I’m gonna crash after that. I’m sure I can understand the quote if you can just leave it there for me.”

In the training you should have undergone, you’ll remember how to address these subtle forms of objections and know how to reply so you don’t come across as rude or too pushy. But dropping off a quote is the exact thing we were trying to avoid when we carefully set up the time commitment in Step 1.

Tips for an Easier Transition

One suggestion for helping yourself at the kitchen table close is to give gentle reminders to the homeowner throughout your inspection. “Mr. Homeowner, I just have 15 minutes left and thought I’d let you know so we can both be ready to chat by then.”

Or even combine asking for a favor with reminding them about the timing. “Mrs. Homeowner, I’ll be ready to sit down in 10 minutes. Do you have any ice water I can have? It’s awfully hot up in the attic. If not, I may have a thermos in my truck.” They are more likely to sit with you if they are playing a role before the meeting, meaning they are helping you (with a drink in this case).

Or (instead of dropping off a quote) drop off some good news a few minutes before the kitchen table meeting. Something like, “I have some good news. You’re not going to need a new system if my calculations are correct. Can you give me about 5 minutes to double-check them and meet me at the kitchen table?” Or “I need to check one more thing before we meet in 5 minutes, but it looks like good news so far. May I have a glass of ice water?”

This serves to make the meeting more inviting, because no one wants to “happily” sit down for bad news. Even if your news is going to cost them money in repairs, at least it isn’t as big a financial commitment as they might have feared. This is a distant cousin of “compromised choices.” Instead of them having 3 choices and choosing the middle option, they simply don’t want to have to choose the larger ticket item (investing in a new system), so the repair option is a sigh of relief as it softens the blow of the cost.

Another tip is to give the homeowner notice in the form of steps, but add some banter in with it. “Mrs. Homeowner, I’ve finished 3 of my 5 steps in the inspection. When I’m done, do you have a preference where I wash my hands, like the bathroom or kitchen? Some people are very particular so I wanted to make sure.”

What tips have you learned over the years that makes getting to the kitchen table easier at the end of the day? There’s so much more to cover once you’re there, like where to start, price cards, demos, objections, etc. We’ll cover more of that in the future and I hope this was a helpful start to getting your customer to sit down and discuss your findings.

We’ll talk soon. Have a great week!