I needed some work done at my house.

I talked to ten contractors, and nine of them were awful. But the one who ended up getting the business…He was a marvel.

If he were in professional service sales, he’d make the company he was working for $5M/year extra in a bad year.

What made this buying experience so special?

Here are six key things I noticed.

1. He returned my call promptly. This only happens 60% of the time with companies in the $100M+ range and considerably less in other companies. I’ve been testing the response times from a variety of businesses in a variety of formats, and the speed of follow-up, for the most part, is horrendous.

2. He showed up and was charming, knowledgeable, and helped me understand not just what was wrong, but what my three options were, and which one would be the best value.

3. He offered me a variety of options and didn’t always just push for the most expensive. Instead, he asked me questions and helped me pick the one that made the most sense and offered the most value (the fact that it was the most expensive was a bonus for him). He didn’t use high-pressure sales tactics.

4. While he was doing the work, he let me know about three other things he noticed that were outside the scope of the work he was doing and gave me recommendations on who could help me get those fixed.

He told me that if I picked the people he recommended, he’d get a bonus from them, I’d get a discount, and the work would be top notch (otherwise he wouldn’t recommend them).

5. He did a great job.

6. He followed up with me three months later to thank me for doing business with him, to ensure that the repair was still holding, and to ask me for a testimonial which I happily gave.

This contractor had a sales process that blew away what I’ve seen in billion dollar companies, and he had developed it himself, and most importantly, he STUCK TO IT.

It amazed me.

I’ve worked with some incredibly talented people, in some extremely successful companies, but I’ve had to fight tooth and nail to implement even SOME of these desperately needed changes into their sales cultures. But when we do get them to execute, even a fraction of what’s needed, the results are always dramatic.

Large companies often get stuck in internal politicking, inability to second guess some departments, or analysis by paralysis (remember the cost of doing nothing from last week), in that they don’t know how to look objectively at the entire customer experience from initial contact to happily ever after.

You might be big. You might be small. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that this story serves as a great reminder to all of us that whether you’re a giant or a one man show, the basic structure of successful sales and marketing is all the same.

Here’s this week’s challenge:

Look at your sales process and entire customer experience. Is it as good as the contractors?

If not, we should talk.