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The X Factor: Building Rapport & Connecting With The Customer

November 1, 2022



In this episode, Ari Greenbaum interviews Devin Davis from Dubois Property Maintenance. They discuss how they can drive success through building rapport and connecting with their customers to establish a good business relationship!


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Ari: Welcome to The X Factor, a Home Pros Sales podcast. This is the podcast about all things sales to help Home Improvement Pros generate high-quality leads, and close more deals. I’m your host, Ari Greenbaum and in this podcast, we’ll talk about different tactics, tips, and resources to help you grow your business while interviewing experts in the industry. 

But before we get into today’s episode, just a little housekeeping, if you could us some love on Apple Podcasts, that little purple icon, give us that five-star rating, leave us a review, let us know if you’re enjoying the podcast. 

Now we’re done with housekeeping today want to focus on a very, very important topic, something that is an important piece of any sales process, which is again, building rapport and connecting with the client as part of the sales process. I am super excited for our guests today. We have Devin Davies with Dubois Landscape Services. They’re over here locally for us in the Atlanta market in McDonough Georgia. He is a seasoned pro at converting leads into closed deals at a higher rate. And I’m talking Hall of Fame-style high rates. He is a valued partner of conXpros and we are just enamored being able to celebrate the success that he’s experiencing. So felt there’s really no better person to have on here to really share some of those ideas. So Devin, just want to introduce you and let you maybe tell everyone about your backgrounds, you know, and how you got to where you are in your business. And yeah, we’ll just dive into the topic from there.

Devin: My name is Devin Davis, I’ve been in business for the last three years, I started in 2019. I used to work for the railroad, I was side loader mechanical work on all the cranes and stuff to lift up the core loaders and stuff off the trains and put them on the trucks, you know, for delivery, they closed down the one in Atlanta, so I ended up going to a different avenue to be a diesel mechanic and then I didn’t really like the change of money. So I opened up a landscaping business and then from there I just kind of grew into different things and now I have a Land Services business, I do clearing and grading, mainly tree work. Still do a little hardscaping it just depends but mostly doing arborist work and things of that nature. 

But I got hooked up with conXpros and they’ve given me a lot of leads, and I’ve had a lot of success with it and I’m very happy with being a part of what they got going on.

Ari: Yes, I appreciate the plugs. You know, it is a conXpros podcast. But at the end of the day, you know, hey, this is about helping others and helping them succeed. So I don’t wanna take any of the thunder away from that, because that’s what it’s about. But I appreciate it.

Devin: But you’re helping us get there.

Ari: He absolutely knows, I think I shared with you and previously, we could only provide leads to the people at the end of the day. This is the reason I was so excited to have you as a guest here, you’re closing at an unbelievably high rate, I mean, the stuff you’ve shared with me, I mean, 80 plus percent, 85 plus percent in terms of closing rates on leads, I mean, that says I share with you like Hall of Fame kind of numbers and you know, for someone that’s not seasoned veteran, you know, 20 years in the business and you know, just been doing this like clockwork, that’s even more exciting to me as someone that’s coming in, that’s not from a long history of sales, but coming in and doing some awesome stuff. And that’s, again, to focus on what we want to share with others here. You know, what are we doing? You know what? I mean, I know you’re at a job right now from one of our customers that we got you hooked up with and in your truck doing this, because you’re so busy with this stuff, but like, what are you doing that is like, I don’t want to say your secret sauce, because we don’t want to give that away. Just like the colonel doesn’t give his way, you know, a KFC. But, you know, with you when you’re making a connection with people, like how do you do that? That’s so successful. Help us understand that.

Devin: When I go out to meet somebody, you know, you want them. I mean, they’re going to entrust you to do whatever it is that you do for your business. But like with me, you know, I’m going to somebody wants some trees down, you know, they may be close to the house, or whatever, they’re gonna have to trust that I know what I’m doing. So I want to go out and I’m gonna show him that I believe in what I do. I might even tell him, you know how I’m gonna do something. But I want to always try to get into a relationship with the person that I’m gonna be doing business with because it is like a business relationship along with anything else in life. I mean, if you’re gonna be doing like, here, you know, we have a relationship to where, you know, we’re doing business together, you’re helping me get clients, you know, I’m closing these deals. But I mean, you know, I want to show him that I’m confident in what I do. You know, I want to show that I care about what they’re after. I want to make sure I know exactly what they’re looking for, you know, what, you know, the needs of the project are and all that, you know, I think that when you show somebody that you care about, you know, one, what they want, you know how they want it done, you know the ways like if it’s somebody wants you to leave a tree at the house, you know, where do you want it? Do you want me to just drop it, cut it up, and put it over here? Do you want to save it for firewood? You know, if you make them feel like you truly care about what you’re doing this not just go out there and be sloppy with it. Do you know what I’m saying? But it’s like, I don’t know, it’s just but I just might be who I am.

Ari: You said a lot of amazing things. But I don’t think it’s just about who you are. I mean, you know, I’m doing sales for a long time. And you mentioned some key elements there. I mean, coming in confident. I mean, it’s not just about being cocky. It’s about being confident in your knowledge. And that’s something you shared how do you convey that to people? And if that’s critical, I mean, that, you know, descriptiveness, and thoroughness, you know, I used to be on the other side selling the, you know, to homeowners, and I know how important that is, what are you doing to help them understand what the process is, and put it in a way that they’re going to also understand that because they’re not in the bids? Like, you are?

Devin: Right? Well, I mean, like, if they ask a question or not, I don’t even wait for him to ask because like if they are something like at the job I’m at now. And this guy has this huge oak tree and I’m talking about the limbs being 36 inches.

Ari: That’s a big sucker.

Devin: Yeah, I mean, it’s like some of them are right over, but some of them are 40 feet above the house, you know, and I explained that you know, more will come out, I had the guys go up, you know, we’re gonna rope off both ends, you know, he’s like, Well, how’s it not gonna go through the roof, I said, well, we’re gonna tie a rope on this side, we’ll tie a rope on the side, one guy, you know, wrap the rope around three times on this tree, and other guys have it wrapped around, you know, just explained to him the process. So when it does come off the tree it’s equal on both sides and as each person unravels, it is going to slowly come down, so that he can see, you know, not literally see, because he’s at work. But he knows that you know, he knows what he’s doing. 

Ari: Painting a clear picture. I mean, from what it sounds like, I mean, literally, like, you know, Van Gogh style. It’s crystal clear,

Devin: Right? And he knows, so he can say, oh, and it makes sense. It’s not like I’m telling him something that he can’t see, like wait, when is that going to work? He’s going oh, you know, that’s common sense. Why’d I not think of that? He’s probably laughing to himself, you know, he’s like, you know, why didn’t I think of that kind of thing? But you know, and you want to make them and it’s always a good thing to do that on stuff in my business because you want to make sure, you know, they feel very comfortable with what’s going on. I like to break, I like to explain it to him all the way through all these things. Because I think if they understand what I’m gonna do, it helps them know what’s going on, and that I know what I’m doing. So they’re not going to be asking, Hey, you know, are you for sure? Can you really do this?

Ari: You build confidence in them and that’s what you’re building rapport is by showing them that you want them to understand, you’re not here to just sell to them, you’re here to also educate them, and help them to feel confident and comfortable with everything that’s going to be going on. 

Devin: Right. 

Ari: Yeah, that’s not something that everyone does. So I know, you say it’s maybe just something that I just happen to do. It’s not something that everyone else does. But it is something that, as you can see, and for your own experience and what you’re getting results with. I mean, I see a huge difference. You also mentioned confidence. I mean, I know you got into the business not that long ago, you share 2019. It’s not that long ago. So how have you made yourself so knowledgeable that you can be that confident when building rapport and you’re delivering that to people and helping them to be confident?

Devin: I’ve been very fortunate in finding people that work with me that have been doing it for longer than I have, but they haven’t had the means of doing business for themselves. So I’ve kind of like I used to do, I would do cleanup jobs, I got bobcats and excavators and all that stuff. So I would kind of like when I was slow on something else, I would go out and have a buddy that used to do tree work, and I charge him, you know, 500 all day, and I would just do clean up for him, you know, and he’d paid the dump fees, I’d be hauling off or whatever. So I started meeting these seasoned arborists, you know, he wasn’t really kind of, he kind of wasn’t really good with the pay and everything. But you know, it was just a little side money that didn’t matter to me. So then I started thinking, Well, wait a minute, you know, I can go into this, if these guys will come with me. So I kind of started scooping them in and I started, I’ve learned from them. 

These guys are seasoned pros that have been doing it forever. But they’ve always worked under somebody, you know that wasn’t gonna treat them as an equal or do you know, whatever. So I think that your staff and who you employ and who you work with, I mean, and that’s one thing I think supported, whoever you got working with you, they need to be seen as an equal, you know, we need to be you know, Hey, David, don’t do this because if you do this, this what’s gonna happen. Say, oh, well, you know what, that’s probably right. Don’t say I’m the boss, you know? That’s nothing. You can’t do that. I mean, look at it and say, hey, you know, this could happen, you know, or I’ll go to a job like, and when I want the new job, I said, Well, what do you think? If we do this, do you think that’s gonna work? And then he did what I would do to my customers. He goes, Well, this is what happened. See, it’ll go this way. If we do it this way and you know, then I’m like, oh, okay, so then I’m more competent.

Ari: So besides like immersing yourself in just learning, I mean, surround yourself with people that are veterans, you know, people you can really, from experience, learn from, pick their brains to get the little nuances that, you know, aren’t going to be in a textbook, so to speak.

Devin: I don’t try to I mean, it’s not always, like I said, you can’t get rich off one job, don’t try to hire people that you can barely pay to make the most money off of. Hire people that you got to pay. But that’s gonna I mean, if you gotta pay him a bunch, guess what? A bunch of money’s gonna come in. You know, I mean, that’s the thing. If it’s about money, it’s not about money to me. You know, it’s about work. It’s about not punching that clock, it’s about working for myself, you know, it’s about meeting these new people and making friends with these clients.

Ari: it’s a big thing, making friends with clients. I mean, that’s a strong statement, you know, they’re not just a, you know, an acquaintance because they’re a client, saying, friends, that’s a strong statement. So I mean, you feel when you’re building rapport with people, at the end of a meeting with someone that there’s a new friendship established, whether they hire you or not.

Devin: That’s how you gotta look at it. Because even if they don’t come to you and give you that one job, there’s always a second chance, there’s always something in the future that you might run into him again, there might be a different tree, it might be, you know, they might hire somebody else and learn a bad lesson. I should hire that guy, they might, or they might call you back and say, hey, well, this guy, you know, didn’t get to finish because he couldn’t do it, or whatever, um, you just don’t ever know. But if you leave that good first impression, being confident, showing you know what you’re doing, even if your price was wrong, it might not be in their budget. 

Ari: And you’re doing this regardless with everybody, right? Whether they’re asking the questions or not, you’re educating them, you’re making them feel empowered, they understand what’s happening.

Devin: Right, because in doing that, you’re showing them that you know, what you’re talking about, you know, how to do the job. You know it’s still their choice. I mean, they still got the right to say no, they still have the right to hire somebody else. I mean, you can’t make them hire you.

Ari: I mean, that let me ask you, I mean, you close it a very high percentage. So I mean, I’m gonna guess at this, but I mean, you correct me, if I’m off base here, I have a feeling you don’t have to hard close to many people. You know, and you’re closing deals at a high rate. I assume you feel the same way I would, that that’s because of you building rapport. And like the relationship that’s built in advance of asking for an order?

Devin: Well, you because they feel comfortable with you. They don’t feel like you’re after their money. If they don’t feel like, you know, you’re just they’re wasting your time. Say you get out there, and it’s a $300 job, you know, and you’re like, Oh, well, you know, and then you go, Oh, well, you know, you know, the claimant, know what I mean? They know, you can’t let him out, you know, you got to stick with it. Do you know what I’m saying? So, you know, but once you get there, I mean, it’s like you’re not, it’s not you’re not asking for their money, that you care about what they think, you know, you’re trying to beat you’re being very, very nice with them. 

Like this one guy was you know, the same guy that I’m at now. He said something to me at first and I mean, he was just being rude, you know, and he had already hired me. And I said it was about insurance or something. And I said let me call them real quick. I’ll call you right back. I’ll just call this and send it to him on the roster. Check him. And then he was like, just being so nice. You know, it’s like, because he felt bad. But I’m thinking, Why in the world? Are you trying to be mean to me? I mean, you could asked for that in the beginning. He’s like, why are you? Oh, it was, I haven’t signed anything. I don’t know why you’re doing this. I said, Sir, when you click that button, you are binded to me now to pay me for what I’m doing. I said you are covered. I said, if you look in everything, you know, that I sent you, you click on that box at the bottom and show you everything. But I didn’t say that. I saw Okay, sir. I’m sorry. I didn’t know that didn’t come let me call them back. They must not have sent it to you. You know, just be really nice to him, and then he felt like an idiot. They call back. He was singing a different tune. He’s like oh I’m sorry. I said I didn’t know they didn’t send it to you.

Ari: Put a single word on it. It sounds like you’re a very patient man. Yes, to me, that’s a big part of your processes, building rapport, to educate customers, you know, again, when you’re knowledgeable, and they’re not, it takes patience. And you know, to sit there and answer questions from people. It takes patience and all these things that you’re sharing. I mean, that’s a different level of patience than a lot of people have, there’s such a rush to close a deal that, you know, they kill the deal along the way. 

Devin: I mean, if you’re male or female, and you’re trying to pick up the opposite sex, take that as your client, but not like you’re really trying to pick them up. But you are you’re trying to pick up that deal. So, I mean, you can’t go in there being pushy with a girl or guy. But you know, you gotta be cool, man. You can’t go in there. You got to be level-headed. You got to show him you’re about this but you got to show them first and foremost, you care about them, you know what you’re doing? You know how to do the job, and you’re confident in what you do because you’re sitting there telling them how you do it. 

I mean how do I know that? I’m not gonna tell them? I mean, maybe not in tree work, but if it was something else, how do I know if I don’t tell them step by step how to do it, they’re not just gonna do it yourself? I’m taking that chance too, but it shows that it doesn’t matter to me that it’s, hey, if you think you can do a jump on it, you know, I mean, that’s where I’m at, you know, and you just, I just think that if, you know, don’t try to be somebody, you’re not, don’t try to be, I’ve been, you know, that’s what happened with that climber, I’ve been doing this tree work longer than you have, and I’m thinking you don’t have a car yet, I gotta go pick you up, I’m just trying to help you out. Because he’s really good at it. He’s awesome at it, you know, and I was just trying to, but that’s what I’m saying. You got to bring somebody into it, that knows what they’re doing. You know, you can’t be helping people, you know, and all that. But you know, if you go into this, and you show somebody, you’re not after your money, you show that you care, that you’re gonna do the job. To me, I think that’s just, I think that’s what it’s all about. For me, I think that’s how I close this stuff.

Ari: And there’s a piece that, uh, you know, get me up or picking up just watching because I mean, this is visual as well. But for anyone listening that is not able to see, I think another piece of it as well is I mean, you’re a young company, but you took the extra steps also, to clearly present yourself in a professional manner. I mean, you got the labeled polos. I mean, you’re showing up as a company, not as a dude in a truck. And I know from experience that makes a huge difference, you know, the, you know, to go crazy wrapping things and getting all kinds of fancy stuff. But even for a simple thing, you know, no one or operator situation to get a brand, that polo ain’t that much to show up and look like you are in the game and a professional game, you know, and that’s awesome. Sure helps build that confidence and trust. When you sound knowledgeable, you look the part. That’s a powerful mix. You know.

Devin: I mean, all my guys wear these shirts. They’re all colored shirts, My wife’s like you should just be the one wearing a collared shirt. They are the bosses. But when they talk, when we go out there, we all got they know who to talk to, they all come to me and talk to me because they know who the boss is. You don’t have to you don’t have to put a hat on something. You know, people know, people, they watch what’s going on. I’m not out there hauling it people are doing it. We’re all out doing the job. We’re all there working hard. You know, they don’t there’s no label on that. Do you know what I mean? I don’t need that. 

Ari: When you show up to that door, though, you’re already setting that tone with them. Your professional operation, see you’re getting out looking the part. I mean, that’s setting the tone before you even open your mouth.

Devin: Yeah, but I’ll tell you, I got one of the guys that he comes with me. Because I like him to look at stuff too. You know he’s been doing it, you know, longer than I have and everything. But you know, I really just believe that if that I mean, to me, man, that’s just what I think. That’s what helps me do what I do out here on closing stuff I mean, if you show people that you’re serious, you seriously care about them and what they want you to do, you’re gonna do it in a good fashion for a good price. I mean, that’s what they want. You know, and you just got it. I mean, I know that everything’s expensive. Now. I mean, chips are back, I bought a bag of chips for $4.50. I was like, God, you know? Yeah, but here’s the thing, everybody’s in that much. You got out of that when you’re pricing things. I’m not doing one paying that much for chips. You’re not either these clients are to these people in these jobs or to, you know, and that’s the thing, you know,

I just, I don’t know, man, I think that that’s, that would help everybody, you know, if we just were all, you know, just came out caring.

Ari: 100%. And that’s where I mean, again, the summarize, like, really, what I’m hearing from you, in a simple way you put the client first. And there’s not a lot of people that do you know, most businesses out there, I mean, including the business we’re in, I mean, I’ve shared this with you before, a big part of what we feel we’re successful with is that same reason is we put the client first. And you know, everything else takes care of itself. You know, there’s the old Zig Ziglar adage, you know, help enough people get what they want in life, then you get everything you want in life. And it’s held true and sounds like that’s the philosophy that you go with, put the client first put their needs first, show them that you care, and show that painting the picture is a critical piece. And how do we do it then is through like you said, educating them, helping them understand the project, all the components. 

Then also as you said, confidence when it comes because you have the knowledge and then obviously believe in what you’re doing that you’re the best to help this person out. And then the ability to convey that over in a friendly manner. Again, that sounds like the formula here. If I had a, you know, guesstimate I would assume that this also helps when it comes to closing. I mean, aside from not having to go hard close the fact that you’ve detailed everything. I’ve been on the other side and I know when I detailed for people every step of a roofing project and what’s going to go into it in the possible things we could run into every detail. When you get down to the table. I mean, it’s like an afterthought, signing the deal with you. And I’m assuming that that’s the same for you as well. 

Devin: Well, the hard close I don’t do that. He had some trees laying really bad toward the house and he wanted some he wanted a lot done. You know, it was gonna be pretty expensive, you know, but it had to be done. So then, you know, the hard sell for me is compassion. I just said, Hey, man, what’s your budget? And he’s like, 1500 bucks. But, you know, I was out there for eight hours, I told her $200 an hour on the machine when I’m doing grading and stuff. You know what? And I just said, I gotcha, man, I can do it. Because, you know, sometimes things got to be done, because, you know, he couldn’t afford it, you know, you can always do that. But you know, it’s not always gonna hurt you to show somebody a little compassion, you know, because you’re not gonna get rich off one job. But you can’t twist anybody’s arm, you know, they got what they got. 

Ari: You put the client first. And that’s what it comes down to, you know, not everyone does it. And that’s a key component. Because again, it’s when you care genuinely, people feel it, you know, people are human BS detectors, and they’re gonna know if someone genuinely cares or not. And at the end of the day, I mean, you clearly are genuine, you’re building rapport with them in that way and making people feel warm and fuzzy. It’s no doubt while you’re getting to a table not meeting resistance, I mean, they’re almost begging you, hey, where do I sign based on you building rapport. It’s old buddy Devin at this point, you know, I’m ready to rock and roll.

Devin: I mean, it’s only I talk for about 10 or 15 minutes, and then like, at night, when I get home, I email him an estimate, and then you know, they click on the button, and it’s good. Rule one: The customer’s always right. Rule two, if you have any problems read rule one again. If you live by that. I had my first job I was at Winn Dixie or something that was the rules at Winn Dixie. I was like, 15, I think, years ago. That is it. I mean, it’s it. You’re wrong all the time. The customer’s always right. No matter if you didn’t do it. I mean it’s up to them.

Ari: Yeah. Like at the end of the day. I mean, whether it’s by happenstance, or by, you know, design, what you’re doing is fantastic. And you know, the stuff you’re sharing. I mean, I know you think it’s so simple, and a lot of other people might consider it simple, but it’s not that simple. But so many people don’t do it. And again, it’s just a shift of focus of what am I worried about? Am I worried about getting a deal? Or am I worried about helping a client and if we’re focused on helping the client from what you’re sharing, and every action and everything we’re doing is focused on that it’s almost impossible not to succeed and whether someone succeeds with an 85% clipper, close at even at a 50% clip, I mean, those are awesome numbers. And I don’t know anyone out there that’s not laughing all the way to the bank, so to speak, because of putting the client first and really building that relationship and building rapport. So I really appreciate you coming on here and sharing all this stuff. I know that it’s, uh, you know, invaluable to the people that are listening, providing they take from here and apply because, at the end of the day, it’s all about the application of knowledge, not about just the knowledge itself. And I appreciate you coming on here and sharing and helping to make others successful as well. I want to also thank our listeners for listening to the X Factor Home Pros sales podcast. I do hope and I’m sure Devin could reiterate that it brings you value and helps you to take your sales game to the next level.

Be sure to subscribe so you can catch that next episode. So your action items as a listener are or wherever you are listening to this right now hit the subscribe button so that way you can catch the next episode. You can also follow us on any other social platforms Instagram, LinkedIn. Again find us @conXpros. And again if you didn’t catch that you could check out our description for our social media links here. If you have any questions shoot us an email happy to help you out at Again, thanks for tuning in, and happy hunting.



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