What happened: One guy had a leak in his bathroom, and boy, I spent a lot of time in that home. I said, “I don't see any evidence of the bathtub leaking, maybe it's the toilet.” He said, “What do you do for that?” I said, “The toilet has to be pulled and reset. It's real easy to do. You buy a new wax ring, turn off the water, take it off, put it back on, and it'll work fine.” And the guy's thinking, “Hey, I could do that.”

What I learned: I'm there to help with a solution; that's my job. But as you talk, there's a temptation to show “I'm knowledgeable.”

I need to talk in more general terms. I can tell them we do this type of job all the time without giving away how we do it. I should sidestep and say, “I've got technicians who know the details.” It's not my job to give a free consultation. —Guy Marzano

What the sales expert says: Some people do call for free consulting, but I think they are far and few between. But once you encounter it, you feel like everyone is like that. Our system is to get people to like and trust you. You have to qualify the project. What's their motivation? Are they doing it to make money? Even if they're handy, maybe the homeowner doesn't have time to do the repair. The percentage of people who use you for free consulting isn't worth worrying about. It's something to watch for, but if it seems they're looking for free advice, determine their motive. —Lon Bennett

Guy Marzano is a new sales rep with Case Handyman Services of St. Paul, Minn. We're recapping his on-the-job experiences. Lon Bennett is national sales manager with Case Handyman Services, Bethesda, Md.