It’s a wise way to sell more warranties

By J.R. Zirkelbach, New Leaf Service Contracts

There are certain movies my wife Holly will watch again and again and again.

One of those films is “A Few Good Men,” starring Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise and Demi Moore. Some of the movies Holly loves I could take or leave, but I have to admit that “A Few Good Men” is pretty great.

There’s a classic scene where Navy lawyer Lieutenant Kaffee (Cruise) and Lieutenant Commander Galloway (Moore) are investigating the death of a private at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Kaffee and Galloway are having lunch with Colonel Jessup (Nicholson). Things get contentious when Galloway presses the colonel for details about the private’s supposedly scheduled transfer, which unfortunately never takes place.

As Kaffee and Galloway are leaving, the brash young lieutenant turns and asks the colonel for a copy of the private’s transfer order. Jessup responds snidely that Kaffee can have all the transfer orders he wants, but “You gotta ask me nicely. I want you to stand there in that *expletive* white uniform … and extend me some *expletive* courtesy. You gotta ask me nicely.”  

Kaffee concedes and says, “Colonel Jessup, if it’s not too much trouble, I’d like a copy of the transfer order, sir.” Jessup smiles, takes a puff of his cigar and answers, “No problem.”

What in the world does this riveting scene have to do with selling extended service plans? The same thing as when your parents taught you this valuable lesson: If you want something, you need to ask for it nicely.

Put differently, when asking your customer to purchase an extended service plan, how you ask makes all the difference.

If your question is, “You don’t want to buy an extended warranty, do you?” the answer will likely be no.  If your question is, “Do you want to buy an extended service plan for an extra $199?” the answer will also likely be no.

But what if you asked your customer, “Wouldn’t you rather have five full years of coverage instead of the manufacturer’s one-year limited warranty?” Or “Doesn’t it make sense to protect your product longer than the manufacturer does?”

This is asking nicely, and in a manner that the only logical answer is yes. So ask nicely, and like Tom Cruise’s Kaffee, you can have all the extended service plan sales you want.

J.R. Zirkelbach is a business development executive at New Leaf Service Contracts with 30 years’ experience in retail. New Leaf-administered service contracts can provide an enhanced customer experience, earnings opportunities for salespeople, and increased profitability for BrandSource members. Contact J.R. at

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