8 Reasons Why You’re Losing Sales and Wasting Time

BY: Joe Crisara

It’s easy to have a great, confident attitude when the wind’s at your back and victories are coming in. Those are the times when just about anybody can show the grace of professionalism. But face a prolonged dry spell or series of difficult obstacles, and that’s when you find your deep inner character. When a winner faces uphill battles, he displays the same commitment to the basics as when things are easy. He doesn’t check out or feel sorry for himself, he puts his head down and hits the heavy bag, so to speak. Luckily, you can work on your traits when facing adversity. I’ve learned from years in the service industry, and these tips will make you the kind of diehard professional for whom defeat is simply not an option.

1. Who Is At The Center of a Customer Interaction?

Who’s the most important person when you’re talking to a customer? Your ego wants to say that you are but your professional mind should know that it’s the customer. You put the customer and their needs first, and your needs will be taken care of in the long run. Nine tenths of your effort should be on finding out about the customer, and one tenth should go toward telling about yourself. Too much paperwork or show-offy materials will sink a deal fast.

You must find out about your customer’s life, family, pets, job, interests, hobbies, etc. What do they love? Do they have children with allergies or other medical issues? You can offer a higher quality AC unit with a HEPA filter or dehumidifier. Are they all about protecting the environment?  If they are, you can offer them some green, environmental-friendly solutions like solar panels or a water efficient toilet. Continue reading “8 Reasons Why You’re Losing Sales and Wasting Time”

Have You Taken Stock of Your Techs’ Toolkits Recently?

BY: Joe Crisara

You can’t expect your employees to do their best work if they have inferior, broken, or missing tools and resources for solving problems. An effective car mechanic has all of the mechanical necessities laid out neatly in a multi-drawer toolbox, with printed car manuals nearby. Similarly, your employees need to have work tools, technology and information “aid out so they can find the right piece when they need it.

Ask your workers, “If you had a magic wand, what would you wish for that would make your job easier?” Even if you perfectly equipped your employees at the beginning, industries are constantly changing with the introduction of new codes, technological standards and ever-evolving customer needs. As a service business owner, it’s your responsibility to keep the team and its tools up to date.

Expectations Equal Results

Often, managers and owners get frustrated with what they perceive as a lack of results or low performance. However, just as often managers and leaders neglect to explain the company’s goals and priorities in the first place — they just assume employees will figure it out. And we all know what happens when you assume.

As a service business owner, it’s your responsibility to keep the team and their tools up to date.

A service company has to have performance goals so each employee knows exactly what’s expected. Have a mission statement with a clear list of top goals and non-negotiable points when it comes to employee conduct and performance as well. The higher ups need to define the essential vision, which translates into actions. This will convey to workers not only what they need to be doing but also why they need to be doing it.

Training, Not Explaining

Continue reading “Have You Taken Stock of Your Techs’ Toolkits Recently?”

Caution Ahead: Getting Through Tricky Customer Interactions

BY: Joe Crisara

Let me start by saying I LOVE sports. I believe anybody who is a competitor, is drawn in by those who strive to reach the highest level of a sport they are passionate about.  When playing a professional sport, an athlete would never neglect practice. They would never choose the easiest, low-pressure scenarios as preparation for actual games. They push their bodies beyond the limit and that’s why they are the best. If they only took slow, steady grounders in the infield, they probably wouldn’t win a game or have a job for much longer.

The same scenario applies to contractors in the service business. It’s not the easy, friendly customers that you need to worry about. It’s how you respond to the ones who throw difficult curve balls that separates you from your competition.

Using the strategies below, you can anticipate conversation-stoppers or deal-killers, and break on through to create productive and profitable working relationships with your clients.

They Come By Many Different Names & Games

You will start to notice patterns in the types of frustrating answers that potential clients throw back at you. You can name them and tape those labels to the wall (where no customer would ever see them!) if that helps motivate you and your team. I have certainly noticed these repeat types of objections or challenges you hear from customers on a service call, and I’ve applied my own set of labels to them. I’ll share some of them here:

– The Gatekeeper wants you to tell him all your prices upfront and then he’ll go talk to his wife and get back to you.

– The Apple Buyer got a full proposal from another company and just wants to know your price.

– Mr. Stuck in the Past tells you he had it fixed during the Nixon years for $187 and asks if that’s still the price.

– The Broke Ass just spent a load of money on his gold-lined Jacuzzi and now has nothing left for the house electrical.

– Mystification Man tells you everything’s working fine right now but he just wants to get it checked out.

– The Know-It-All informs you that he’s already figured out exactly what the problem is and that’s all he wants done.

There’s a lot more of these colorful characters but they all really have more in common than not. The good news is that you only have to stick with a small set of simple, strong principles in order to take back control of the interaction and create outcomes worthy of the professional, pure motive service that you and your company are providing.

Continue reading “Caution Ahead: Getting Through Tricky Customer Interactions”

Ten Ways to Avoid Price Objections

BY: Joe Crisara

The concept of value-added selling has been a popular one for a number of years. In fact, in today’s contracting world you are left with two choices.

1.       Provide excessive value for the price that you charge.

2.       Charge a cheaper price for the low value you provide.

That’s right, the natural laws come into place here. In the world today the buyer will either force you to either provide more value to get the price you need. Or they will force you to lower your price if you refuse to raise your value.

There is no doubt

Without value-added components, any product or service can be driven down to the most bottom line – price.

What is the problem with that?

When you are only selling price, you’ll never be able to make high margin sales where profitability, long term growth and sales success reside. Let’s take a look at 10 ways how you can add value to your product or service, no matter brand of equipment you sell.

Some salespeople might argue by saying, “You don’t understand, my product is different,” or “My service is different.” The truth is that every product or service can have value added to it. Let’s take a look at 10 specific ways that you can do this:

1. Providing expert advice and a high level of professionalism. Lots of professionals are paid a tidy sum for the level of advice that they provide. However, for you as a home comfort sales professional, in order for you to be able to provide value, you need to understand that you have to provide a level of advice that is significantly higher, more sophisticated and more valuable than that of your competition. Plus, you have to be able to communicate this to your prospect in a meaningful way. What this means communicating to your prospect a higher level of sophistication, wisdom and understanding about what it is you do. In a nutshell, why are you different and better than your competition? Odds are you have already purchased things like IAQ monitors, Infiltrometers, duct blasters and heat exchanger cameras. Now know when to use them. By all means, do use them.

2. Bundling and packaging. I’m not only talking here about the way your product or service actually looks. I’m also talking about desirable packages, purchasing levels and a series of added benefits that are significant in value and are, themselves, a whole lot more valuable than simply the product is by itself. Clean air packages, Silent system packages etc. Continue reading “Ten Ways to Avoid Price Objections”

Avoid Creating Your Own Personal Recession

BY: Joe Crisara

 

Let’s be honest– completely separate from how you run your contracting company, there is a thing out there called the economy. I’m talking specifically about the macro economy. Macro means big and that means the economy on a regional, state wide or national level. There are many factors that go into the condition of the macro economy- the cumulative effects of millions of decisions by consumers, producers and investors- but you yourself are unable to have almost any effect on it.

It is what it is, and like a boat floating on the waves of the ocean, your best bet is to keep an eye on what kind of weather is coming, so you can adjust your sails accordingly. There are things you can do to protect the financial viability of your home contracting business in tough times. Just as, conversely, there are things you can do to accelerate a downward spiral as cooler economic times approach. The idea is to cultivate the former while eliminating the latter.

GO TO THOSE YOU KNOW

Especially in an economic chill, go to your existing (which includes previous) customer base. They will provide a very worthwhile foundation from which to gain jobs and increase revenue. In the home contracting industry we often think that all of our next client interactions and paid work contracts need to be brand new people we’ve never seen before.

But so often, a good former customer can become a return or repeat customer. Sometimes it just takes reaching out with a check-in and an offer of a home inspection, or the suggestion of replacing old wiring and outlets or pipes and washers on the verge of cracking.

Your overhead will stay pretty much the same regardless of how the economy is doing. So you may as well go back to your existing customer base and see what they need- leaving no stone un-turned and really maxing out your interactive customer service.

But what about when you’ve tapped everyone you know?

IT’S A PEOPLE GAME Continue reading “Avoid Creating Your Own Personal Recession”