Selling On Tough Calls: Multiple Estimates

BY: Julie Crisara

That Moment You Realize This Is A Tough Call

Carol looked at me and said, “Just so you know, we’re getting 3 estimates before we make a decision.” Not to be outdone by his wife, Bob yelled, “Four estimates,” as he turned and walked into the other room.  I thought to myself, I haven’t even taken off my shoes yet and this is what I get.  I hate these multiple estimate tough calls.  Just then Joe walked in the door and introduced himself.  “Hi, I’m Joe Crisara, the quality control manager.  How are you today, Carol?”

Carol gave Joe that same determined look and said, “I just want you to know that we have 3 estimates lined up this week and we won’t be making any decisions until we hear them all.”

“First, let me say thanks for calling us and for the opportunity to help you and your family with this issue. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here today and it really means a lot to us that you chose our company to assist you. Carol, can I ask you a question?” “Of course,” Carol said.

“Carol, I really appreciate your honesty about getting 3 prices before making a decision.  We don’t go out for dinner these days without seeing the different options available to us and the prices alongside them thanks to social media and sites like Yelp. They’ve changed the restaurant industry.”

Joe wasn’t phased a bit by Carol’s comment and immediately followed with, “We like to think that we are changing the way service contractors do business with homeowners like yourself as well. You said you are only going to get 3 estimates.  Our company gives 6 estimates on every call, kind of like that insurance company where you name your own price.  This way you have all the possibilities right in front of you at the same time.  So why are you limiting yourself to only 3 estimates?”

Carol was a bit stunned and didn’t know what to say but was able to stumble out the words, “We are actually getting 4 estimates.”  Joe just rolled with the punches, but I could tell he was wareing her out. “I understand Carol.  I’m not trying to make you feel bad.  It’s just that if I were to show you my 6 estimates instead of only 4, and you liked one of those options, what would happen next?” Continue reading “Selling On Tough Calls: Multiple Estimates”

The Art of Not Caring, When You Do Care

BY: Joe Crisara

It seems like one of those weird, counter-intuitive rules, but it’s true. Removing yourself emotionally from the outcome of a frustrating sales or service negotiation is the winning move when confronted with such a conundrum. You’ve probably been there- a wrenching, difficult interaction with someone at work. It could be a superior, an associate or a customer. Afterwards you felt exhausted and also had that electric “fight-or-flight” feeling. It’s not a good sensation, you don’t want this much drama in your life- and especially not at work.

When you feel like you’ve been through the emotional ringer after a work argument, it means that you grasped too tightly to the importance that you assigned to the result. It also means that you closed off your mind to listening to the other person’s point of view, even if it seemed totally incorrect or suspect at the outset. It seems like an impossible contradiction, but it’s not. You should care deeply about your work performance generally, but not care too much about the results of any one transaction.

It’s natural for us to mix our emotions into things that we invest out time and energy into. Even more so when those activities involve making a living and have an element of competition. The big winners in any field, however, learn to divorce themselves from the “scoreboard” as a measure of their value. They also stop seeing others’ actions as being personally against them.

A sales transaction can be emotional for the buyer, but it shouldn’t be for the seller- which is you. Train yourself not to care too much or become attached to the result of any given customer situation. Or even interactions with co-workers, suppliers or whomever. When you “need” a certain outcome too much, that desperation makes you appear as if you don’t really hold power and inarguable quality. Real quality never has to beg and scrape. Real quality can walk away today and will get more than enough jobs tomorrow. Buyers are attracted to that because people generally want to go with a winner.

Is ‘Yes’ Your Dirty, Overused Word? Continue reading “The Art of Not Caring, When You Do Care”

ContractorSelling.com Drives New Wave of Trained Service Contractors at Contractor Leadership LIVE Seminar

BY: Joe Crisara

ContractorSelling.com, a leader in online coaching and live training for service contractors, has partnered with Contractor Leadership LIVE to educate and inspire transformation in service businesses from all trades.

ContractorSelling.com, a leader in online coaching and live training for service contractors, and Contractor Leadership LIVE team up to educate and inspire transformation in service businesses from all trades.

Contractor Leadership LIVE will be held on September 12-14, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio with the top industry experts to train professionals in the HVAC, plumbing and electrical trades. In one expansive gathering place, attendees will learn vital information concerning the economic outlook, current industry challenges, and explore new technologies. This three-day conference offers best practices from the premier trainers in the world renowned for helping contracting business owners pave their way to success.

ContractorSelling.com CEO and co-founder, Joe Crisara will provide a special keynote along with Rick Picard, the $7 Million Dollar HVAC Salesman, on “Pure Motive Pricing: The Art of Flat Rate 3.0” to educate contractors on the new protocol for pricing and technology in the service industry.

Continue reading “ContractorSelling.com Drives New Wave of Trained Service Contractors at Contractor Leadership LIVE Seminar”

Prioritizing Calls When You’re Swamped

BY: Joe Crisara

 

Time is the great equalizer. No matter how big your company is, time is a commodity that becomes very limiting in terms of the ability to be there when our best clients need us.  Both large and small companies are basically “closed for business” once their schedules become saturated with opportunities.

Drinking From a Fire Hose

In the service industry, you have to be more than quick on your toes. Especially when calls are pouring in because of some extreme weather or other phenomena causing increased customer need. This tends to happen in the summer months when the weather is hot and many residential AC systems start to fail and need repair. The spring brings flooding season, accompanied by an influx of calls for plumbers. Additionally, electricians feel the rush to fix heating units before the holidays at the end of the year.  No matter what industry you’re in, there will be a time when you can’t keep up.

Having enough opportunity can quench the thirst of going through a dry spell.  But when it’s TOO busy, it’s like drinking from a fire hose.  You can literally drown your company in too much opportunity and then pay the price in unpaid overtime expenses, employee burnout and unhappy loyal clients leading to the ultimate destruction of your business.

The System IS the Solution

To begin thinking about a “systematic” priority system, consider what’s needed as a version of emergency room triage.  Just like a hospital, we need to make sure that the more urgent patients get service first, while taking into account whether the patient has the right provider that’s covered in their network. Plus, we’ve got to make sure that all the proper paperwork has been completed to secure the financial obligations that go along with an emergency service like that.

Continue reading “Prioritizing Calls When You’re Swamped”

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”

The Impact Of Lowering Your Price

BY: Joe Crisara

Will Lower Prices Sell More?

It’s not hard to find contractors who think they are losing jobs because their competitors have a lower price than them. How many are losing jobs because they lower their price instead of standing firm?

That is a question that is much harder to answer. Especially since most people do not want to face the truth. The truth is that you will lose far more sales with a lower price or worse yet, by lowering the price you have already given than they ever will by having a higher price than your competitors.

5 Reasons Why Lowering Your Price Could Cost Sales

1. You Look Like Your Competitors – Do you really think that having the lowest price will make you stand out? Every other salesperson says the same thing. Everyone claims to have the lowest prices because they think it will get the customer’s attention. Even if it did make you stand out, it would be for the wrong reason – the very wrong reason of offering a watered-down version of what people really want.

A higher price with a more premium package is really the only way to look different from your competition. Offer something better that no one else can offer. A lower price just isn’t it.

2. It Takes Focus Off Your Customer – Price does not determine the sale; your customer does. That means that your attention should be completely on them. Everything you do should help you understand and connect with your customers so that you will discover their motivation for buying.

Customers search for a product that is the best solution to their problem. They understand that a product cannot be the lowest priced and still be the best. Making the sale requires that you find the best solution, not the cheapest.

3. It Decreases Perception Of Your Value – Before every purchase, a customer considers, “Is this worth it?” The answer depends on the value of the product, not the price. If they envision themselves using and benefiting from the product, the answer is yes and the purchase is made. Continue reading “The Impact Of Lowering Your Price”

We’re Hiring at ContractorSelling.com!

BY: Julie Crisara

Our business is growing, and we’re hiring for a number of excellent positions in the ContractorSelling.com family. Check out the job board today to see if you might be a good fit. Our office is located at 6167 Bristol Pkwy Los Angeles, California.

Customer Service Representative

Overview: This position will play an essential role in guiding our customers to the correct internal person as well as answering any technical questions they may have over our websites and software. In preparation, we are searching for a self-starter with excellent people skills who is solution-driven.

Software Knowledge: Must be tech savvy and able to understand a new website and software quickly, and have prior experience selling a service. Experience with Infusionsoft a plus, as well as Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, Outlook) familiar with Mac and PC.

Continue reading “We’re Hiring at ContractorSelling.com!”

The 1 Thing You Should Never Do As A Contractor

BY: Julie Crisara

Simplicity is good, and although the home contracting industry has its complexities, here is one very simple rule to go by. If you had to boil down all of the tricks, tips and rules of running a successful home contracting business, there is one cardinal rule that rises above all the rest. In the same way that you don’t touch the electrified third rail in a subway, Don’t fail to give your customers options! In other words, always be offering them options!

A WORLD WITHOUT CHOICES?!

Imagine you walk into a super hardware store, you know, a giant, airplane hangar sized place with 20 aisles, each one way over your head and absolutely jammed with stuff. There’s electrical, plumbing, hand tools, power tools, wires, cables, lumber, gardening, siding, etc. etc, you name it. And an employee in an orange vest comes up and nudges you over to a checkout station, throws a couple 2×4’s, a claw hammer and a pack of chamois cloths on the conveyor belt and says “That’ll be $23.95”. “Huh?” you’d be thinking.

You just walked in to the store to choose from the thousands of items and this employee comes along and tells you exactly what you’re getting at exactly what price. That sounds like an eastern European country during the Cold War- not like the good old US of A, where we have choices and freedom, especially when it comes to our goods and services!

Neither you nor anyone you know would go back to a hardware store that operated even remotely similar to that.

So why do some people in the home contracting industry think it’s okay to similarly offer customers no choice?

If you don’t offer any options, choices or alternatives to your customers, it comes across as if you’re issuing a demand on them, laying down the gauntlet, putting them in a corner. People don’t like that feeling. You might think that they appreciate being told exactly what to do and not having to make up their mind, but a lot of people are so used to having choices that it seems crude and impolite to not be offered a variety of options for their products and services.

3 REALLY GOOD REASONS TO OFFER YOUR CUSTOMERS CHOICES Continue reading “The 1 Thing You Should Never Do As A Contractor”

Why Your Business Will Fail Without Field Service Software

BY: Julie Crisara

Nowadays there seems to be an app for everything. An app to get your food delivered, make a doctor’s appointment, stream any movie, there’s even an app to help you find your soul mate. But what about your business?

How are you tracking your team towards the path to success? If you focus all of your efforts on putting feet in the street and fail to monitor your progress, you will undoubtedly fail. Don’t fall into that trap! Check out walk-through infographic on how field service software helps contractors every step of your business.

To save yourself from these pitfalls, sign up for our new app Jobi and see how you can follow this roadmap to keep your business going strong for many years to come! Get your free 7-day trial at www.jobi.pro/trial

Continue reading “Why Your Business Will Fail Without Field Service Software”

3 Surefire Ways to Discourage Employees (And Sales)

BY: Julie Crisara

As the manager of employees in the contracting industry, you have a lot of control over your people. And I don’t just mean technically, on paper, according to the company’s organizational chart, but rather in everyday ways, psychologically and behaviorally. You can have a huge effect on your contracting sales people and field service reps just by the way that you act and the things that you say to them on a regular basis. You can encourage them or discourage them. If you discourage them, expect a decrease in morale, revenues and company reputation. How would you go about discouraging your employees? Here are the 3 most effective ways.

Employees on the front lines (those in-the-trenches sales people and service reps in the field) need support and encouragement to stay motivated in their job. They have to create relationships, make happy customers and maintain a base of clients that stays for the long haul. So, if you fail to offer the support, understanding and resources they need in these few fundamental areas, you will guarantee a slow (or speedy) descent into a failing business.

SEE FACELESS BLOBS, NOT DISTINCT GENERATIONS

Treat all your employees exactly the same, regardless of their age or generational cohort. Disregard the differences, among your staff, between the World War II “Greatest” generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials. Treat them all generically. Do not interact and coach them based upon the fact that the WWII generation generally responds to authority, Boomers look for meaning in their work, Gen X is self-reliant and seeks life balance and Gen Y looks to be recognized for their exertion.

Throw away the knowledge that everyone’s belief system is nearly solidified by the time they turn 14. Likewise, ignore the expert advice to look at the major events that occurred during the formative years of each generation for guidance in empathizing with their fears, yearnings and aspirations.

MAKE IT ABOUT MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!

2.) Act in every situation as if money is the absolute motivation behind everything your employees think, do and feel. Assume that everyone is driven primarily by a lust for financial wealth at the expense of everything else. Approach your contracting sales people and field service reps based on the assumption that any other issue or problem they have can be solved by money. They are willing to suppress any negative feelings of their work, interactions or quality of life, if you just put more money in their bank accounts.

Disregard this simple fact: If you sit employees down and offer them 4 words- money, lifestyle, recognition and challenge- and ask them to rank the words in terms of personal importance, 90% will NOT put ‘money’ in the #1 slot.

So treat your employees as two-dimensional, money-hungry buzzards instead of as the complex, variously motivated human beings that they are.

Continue reading “3 Surefire Ways to Discourage Employees (And Sales)”

Dead Man Walking: 5 Ways to Become an Ex-Employee

BY: Julie Crisara

Everybody has a dream, and some people’s dream is getting fired. Ya know- canned, pink-slipped, see ya later alligator! Okay, I don’t know positively for sure that being let go is their dream, but observing some sales managers in the home contracting industry, it sure seems like it. I mean, if these guys weren’t trying to get cut loose then they just coincidentally happened to be doing the very same things that’ll send you out the door and down to the Unemployment office faster than you can say “Invoice attached.”

I don’t want anyone to get fired, especially if they actually like and want to keep their job. I have a special soft spot for people in the contracting industry, because I’ve spent decades actually working in that field and also as a consultant helping other contractors improve their business, using the things I have learned and observed over the years. But I realized that it’s so easy and so common for seemingly bright and well-intentioned contracting sales managers to make decisions that were really detrimental- and self-destructive- in the long run without even knowing it. It turns out, a lot of this stuff is NOT just common sense!

Instead of telling you- a current or aspiring sales manager or other supervisory position in the home plumbing, HVAC or electrical contracting field- what to do to keep your job, I’m going to tell you what to do to get fired. If you don’t want to get fired, just use reverse engineering. Continue reading “Dead Man Walking: 5 Ways to Become an Ex-Employee”

WHY We At ContractorSelling.com Wake Up Every Day

BY: Joe Crisara

why-we-do

As the old year turns into a new one, I can’t help but stop and reflect on the hard working people who not only make ContractorSelling a healthy, thriving business – but who also do so much for our society. People like you. Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC Contractors that work beneath the surface of our homes and businesses performing the thankless tasks that others don’t have the passion or expertise to do.  This is WHY we at ContractorSelling wake up everyday.

You work hard day in and day out, making personal sacrifice after personal sacrifice to keep the power on, the air at the right temperature, and the water flowing in our homes the way it’s supposed to.

Every day, you perform the often thankless task of keeping millions of families safe and healthy. You do everything in your power to ensure that their mechanical systems are of the highest quality and are in reliable, working order.

Day to day you may not realize the significance of what you do, but I realize it.

You are the definition of Pure Motive Service, and for that I thank you.

I thank you for doing the work, for keeping all those families safe, and for allowing all of us at Contractor Selling to witness and be a part of the amazing things you do for others every day.

Thank you for inspiring us every day with your dedication, and for the world-class, customized service you give your clients all year long.

What you might not know is this…

Continue reading “WHY We At ContractorSelling.com Wake Up Every Day”

5 Ways New Technology Can Make Your Business More Profitable

BY: Joe Crisara

technology

I have a question for you, and I want you to answer it honestly.

Are you a technology caveman?

And by that I mean are you one of those people who doesn’t really use technology in your business – and if you do it’s super behind-the-times technology?

Here’s how you can tell if I’m describing you or not…

Continue reading “5 Ways New Technology Can Make Your Business More Profitable”

3 Crucial Rules All Successful Contractors Follow

BY: Joe Crisara

3-crucial-rules

“I follow three rules: Do the right thing, do the best you can, and always show people you care. You’ve got to make a sincere attempt to have the right goals to begin with, then go after them with appropriate effort, and remember that you can’t really achieve anything great without the help of others.” – Lou Holtz

. Continue reading “3 Crucial Rules All Successful Contractors Follow”

Does Higher Price Raise Perception Of Quality?

BY: Joe Crisara

Consumer Shortcuts

Let’s face facts. Most of us take shortcuts when making a purchase that we are unfamiliar with. For example when we buy a flat screen television, new car or purchase a service we rarely use turn to price and reputation as a “shortcut” to tell ourselves about the quality of what we are purchasing. For instance if i said I was selling a car for $95,000 most people would envision a Mercedes Benz or Lexus loaded with all the trimmings.

Does this same effect happen when people buy hvac, plumbing and electrical service fron our company. Well I guess that depends on how your company positions itself in the market. Are you perceived as high end or a budget? Continue reading “Does Higher Price Raise Perception Of Quality?”

25 Genius Ways to Keep Referrals Flowing All Year Long

BY: Joe Crisara

 

REFERRALS

We’re in a cyclical business, and those “in-between” months can be tough going for a lot of contractors. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In my last article, we covered why most shops are leaving tons of money on the table by not having active referral programs. We talked about how a good referral program benefits the company, the employees, and the customers.

I even gave you some talking points to use with your people to get them enthusiastic about seeking referrals.

Today, I’m going to give you 25 great ways to get the referrals flowing and keep them flowing all year long. Some of these are super quick and easy to implement, and others may take some setup, but I’ve personally witnessed each and every one of them work over the years.

You’re going to want to save this one!

Choose the ones that will work best for you, and start booking all those referral calls!

Continue reading “25 Genius Ways to Keep Referrals Flowing All Year Long”

Selling the Brand of You

BY: Joe Crisara

selling-the-brand-of-you

If you were around in the 80’s like I was, maybe you remember the “generic brand” at your local grocery stores.

I’m talking about the plain white packages with only black block letters and a bar code on them.

Those black block letters spelled out things like BEANS, BEER, COLA… and who could forget LUNCH LOAF.

It’s not the most loafappealing product name, but you could probably argue that “Lunch Loaf” is no less appetizing than the word “Spam.”

A far cry from all the cool brand names and catchy slogans we’re used to, the marketing strategy behind the generic craze back in the day, was simply to be cheap.

That’s it. Low price. That was the only goal, and it was also the only competitive advantage this brand had.

Today the generic brand is gone, but in its place are numerous private label store brands. And if you asked most consumers, you’d find that the majority of them believe that their local grocer’s  “private label” store brand is of equal if not better quality than the national brand.

Many recent studies have shown that private label products are growing at a steady pace, and in the grocery business, private label brands now account for a lion’s share of the grocery business.

Think about how you shop. When you buy eggs, do you feel like you have to buy a major brand? Or are you just as happy with the store brand? If you’re like most people, you’re perfectly happy to buy the eggs with your local store’s logo on it instead of the national brand.  In fact, because it’s local it may be MORE trusted as well.

All the egg and lunch loaf conversation aside… you’re probably wondering how this applies to you as a contractor.

The same principles that have turned numerous companies in other industries into profitable private label masters can also be applied to service contractors. Continue reading “Selling the Brand of You”

The Top 5 Qualities of Super-Successful Contractors, Techs, and Salespeople

BY: Joe Crisara

salespeople

Stop selling equipment!

That’s right… cut it out.

I mean, you’re still going to sell equipment, but you need to totally change the way you look at it. It’s not your main product. Not anymore. Not if you want to thrive in this business.

In my last article I told you about commoditization, the REAL villain in the contracting industry, which is the reason for so many of our brethren’s financial struggles.

The products you sell at your business have become no different than a gallon of gas to the general public because they have tons of different places they can buy those exact products (or similar products) from.

And how does the general public decide where to buy gas? The go wherever it’s the cheapest.

If you continue to have the mindset that you sell equipment and parts for a living, you’ll be forced to continue to play “the lowest bidder” game and struggle financially as a result.

So is that just the way it is in this business these days? Should you just suck it up and accept it as the new normal?

Oh, hell no.

If you’re willing to make the change, I can tell you how to fix this problem.

It’s all about shifting your mindset from selling equipment to selling service. Continue reading “The Top 5 Qualities of Super-Successful Contractors, Techs, and Salespeople”

Total Immersion 2-Day Advanced Class

BY: Julie Crisara

Remember, before you can attend the 2-day advanced training you have to be a graduate of the 3-day basic training prior to attending.  You can do this all in one week or by taking the basic training first and then return when you’re ready at anytime in the future.

Continue reading “Total Immersion 2-Day Advanced Class”

Your Most Marketable Skill

BY: Joe Crisara

A Daunting Task

Recently I was approached by Bob Clary from www.webucator.com about my thoughts on what is a job-seeker’s most marketable skill. I really thought that was an interesting question. Let’s face it, today’s media is full of stories about people who have invested in their education only to be faced with the daunting task of finding employment. There are always excuses why someone can’t find a job but for every story of frustration and failure there are also stories about those who stopped giving in to the popular excuses and found a way to breakthrough and find the job of their dreams.   Continue reading “Your Most Marketable Skill”

Service Super Summit Party Rockers Flash Mob

BY: Joe Crisara

Surprise Flash Mob

This is how we opened the 2014 Service Super Summit in San Antonio, Texas on March 5th, 2014. I wonder what was going through the minds of the 154 hvac, plumbing & electrical service contractors who came to the event looking for information on increasing their level of service, revenue and profit. Part of the “mob” were sitting at tables mixed in with the group and then just started to get up and start dancing. It was a wild opener that set the tine for the most fun I have ever had at an event for service contractors.