CASE STUDY: From Struggle To Success

BY: Joe Crisara

This is a 10 minute video of Rodney Koop talking about the struggles he went through as a service contractor and what lead him to eventual success.

To watch the entire 30 minute video, login as a member of ContractorSelling.com

CASE STUDY: Heartache on the Way to Success

BY: Joe Crisara

It’s A Family Affair

Most people identify “Mom and Pop” shops for their welcoming charm. Yet despite a reputation for exuding a comfortable feeling, many end up closing their doors. Whether the challenge is big-box competitors, an economic slump or limited resources, making ends meet can be tough. But for Precision Air-Conditioning of Memphis, Tenn., the family business figured out the secret to staying open for 37 years and counting.

Just as individuals have a story, so do businesses. Ten years ago, asking Kathe Stewart if she would ever work in the family business would have resulted in a firm “no.” As a practicing lawyer, she never imagined she would one day be chief operations officer of her father’s air-conditioning company.

But in 2002, an unfortunate event changed the course of her life and the direction of her father’s company. Continue reading “CASE STUDY: Heartache on the Way to Success”

Multitasking: The Enemy Within

BY: Joe Crisara

Multi-tasking Friend or Foe?

It really bothers me when I hear people say that they are good multitaskers. I hear this all the time, especially when I am interviewing perspective employees. How could everyone be good at multitasking? I’m not, and I consider myself to be an intelligent person. So needless to say, I was quite thrilled when I found out that new research had shown that our brains were not meant to do more than two things at a time — and certainly not with any real efficiency. This past week, I did a little research on the productivity of multitasking and found I was not alone in my beliefs. I discovered several interesting studies that backed up what I had already suspected. Continue reading “Multitasking: The Enemy Within”

Are Your Solutions Tailor Made?

BY: Joe Crisara

Talk About Procrastinating

Two weeks until my sister’s wedding, and I hadn’t had my bridesmaid dress altered yet. I admit that I am a procrastinator, but this was ridiculous even for me.

To be honest, I was not looking forward to wearing the dress. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful dress. It was long, a flowing, raspberry-colored gown with a strapless bodice and a few rhinestones adorning the middle that connected two ends to a sheer piece of material that bustled around the back of the dress. It was gorgeous on the model wearing it online. Once I tried it on, though, I quickly realized that a strapless dress was not meant for my body type and thus the reason I was not looking forward to wearing the dress. And now we were only two weeks away from the wedding day, and I needed a miracle worker.

I decided to ask a friend for a referral. She had lived in the area all her life and quickly recommended a woman on 12th street in Paso Robles. Joe and I drove over to the shop first thing in the morning only to be greeted by a sign saying they were not open until 11am. “OK,” I said. “We’ll come back at lunch.”

At lunch time, Joe drove me to the shop again and dropped me off in front of the store while he went to find a parking space. I quickly walked inside with my dress hanging from my arms to find a young woman at her sewing machine while an elderly woman appeared from behind a curtain and greeted me with a coarse and irritated, “Can I help you?” Continue reading “Are Your Solutions Tailor Made?”

10 Things You Should Never Micromanage

BY: Julie Crisara

By Darren Dahl

Hey, go-getter. Yes, you could do it all, but there are times it’s best to step back and stop stifling your team’s productivity and creativity.

By their very nature, entrepreneurs are doers. While other people may scheme or dream up ideas, entrepreneurs prefer to take action. That’s how companies are born. The rub, however, is that the drive to do things can often become a hindrance for an entrepreneur over time. “As companies grow, many entrepreneurs have trouble moving from the doing phase to the leading phase,” says Stephen Harvill, founder of Creative Ventures, a consulting company in Dallas, Texas. “It’s understandable since many times the small business person did just about everything to get the business started. But, as the business grows, they don’t shift their mindset from doing to leading.” In other words, many entrepreneurs get stuck micromanaging tasks that should be delegated to others inside or even outside the company.

A case in point is Mike Faith, CEO of Headsets.com, an online retailer based in San Francisco, who says that giving up doing things can be like breaking a bad habit. “Many entrepreneurs have an addiction to making sure things get done ‘just right'” and there’s no reason to give that up, says Faith. “That’s often how they became successful, by having higher standards to get things right than others around them, sometimes even obsessive standards. I’m one of those people.”

The truth is, however, the more a CEO micromanages his staff and subordinates, the less productive everyone becomes – which can lead to a death spiral for a nascent enterprise. The answer, then, is to hire the kinds of people you can trust to get the job done all on their own. “Employees need to be given responsibility and continually challenged to grow so that their jobs do not become routine and so that they personally feel invested in their role and the organization as a whole,” says Ryan Peterson, founder and CEO of OCZ Technology in San Jose, California. “It is important to start delegating tasks immediately and just as critical to make sure that the right tasks are begin delegated.”

In that spirit, Inc. asked dozens of entrepreneurs and small business experts to list what they thought were the top 10 items that, despite every temptation to do so, they should not micromanage. Here’s how they responded, in no particular order:

Continue reading “10 Things You Should Never Micromanage”

Some Managers “Tired” Of Being The Boss

BY: Joe Crisara

“Tired” Of Being The Boss

I know I may be dating myself but I remember an old Randy Newman song called “My Life” in which Randy in the song, speaking in the voice of Bruce Springsteen utters these words that still ring in my ears. He sang, “Randy, I’m tired of being the boss. Can you be the boss for awhile?”

Being the boss is difficult and especially so regarding managing sales people or front-line employees who have been given the chore of listening to customer problems that clients have and then selling the solutions. Of course in the service world, problems are just opportunities to serve.

Over the years I have observed a few characteristics of the mediocre sales manager. These people are definitely “tired” of being the boss and it shows through their ineffective styles of management which leads to poor results by their people. Here we begin to explore why these managers are so tired. Continue reading “Some Managers “Tired” Of Being The Boss”

Has The Word Service Become Generic?

BY: Julie Crisara

Last month, from my home in Templeton, Calif., I planned a wedding shower for my sister and future brother-in-law, who live in the Chicagoland area. As I started to make all the necessary phone calls to find a venue, caterer, flowers and so on, I quickly realized that even in a down economy, some companies just never get it when it comes to providing good service. Had the word service become generic like Kleenex or Jell-O?

I called various companies and explained this was the first wedding shower I had ever planned for my one and only baby sister, that I wanted it to be very special and, well, perfect. Continue reading “Has The Word Service Become Generic?”

Fashion Meets Function In Home Energy Improvements

BY: Joe Crisara

Watch this funny video on “Confessions of A Boiler Room Junkie” by Gwendolyn Bounds of the Wall Street Journal. Then read her article on how more and more consumers are doing “mechanical makeovers” when it comes to their residential heating and cooling home improvement needs by clicking on the link below the image.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704862404575350720302248474.html?KEYWORDS=In+the+new+dream+home

Service Contractors Greatest Challenges

BY: Joe Crisara

This is a video of some our ContractorSelling.com members sharing their stories about the greatest challenges facing service contractors today. Watch this fascinating segment of how keeping an open mind can change your life.

The Art Of The Sale Lesson One

BY: Joe Crisara

Watch this funny video about a sales manager who is trying to describe the most important aspects of selling his service. Although it is hilarious. I think many sales managers can find some of themselves here.

Step 3: Addition By Subtraction

BY: Joe Crisara

Addition by Subtraction

I recently spent a rainy Saturday afternoon watching a show called “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” I really didn’t have time to sit and watch TV but I couldn’t stop watching. Once I was able to get a peak into what looked like your everyday average person’s home I found I needed to see more, like watching a train wreck.  Continue reading “Step 3: Addition By Subtraction”

It Doesn’t Cost Anything To Listen

BY: Joe Crisara

It Doesn’t Cost Anything To Listen

I love this video of world famous entrepreneur Richard Branson because it illustrates a principle so simple yet so elusive to most business owners in the service contracting industry. The principle is the ability to listen to the ideas of others rather than making assumptions that you think you may already know everything you need to about being successful. Watch the video and contemplate your ability to listen to your employees, customers or others who may give you some clues to be more successful.

Don’t Be Stopped By Sales Terrorists

BY: Joe Crisara

Don’t Be Stopped By Sales Terrorists

I received a call from a service contracting sales person named Fred about a situation he found himself in that really took his confidence down a notch. Fred is the top performer at his company and has achieved a 73% closing rate with a 55% gross margin on his jobs. By all measure of success he was a doing a great job.

Then he had a call where after presenting his customized solutions, his buyer lit the fuse on a sales-bomb and completely devastated Fred. The buyer listened to Fred’s presentation and Continue reading “Don’t Be Stopped By Sales Terrorists”

Plumbing, Electrical & HVAC Student TI Testimonials

BY: Joe Crisara

Total Immersion students who attended a recent HVAC Plumbing & Electrical sales training summit discuss a range of topics starting with their greatest challenge, their expectations from sales training and what they thought of the training and “Uncle Joe.” In the end, everyone is asked to rate the training on a scale of 1 to 10. Watch and enjoy the excitement of these students.

CASE STUDY: The Upturn Guy in a Downturn Time

BY: Joe Crisara

A Time To Be Different

Human nature leads us to follow the crowd because it’s comfortable and, let’s face it, that’s what we do. But when there’s an economic downturn that batters your industry, following the crowd is what you want to avoid. Then it’s time to be different if you don’t want to share the pain of declining sales and profits, says Bill Jones, who with his wife, Deb, owns Jones Service Co. a plumbing , HVAC and electric company that services the Hudson Valley. Continue reading “CASE STUDY: The Upturn Guy in a Downturn Time”

Feed Your Ego Or Your Wallet

BY: Joe Crisara

Your Ego Or Your Wallet

One of the biggest weaknesses ineffective salespeople have is their desire to “look good” in front of their customer. If only this desire to feed the ego was as great as the desire to feed their wallet, life would be very different for these “happy losers.”

A Happy Loser?

I use this term because it perfectly describes the salesperson who is happy to look good even if it means no sale. The need to look smart and sharp to a prospect is more important than getting the result they want. Their success and their income suffer greatly because of it.

So make your choice right here and now. Do you want to Continue reading “Feed Your Ego Or Your Wallet”

Step 2: Making An Office Map

BY: Joe Crisara

Using A Map To Get Around

One of my favorite pastimes is traveling. It doesn’t matter where, I just like to get out of the house and explore new places. As a little girl, my mom would pack some snacks, gather my brother and sister and hop in the car and head off while my dad sat in the navigator seat with his oversized Rand McNally map in hand.

We took many trips over the years, exploring all corners of the country, sometimes more than once. We’ve traveled out east along the coast visiting the Nation’s Capital, the Big Apple and Niagara Falls. We’ve been out west stopping to see the Corn Palace, Wal-Drug, Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. We drove through the Redwoods (literally through a redwood tree) and down the coast to Big Sur. We saw Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon and a re-enactment of the OK Corral in Tombstone, AZ. I’ve been to Disneyland and Disney World many times over, all along my dad carrying his trusty map. Continue reading “Step 2: Making An Office Map”

What Does Tentatively Mean To You?

BY: Joe Crisara

What Does Tentative Mean?

Once in a while there’s a subject that crosses the boundaries between sales and customer service that Joe and I fight over who actually get’s to blog about it. Today I won.

We are busy people, as I am sure the rest of you are too. We have been so busy around here lately that we decided we needed an extra set of hands to help with some of the daily chores and hired a woman from My Girl Friday. Colette. She’s awesome! Continue reading “What Does Tentatively Mean To You?”

Having a Turnover Problem?

BY: Joe Crisara

Negative Talk- The Language Of Losers (1)The Problem of Turnover

One of the first questions I always ask new clients who are struggling to get control of their salespeople and increase their results is a very easy one to answer.

Here is the question…

Of the last 10 salespeople to leave, how many of them quit and how many were dismissed or as I like to say “de-hired?”

 

When I listen to sales managers answer that question, I don’t only listen for the words they tell me but also watch how hard it is for them to access this information.

If a sales manager takes a long time to answer because they can’t remember the last time a sales person left the company, I know they have a turn-over problem.

Not enough, turn-over that is. Continue reading “Having a Turnover Problem?”