The above video clip always makes me burst out in laughter. Do you remember when the TV show “Seinfeld” was a huge hit on NBC’s “Must-See TV” every Thursday? I have probably watched every episode at least 2 or 3 times. The one episode that really stands out for me more than all the others is the episode where George Costanza decides he’s going to do the opposite of what he would normally do. The episode was called “Opposite George.” Continue reading “George Costanza School Of Contracting Success”→
Many people doubt the validity of getting referrals as an actual mix of their marketing. By accident, many people get referred by customers that love them. So let’s face it, referrals start by doing great service that people notice. In my thinking, if you can make something happen on accident, then you can make it happen on purpose.
As usual, the reason something doesn’t work is usually screwed up in the beginning not at the point the problem is apparent. Let me go over the most effective way to get referrals. The key to getting a hot referral is to let the customer know you need their help. We all want to help someone. Think about it, if your landscaper told you he needed help getting more business, if you loved his service, wouldn’t you tell everyone you knew? Continue reading “Referral IQ Test – Do You Pass?”→
There is an important question that owners and sales manager’s in a successful contracting business ask themselves before engaging in training, coaching or accountability activities.
Here is that question…
“Do I have the right person?”
The difference between mediocre and champion caliber sales managers lies in their willingness to ask this question of every employee, themselves included at any time. The mediocre manager falls in love with the personality of the people they manage and assumes things will turn around eventually.
The winning manager never assumes that the person who they manage hasn’t changed to the point where they might not be a fit with the team any longer. In essence they are asking if the employee is capable of performing the skills and techniques that make up their sales system. Furthermore, if they do have those skills are they willing to take action by using them with a potential buyer? Continue reading “16 DNA Markers Of Top Performers”→
Ralph who is one of the senior techs working at an hvac, plumbing and electrical service business suddenly blurted out a question to his boss, “Hey Bill, where’s Jimmy? I haven’t seen him for a couple weeks now.”
Ralph was referring to one of the newer techs who joined the company about a year ago. “I think he’s on vacation, right Bill?” said Karen who is one of the CSR’s at the firm. Bill, who has owned the company for 29 years set the record straight, “No, we had to lay him off two months ago when it got real slow.”
Bill of course was just being nice. What he didn’t say was that Jimmy was a dispensable employee. He failed to add enough value to the team, his customers and the bottom line to even keep himself employed, much less to be considered a star player. Continue reading “The “Dispensable” Service Person”→
Legend has it that, at the turn of the 20th century, the Chicago department store magnate Marshall Field instructed his salespeople that the customer is always right. Coincidentally, across the Atlantic, French hotelier César Ritz was telling his staff, “Le client n’a jamais tort”—“The customer is never wrong.”
So, for the last century, purveyors of products and services have grappled with the implications of these pronouncements that have become deeply ingrained in the consciousness of their customers. The problem is electrical contractors sometimes must decide when and how to tell the customer he or she is not necessarily exactly right.
“The customer is generally right about wanting to get an electrical project completed or a problem solved but probably not right about what information has to be exchanged and how the job should proceed,” said Joe Crisara, president of consulting firm ContractorSelling.com. “A given customer calls in an electrician perhaps once every five years or more, but an electrical contractor is handling 400 to 800 calls a year. So who is most likely to know the right way to make a sales call successful and get the project moving in the right direction?”
We are using this as a caricature or “over-exaggeration” to point out some of the things that service techs do by accident. They may not even realize they are doing them until seeing how obvious it is in the film.
Things such as not having a solutions ready before you begin telling people the problems they have are subtle things that many may not notice even when they watch.
Other obvious things like allowing service techs to pick their own wardrobe or going out to the truck to figure things out can look like “amateur night” to the customer. You don’t think techs talk on the cell phone about personal business like “canasta night?” Go to a job with a few installers and you will be shocked at the personal business being conducted during normal working hours.
I do ride-a-longs and what I see is a fact of life and a day-to-day struggle to get techs to see how important it is to do good service. Maybe when they see what bad service looks like they will be sure not to commit these mistakes.
Many times I asked at conferences about what brand of equipment I prefer. For me that is an easy question and one that I answer the same way every single time.I feel the absolute best brand is YOU the contractor.
The best equipment will not last very long if it installed with an inadequate air distribution system, fuel delivery system, electrical system, water delivery or drainage system, combustion removal system and refrigerant transfer system.
In fact when a customers asks me, “How much are the parts for this job?” I always tell them that the parts are free. When a customer does business with a service contractor the product they are purchasing is SERVICE not the materials or equipment. Continue reading “Selling The Brand Of You”→
Maintenance or service agreements are the lifeblood of every hvac, plumbing or electrical service company that is in business today. In a nutshell, they formalize the relationship between clients and your company. Agreements allow you a loyal base of fans that not only want to receive your marketing message but actually read this massage as well.
The carnage created by not having such agreements in place can cost you in many ways. Loss of clients and employees are just the beginning. Without service agreements to supply a steady “lifeblood” of loyal, returning clients it can eventually create an environment where companies can go out of business. Basically this program to sell service for the future at today’s price in exchange for payment today creates a circulation of cash needed to run every business that does service for residential or commercial clientele. Continue reading “Agreements Are Lifeblood Of Any Service Company”→
Have you ever watched a football or baseball team where the coach or manager refused to look at the truth?
Unless your favorite team recently won the championship, it is likely that your team currently has this issue. Perhaps the coach of your team has fallen in love with some of his favorite players because he personally drafted them in a higher round. Or maybe the player has performed particularly well in the past for this coach and helped to win a championship in past years.Whatever the reason, he desperately wants them to succeed and now this refusal to look at the truth straight on becomes toxic. Continue reading “Looking At The Truth Straight On”→
To me, the definition of selling is to provide a solution that is directly “on code” with solving a problem your customer has. Basically if you provide solutions that are more like a laser beam than a shotgun, your buyer feels you know their situation better than your competitor and so they feel inclined to purchase from you.
To find exactly what people need and want, you have to understand how they think. Most people in the service business are “out of balance” in this regard. What I mean is that 90% of the attention they spend is on diagnosing technical issues and not on diagnosing the family or people who live in the home. Continue reading “Be a Student Of Buyers To Find “Right Code””→
In this day and age of hundreds of TV channels to watch as well as internet videos, I have found a particular show that I run across every now and then. I must say that this television series really fascinates my wife Julie and I. The show that I am talking about is called the “Dog Whisperer” and it features a gentleman whose name is Cesar Millan. This man who has a such a “magic touch” with our canine friends came, from humble beginnings growing up in Mexico before he eventually transformed into the mega-star he is today. He counts people like Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith as some of his closest friends.
(Templeton, Calif.) Leading HVACR sales trainer, entrepreneur and co-founder of contractorselling.com, Julie Crisara has joined Women in HVACR. Women in HVACR was established to improve the lives of members by providing professional avenues to connect with other women growing their careers in the HVACR industry. The organization strives to empower women to succeed through networking opportunities, mentoring and education. Continue reading “Julie Crisara Joins Women in HVACR”→
Whenever I work with sales managers who are failing, I notice that they all talk about the immediate issues going on with their salespeople and are looking for the “quick fix” or “silver bullet” answer from me.
Most of them have given up and think they have already thought of everything. The one thing they haven’t thought of is to zoom out and look at the big picture, which includes their own behavior and how it contributes or even causes an issue to occur. Continue reading “The “Silver Bullet” of Sales”→
Have you ever felt drained after a heated conversation with your buyer, boss or colleague after trying to convince them that your point of view was the correct way of seeing things? That feeling of being drained is an indication that you were too attached to the outcome and that you lost your focus on trying to understand the other persons point of view.
It is easy to become emotionally involved in the outcome of your sales results, but is it really effective? In short, the answer is no. Sales should be emotional for the buyer but not for you the seller. If you try to hard to “sell” people on your way of thinking it comes off as desperate, pathetic and self-centered. As a sales professional you must retain your credibility and give your buyer the impression that you could live without the sale. Continue reading “Detach From the Outcome”→
Fear can disable the best of us. Many times the fear we face in service and sales situations start to make us create assumptions that lead us to dysfunctional behaviors. Sometimes the fear begins with finding a huge problem that the customer didn’t expect on a typical call. The problem is viewed as small or routine by the client but after you diagnose the whole system you find the problem is bigger than anyone anticipated. The fear that the client may think you are trying to sell them something they don’t need may paralyze some into covering up the problem instead of solving it.
Indeed service or sales people who fear things like the economy, high prices, their ability to sell, close or handle objections usually blame the fear itself which stops them in their tracks, instead of trying to sculpt an effective response to it. Continue reading “Using Fear As a Barometer”→