August 21, 2014

Three Ways to Perfect How You SPIN

handshakeAs experts in sales, we’re always trying to come up with new and better ways to push our products and services. The SPIN method is the latest and greatest way to uncover your customer’s explicit needs through a series of in-depth questions. Here are three ways you can perfect your SPIN technique:

  1. Confidence: When you ask in-depth questions, ask them with an air of confidence. Let the customer see that you know what you’re talking about, and that you will not falter. Nobody buys from a poorly prepared salesman.
  2. Concentration: Holding the customer’s focus is vital. Look the customer in the eyes and make sure they feel like they’re the center of your attention. Eye contact and being a little animated is a way to keep them physically attentive, while asking your quality of comfort questions keeps them mentally engaged.
  3. Practice: To achieve success using the SPIN method, practice your presentation and mock questions with a spouse, neighbor, or co-worker to prepare yourself for your moment with the customer. You only have a few minutes to convince them to buy your product, so you want to be polished and prepared.

Take the time to think through and practice these strategies before your next conversation with a potential buyer. With these tips in mind, your sales process should greatly improve.

What are some of the ways you’ve enriched the SPIN method? Tell us about them on our Facebook page.

 

August 19, 2014

Did You Really Make a Profit?

ProfitsBy Dave Nichols

Balancing your books at the end of the quarter or year may seem like a daunting task. You review your numbers and ask yourself – did I really make a profit? What about taxes? Employee benefits? Downtime for your technicians? Even though your initial numbers are in the black, you might be missing the small aspects of owning a business that crucially determine your actual profit or loss.

So where do you start? First, plug your numbers into this basic formula.

Revenue – Expenses = X – Corporate Income Tax and Bank Interest = Loss or Gain.  

Simply put, you have to earn enough money after all your expenses to cover income tax and interest from the bank; if you’re still in the black you’ve still made money. Easy enough, right? Unfortunately, your initial calculation might be missing some of the finer details.

Here’s a list of finances you may have forgotten to include while calculating your profit:

  • Corporate taxes – The U.S. has the highest rate of corporate income tax in the world at 39.1 percent. Make sure your margins include a rough estimate (about 50 percent) to cover your income tax costs.
  • Benefits – Don’t forget the cost of benefits when estimating your overall expenses. Add another 25 percent to your employee’s hourly rate to calculate the real cost of employment.
  • Missed opportunity — If the service department is running a lot of no charge calls such as warranty and callbacks, then you are losing revenue opportunity and all of that potential revenue would fall to the bottom line. Another source of profit leakage can be in travel time if it’s not properly managed to be held to a minimum such as sending a tech from one side of town to the other when there is already a tech in the neighborhood.

It’s crucial to stay on top of your numbers and look at the big picture when it comes to figuring out your total loss or gain. For more small business financial tips, visit the HVAC Learning solutions blog at HVACLS.com/blog.

August 14, 2014

Certification and Credentials to Take Your Business to the Next Level

Cerification and credentialsIf you’ve trained with HVAC Learning Solutions before, or if you’ve read some of our previous blog posts, you know I’m a big believer in getting techs NATE certified. The benefits to you and your employees is invaluable, but do you know what NATE-certifications, as well as other acquired credentials, can do for your business overall? These stats aren’t always well known, but should be for business owners.

1. Seven out of eight homeowners prefer that NATE-certified technicians service their home.* Customer satisfaction is more likely when they are confident in your abilities to begin with. Having well-known and reputable certifications help ease a homeowners concern.

2. The more training you have, the more cost-effective it is for your business.* For example, NATE-certified technicians tend to do the job right the first time, resulting in reduced expenses in warranty and callback visits.

3. Continued education, plus the achievement and maintenance of certifications, results in increased experience and a continued pursuit of self-improvement.* An employee who seeks out ways to improve themselves professionally also improves your business by increasing the overall years of experience employed by the company.

4. NATE certified technicians are highly regarded and considered “extremely valuable” employees.* Given that they have fewer callbacks, less warranty expense, greater billing efficiency, and are more experienced… Well, that’s exactly what they are.

5. For manufacturers, additional certifications and education often means less expenses dealing with unnecessary returns of equipment and parts stemming from lack of knowledge on the technician’s part. This saves money all around and fosters better business relationships with dealers and consumers alike.

Additional business credentials and certifications, particularly NATE certifications, not only benefit the technician, but the business as whole, including the consumer. It’s well worth the time of the technician and rewards everyone in the long run.

HVAC Learning Solutions’ BuildATech training program gives trainees the chance to become NATE certified with a 96% pass rate. For more information visit http://hvacls.com/BAT.htm

*Source: https://www.serviceroundtable.com/freebies/viewfreebie.asp?PCID=1469

August 12, 2014

Stop the Bleeding: Losing Good Employees

Stop the Bleeding: Losing Good Employees | HVAC Learning Solutions

We are in a highly competitive industry. You stay on top of advancements, you hire good employees, but how do you keep them? If you’re having a problem with employee retention, do some troubleshooting to “stop the bleeding,” and create an environment that helps your employees grow and flourish.

1. Identify the problem.

They say the first step is the hardest, and it’s true here. If you just ask your employees outright, it could get tense, but you can investigate without intimidation with a blind survey. Your employees may feel more comfortable alerting you to issues anonymously. Another non-intimidating tactic is to hold an exit interview with employees who are leaving to ask them questions about their experience and get their suggestions for improvement.

2. Invest in your employees and create opportunities for advancement.

This can be a leap of faith for a business owner, but identifying and encouraging talent and providing continuing education inspires employees and creates loyalty. Promote classes/seminars, and inform employees of the professional benefits. You can also inspire by making continuing education a priority for yourself. Consider what you have to offer in terms of growth and advancement. Do not underestimate the power of promotion.

3. Offer incentives and have some fun.

A little healthy competition can be a good thing. Offering sales incentives, rewards, or just-for-fun contests can be a great way to improve morale. Relaxing as a group and listening to your employees blow off steam can give you invaluable insight.

Show your employees that you care by listening to their concerns, inspiring them to advance, and creating a team atmosphere. You’ll see improvements in employee retention and an overall boost in company morale.

Inspire your team to keep learning; invest in training from HVAC Learning Solutions.

August 7, 2014

Years of experience doesn’t equal success

Years of experience | HVACLSWhen you’ve been in the industry for years, or even decades, it can feel like you’ve encountered it all. But just as technological advances mean we frequently have to re-learn the products we know so well, the same holds true for salesmanship and sales techniques.

Make your experience work for you, not against you.

Being a long-time expert and making the sale requires a kind of finesse. When you are discussing a system or the reasons for recommending a service, you want to be clear,  simple and knowledgeable, without talking down to your customers or sounding intimidating. Take a look at your numbers, and if they’re lower than you’d like, re-consider your presentation. Maybe it’s time to refresh your sales techniques.

Be humble and keep learning.

The greatest minds are those that are open to new information and advances in their areas of expertise. This means letting other experts teach you. Giving the benefit of the doubt to a sales expert who may have fewer years in the business under his belt can be hard, but understand they aren’t trying to teach you what you already know, but rather a stronger skill set for selling the products you know inside and out.

Continuing your education in the advances of sales leadership is just as important as continuing your technological education in the product. If you take the experience you’ve accumulated over the years and combine it with strong communication skills and up-to-date sales techniques, you’ll reap endless benefits.

Looking to advance your selling skills? Meet the challenges of todays selling environment with MasterSelling training by HVAC Learning Solutions. 

  • Meet Mike Moore

    Mike Moore isn't just an HVAC expert;
    he also knows a thing or two about
    HVAC employee training. As one of
    HVAC Learning Solutions founders
    and Director of Training, his biggest
    goal is to help HVAC leaders and
    technicians grow their business
    and build lasting skills. This
    University of Kansas grad has
    a contagious personality, a lot
    of knowledge, and a knack for
    providing HVAC training
    and development.