September 25, 2014
The Internet is prime real estate for your marketing and branding efforts. So why not take advantage? Your website says a lot about the kind of business you run, so it’s important to keep an up-to-date site for easy user access and a seamless experience.
Here are a few vital components your website must have to be valuable.
- Working links: When you have an embedded link on your website, it needs to go somewhere. There is nothing more frustrating to a user than clicking on a link that goes to an error page. Go through your website frequently to check links and remove or edit those that don’t work or are outdated to keep from losing potential customers.
- Social media icons: The location of your social media icons is vital to the success of your online engagement with your customers. Be sure to put social media icons at the top of the website, where they are easy to see and use icons that are large enough they don’t get passed over.
- Updated content: I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your information up to date. New owners? New phone number? When your contact information is incorrect, you lose business. When your “about us” page is outdated, you lose credibility.
- Brand consistency: If your business has a certain style or a specific color scheme, stick to it and be consistent throughout your entire site and social media profiles. It’s disconcerting when the home page looks a certain way and a sister page looks completely different.
- Face of the company: Customers like to associate a brand with a relatable face like the company founder, the owner’s wife or children, even the company dog. Put a picture of this person at the top of your homepage to promote a company beyond automated customer service and impersonal phone interactions.
Don’t lose business because your website looks like it was built decades ago. Update your website today using these five vital components and drive more traffic to your company. Visit DaveNet.com for additional tips and tricks to liven up your business online.
September 23, 2014
As I always like to say, a prepared company is a successful company. If you put in the time it takes to prepare for a service or sales call, that little bit of “above and beyond” can really grab the attention of your customer and benefit your company in the long run.
I sat down with HVAC Learning Solutions trainer Eric Andrews to gather some tips for preparing before you head out into the field. Here are three pre-call planning tips you should institute across your company today.
- Make sure everyone is on the same page. Andrews says, “The sales person might have a dedicated sales process that contradicts the sales tactics of the technician or customer service rep, which doesn’t look very professional in the customer’s eyes and leads to them possibly having doubts or a lack of trust or confidence with the company.”
- Perform both a phone and email confirmation. The reason Andrews says both phone and email confirmations are important is because an email will lead them straight to the most important resources they need (and might not know it,). Andrews also suggests using a service like MailChimp or Constant Contact for a professional-looking email template that includes:
- A background or bio about the company
- A background or bio about the sales person servicing the home, including their photo and a photo of their vehicle so the customer can get acquainted with the sales advisor before they arrive.
- Appointment and address confirmation
- Link to third-party articles and websites that talk about best practices in the HVAC industry (as long as they are practiced in your dealership IE: load calculations, proper size of equipment, etc.)
- A link to financing so the sales advisor can know if the customer is pre-approved for financing before coming to the home.
- Know the neighborhood and the home. “We tend to not use technology to the fullest in our industry,” Andrews says. “I would recommend looking up the customer’s address online and it will come up on Zillow, Trulia, or even your local tax adjusters website. There’s all kinds of public data and records to help you understand the customers home better, like the layout, square footage, and number of rooms. That way, when you go into the house, it looks like you’ve done a little bit of research and gives you a little credibility.”
A little bit of research, prep time, and effort goes a long way in making and closing the sale. Talk with your peers, confirm appointments, give the customer informational resources, and do a little research to turn your customer’s experience from an A to an A+.
My goal is to bring the best tips and resources available online in the service industry straight to you every day. To get more information on sales, dealer tips, products and HVAC trends visit me on Facebook, Twitter, or on our blog at www.hvacls.com/blog.
September 18, 2014
Defining SEER for a new hire or even a customer can be a challenge. But have you ever considered comparing it to a vehicle’s MPG? The expert educators at HVAC Learning Solutions break down the in’s and out’s of SEER in the most recent edition of Cool Facts.
For more tips on defining HVAC industry terms such as SEER, visit HVAC Learning Solutions on Facebook.
September 16, 2014
Customers are better and more informed than they have ever been. They’re technologically savvier and have more questions. Purchasing in the 21st century has changed, but have no fear — you can adapt to today’s consumer in these four simple tips:
1. Once a customer recognizes the need, they usually start with an information search. This used to mean hitting the yellow pages. Now, it means social media and the Internet. They will search for their provider by reading online reviews and posting queries to their friends on social media outlets like Facebook or Twitter. You can increase your online presence and raise visibility by maintaining social media pages and encouraging customers to review your business.
2. The modern customer does their research. Once they consult with you, they will research not only what you recommended, but what you quoted. They will study the cost of various products and they will often want to negotiate services. Be able to back up your quotes, and in the cases where negotiation is an option, continue training in sales techniques that can help fine-tune those skills.
3. Once you’ve sold the service and the product, expect more involvement from your customers during the installation process. Now that they have a better understanding of the products themselves, they will engage more in the process by asking questions and specifications on their new technology, like model number and recent technology updates. Be ready for this by always being prepared with the latest information and resources for that product or service.
4. When a job is completed, you can expect to hear if the customer is happy with your work. People are quick to review and voice their experience, so it’s important to be professional throughout the job, since a customer will be just as likely to report a good experience as they will a bad one.
The importance of forming good, lasting relationships with your customers is invaluable. From making the customer feel good about their new purchase to giving them the information a modern-day customer craves, be sure to invest time in the customer experience, as your sale today affects your business tomorrow.
Need assistance prepping your techs and sales people for today’s consumer? Check out HVAC Learning classes BuildATech® and BuildASalesperson™ at www.hvacls.com and enroll today!
September 11, 2014
Training is a huge component for success in this industry. When hiring new technicians, you no doubt have a checklist of the skills they should possess, and which are “must-haves” versus “trainable.” Finding the right fit can be hard, but as an employer, you need to know how to recruit employees that will become the foundation of your team. Here are the two main applicants you’ll likely find in the hiring process.
Applicants new to the industry
You might feel discouraged because this applicant is still “green,” but what other qualities do they have? If you have someone with enthusiasm for the job, good communication skills, and strong references, you might have someone who will be a long-term winner for you. You can train someone with these attributes and they will prove themselves in the work they do and the way they jump at the opportunities available to them for improvement. You cannot teach a strong work ethic, but you can recognize it even when a career is just starting out.
Applicants who have been in the business for years
You might think this applicant will have everything on your list — and some will — but look closer. You wouldn’t ask the same questions of an experienced tech that you would of an inexperienced one, and you shouldn’t interview them same way, either. Review their employment history thoroughly and address their previous training. You’ll want to have something to offer them that will make them want to bring their experience to your business. You will also want to be sure that a strong work ethic is present, and that that they aren’t relying on experience over proven training like HVAC Learning Solutions’ in-person and online classes.
The best way to recruit is to be up front about your needs, open-minded to new talent that might trump years of experience, and on the lookout for experienced applicants who could add great experience to your business. Asking the right questions, varying your approach, and knowing what intangibles to look for can help you build a solid team.
What are the key traits you look for when hiring new technicians? Share them with us on Twitter at @HVACLearning.