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.
September 9, 2014
You are the face of your business. You can have the strongest reputation in town for your experience and know-how, but if your techs don’t look the part, it’s definitely affecting your bottom line. Getting dusty and dirty comes with the job, so maintaining a professional look can be tough, but it can be done. Here are some tips I’ve gathered on how to look professional, even after a long, hot day on the job.
First impressions are everything.
Got a uniform you wear at work? Keep it pressed and clean. Obviously, it won’t stay that way during the day, but by arriving looking pulled together, you’ve made the right first impression. If you know you have several appointments in a day, consider keeping an extra shirt and pair of pants ready to go in your work truck or locker at the office.
Be the person you would want in your own home.
Keep a comb, facial wipes, and hand wipes in your glove compartment. By giving your hair a quick comb-through, and cleaning the previous job off your face and hands, you will literally be putting your best face forward. Be sure to leave the home in the same condition it was before you arrived. Check your shoes before walking up to the front door. If they are soiled, wear disposable shoe covers to show the customer that you respect their home as much as they do.
Body language is key.
How do you walk into a room? How do you introduce yourself to the customer? Think of each customer interaction like a job interview. Present yourself with confidence, charisma, and be aware of your posture throughout your service call.
Invest in yourself.
Work clothes take a beating in this industry, so be sure to regularly update or replace your uniform. Just remember, if you look messy or cheap, your customers might assume the same thing about your products or your service.
Up the ante with a professional look from the way you dress to the way you present yourself when you walk in the customer’s door. The care you take makes a huge difference and can result in a huge payoff for just a little extra TLC.
For more tips on improving your bottom line, visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hvaclearning.
September 4, 2014
There’s no denying it — we love the HVAC industry. But what makes this job, market, and technology so fascinating and rewarding? We asked two industry professionals to give us their thoughts on why they love HVAC.
Meet Michael Goater, residential installer turned sales trainer for HVAC Learning Solutions. Goater explains that he lives by the motto “no one said it would be easy, but everyone says it’s worth it,” and projects that mantra onto his HVAC students daily.
“I love working with my hands,” Goater says. “That sense of accomplishment, when you can go in and solve somebody’s problem…and then look back and admire what you’ve just done and take pride in that.”
Goater also says the fast-paced evolution of the industry is another thing that keeps him passionate about HVAC.
“Let’s face it, not only has the technology changed — the customer has changed dramatically in the past years because of the Internet and their access to information,” Goater says. “You’re the expert. You have to stay in front of that. It’s fun, challenging, and always pushes you to grow.”
Jon Powell, Regional Sales Manager for Service Experts, says what drives him in the HVAC industry is coaching and mentoring fellow HVAC people to achieve putting the human element back into the day-to-day operations.
“Now more than ever people really want to engage with other people,” Powell says. ”What is taught in the tech schools is pure technology but people miss the human quality. Being an effective communicator in this business is equally important as being technically sound.”
From the challenge of evolving technology to the importance of adding the human element back into the job, passions for the HVAC industry are limitless. Tell us what drives you in the industry on our Twitter at www.twitter.com/HVACLearning.