March 25, 2015
It was once rumored that a popular fast-food chain had a unique process for hiring and promoting their managers. Before being hired as an upper-level manager or supervisor, the candidate was asked to work each position they would be managing in order to understand the ins and outs of each position.
The idea of having each candidate spend the day “walking in the shoes of others” so to speak, is an interesting one that I believe the HVAC industry could benefit from greatly because like the fast-food industry, HVAC businesses also follow a linear progression from one job to the next. From HVAC technician to HVAC dealer, the progression from one position to the next follows a pretty familiar path as the experience builds and builds with each career move up the ladder.
Want to apply this technique to your HVAC company? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- First, start with creating an organizational chart of your company. Outline who reports to whom and the general flow of responsibility. This will help your new hire know exactly where responsibility falls throughout the organization.
- Second, let the entire company know what is expected of them when these opportunities occur. This is an excellent teaching moment but only if everyone is on the same page.
- Finally, facilitate the initial meet and greet between the new manager and the people he or she will be shadowing; then walk away, because this is your new candidate’s moment to shine and establish their role within the company. Their management of this procedure, and, conversely, your employees’ response to their management is something you’ll want to observe, not manage.
From procedures and paperwork to employee names and faces, “walking in someone else’s shoes” gives new managers the chance to re-familiarize themselves with each of the various positions reporting to them, ultimately making them better and more efficient leaders.
I offer daily tips on Twitter for dealers, Comfort Advisors, and technicians alike. Follow me at @HVACLearning for insight into today’s trending topics.
March 23, 2015
When the work is finished and the customer has signed on the bottom line, the job is over, right? Wrong. The job is just beginning.
It’s time to deploy the happy call. The term “happy call” refers to the call made by a Comfort Advisor after the job is completed to check on the customer and initiate the customer service checklist.
Happy calls should be made about two to five days after an install. Waiting this period of time is beneficial because it gives the customer the chance to try out the unit’s features and benefits and come up with questions, concerns, and feelings about the unit.
At the two-to-five day mark, a Comfort Advisor should return to the home and complete the following tasks:
In this day-and-age, the customer is relying on word-of-mouth referrals for most of their major purchasing decisions. Using a happy call to execute the above checklist of customer service items can not only help you build the customer’s confidence for a sparkling referral, but also keep them returning season after season.
Linda Rummans is a Senior Instructional Designer for HVAC Learning Solutions.
Linda joined HVACLS in 2005 bringing almost seven years of experience in the HVAC industry and over 11 years of experience in adult learning and training.
March 19, 2015
As the old adage goes, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Well, your sales pitch is no stranger to that frame of mind. Consider giving your sales pitch an extra boost by leading your customer to buying indoor air quality (IAQ) and iComfort products — without being too pushy or sounding too “salesy.” The secret? Lead to a solution, not with a solution.
Instead of leading your pitch with a comment about the latest and greatest IAQ product and its benefits and features, lead with insight about a problem the homeowner may be experiencing or is unaware of.
Some good insight examples include:
- Did you know that pollutants inside the home can trigger asthma and allergies?
- Did you know the inside of your home can be up to 5 times more polluted than the outside of your home, according to the EPA?
- Did you know you could save up to 14 percent on utilities just by programming your thermostat?
Starting with an insight leads to a larger conversation about the customer’s family and their indoor air quality needs, which leads to a solution such as IAQ and iComfort. The more problematic the insight is to the customer, the more eager they will be to find and invest in a solution.
Remember, the value in leading your sales pitch with an insight is you get the homeowner to think about something they haven’t thought about before. You’re not “selling them,” rather, you’re being insightful, helpful, and branding yourself as a person who is there to help them improve the quality and comfort of their life.
Guest blogger Joe Jones is a regional business manager in brand management at Lennox Industries.
March 10, 2015
Name: Rebecca Gempp
Employer: Meacham Heating, Cooling & Energy Solutions
Location: Charlton, Massachusetts
From Master Electrician to First Female Top Tech
Before becoming a student of the HVAC Learning Solutions BuildATech® program in October of 2014, Rebecca Gempp was a Master Electrician, focusing on power/control wiring in the HVAC industry. But when she graduated the Lennox technician program, Gempp achieved a unique accomplishment — on November 21, Gempp became the first female in HVAC Learning Solutions history to receive the Top Tech title.
“I enjoyed every minute of my experience in BuildATech®,” Gempp says.
Gempp says the format of the class, a mix of classroom instruction and practical application, was ideal for her hands-on learning style.
“I’m more of a visual learner and I like to know why,” Gempp says. “We started our class learning in the regular classroom, then in the afternoon we got to apply what we learned, and there was always extra time if I wanted to know why. I could just approach any of the instructors and they gave me the time that I needed.”
Leading the path
As a woman in a male-dominated profession, Gempp hopes that fellow women looking to join the HVAC industry pursue their passion and do so beginning with BuildATech® training.
“I would recommend other women getting into the HVAC industry, especially through this program, because with the instructors and some of the avenues where we could talk to specialists, I received a lot of encouragement,” Gempp says. “I was working hard through the whole program and it was acknowledged — and in a construction industry, you don’t necessarily get that feedback. ”
Confident and inspired, Gempp says she feels as though the education she received from the BuildATech® training course is far greater than some other two-year training courses in the HVAC industry.
“I feel very confident that as soon as I get back home that I could just go in the truck and actually handle a service call,” Gempp says. “I feel I could definitely generate more revenue with this training behind me for my company. I actually have a lot of ideas from the instructor and curriculum in class that I’ve shared with my boss. She’s excited to talk to me about some of the ideas that I got through this program that would increase customer relations and profit with the company.”
For more information on BuildATech® courses or other technical training from HVAC Learning Solutions, visit us online at www.hvacls.com.
March 3, 2015
I wanted to know what your thoughts were on how the housing market affects business and how to stay knowledgeable about housing trends?
Best, Kelly P.
So the housing market has a number of unique correlations to small businesses and HVAC businesses in particular. Housing market studies will tell you a lot about not only where people are buying and not buying across the nation but also what the demographics of those buyers are.
In a recent Contracting Biz article, Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke talked about the affect young professionals and millennials are having on the Des Moines, Iowa, housing market. When trends like this are published, it helps business owners tailor their sales to the market. I’ve blogged previously about generational selling and the importance of tailoring your sales pitch to each individual generation, so keep an eye on these reports for your market and surrounding territory and adjust your sales pitches, marketing, and advertising accordingly.
Another way the housing market can affect your business is buying patterns. If your territory is in a hot market and people are buying, that can mean a lot of new HVAC systems and some superb potential for regular maintenance advertising. Conversely, if your territory is in an area where people are not buying or building, your customer retention efforts need to be on point.
Here are three quick tips to help you stay on top of the housing market and market trends:
- Partner with a local real estate company — A hot housing market means the real estate companies are in high gear. Expand your networking efforts by partnering with a local real estate company or agent to begin some mutual advertising.
- Do your research — Hit the streets and drive your community to see what trends you spot your immediate territory. But don’t stop there. Stay vigilant online for information about the housing market and current trends. I suggest using Realtor.com and the Reuters housing market special section.
- Talk about trends your techs are seeing — Your technicians are constantly immersed in the community. Ask them what they’re hearing and seeing while on the job and talk about the trends.
Do you have a question for an HVAC Learning Solutions expert? Submit your question on the HVAC Learning Solutions Facebook page for a chance to have your question answered in a future blog!