In this week’s video blog, Nexstar Sales Training Manager Keith Mercurio talks about the power of thinking and doing outside of the box to achieve better results. Be an innovator! Click on the photo to play the video. To learn more about Nexstar’s results-driven training: http://www.nexstarnetwork.com/Pages/SureFireSystems.aspx.
Category: Increase Profit
Bundling: The Art of Increasing Tickets & Close Rates
By Keith Mercurio, Nexstar® Network Training Manager
I work with so many contractors in the PHCE industries that work incredibly hard and put in excruciating hours to complete as many calls as they can in a day. These contractors have been “trained” by customers to only present the least expensive, lowest value option, which means that the only way to increase sales and profits is to fit as many calls into a single day as they can. As we all know, this is exhausting.
What I try to teach instead in my HVAC, Plumbing and electrical service technician training is that we first need to listen to our customers and then present a number of options at different values that each meet our customers’ needs. This technique is called bundling. Bundling is one of my favorite topics to talk about because it’s a genuine “art”. To learn how to present bundles requires a lot of training, time, AND faith because the shift in your thinking will be significant.
Bundling is critical to increase your close rates and your average tickets. It’s a complicated concept, but I feel it is so important that I have condensed it into three easy points to help introduce the process.
1. Reduce the Number of Value Decisions Needed by Customers
2. Create the Emotional Ownership for Customers
3. Make Your Medium Option Bigger
When you are ready to embrace the bundling concept, be assured it will take some creativity and some coaching from a peer or industry organization, such as Nexstar. You’ll have to decide how you can best bundle multiple tasks and assign one value to them based on your business plans and your market. But if you are looking for increased close rates and tickets – bundling is the business system you need to learn and implement now.
Learn more about my three steps to effective bundling in the April issue of HVACR Business. To learn more about training your technicians on the art of bundling and the right way to call on customers, visit www.nexstarnetwork.com or call 1-888-240-STAR (7827).
About the Author:
Keith Mercurio is the training manager for Nexstar® Network, training members on sales, customer service and motivation in the field. Before joining Nexstar, he worked within a Nexstar member company, first as a plumber, then developing an HVAC sales division that produced 3.7 million within the first two years, while incorporating many of the same techniques he teaches today.
N’Ts Are For Losers
By Nexstar Training Manager Keith Mercurio
In this week’s video blog, Nexstar Training Manager Keith Mercurio talks about the power of what we do inside our minds and how that translates to the outside world. He shows you how to find what you are looking for by changing your thinking and vocabulary. Stop using the N’Ts: CaN’T, WoN’T, DoN’T, ShouldN’T, etc. Click on the photo to play the video. To learn more about Nexstar’s results-driven training: http://www.nexstarnetwork.com/Pages/SureFireSystems.aspx.
Choose to Win!
By Jim Hamilton, Nexstar® Network Business Coach
Independent home services business owners across America wake up every day with the pressure of making their business work. Some wake up with the added pressure of making their business better than last year. Some even step up the anxiety level a notch or two with the pressure of making their business better than everyone else’s. I don’t know where your head is in the game, but, my guess would be that you fall in here somewhere, and guess what? That’s your choice.
Your business is about what you choose it to be. It’s your choice.
Easy to say, hard to do, right? Again, that’s your choice. If you believe it will be hard to do, you’ll be right because you’ll let it impact your success. Good results, like increased revenue and increased profits, take hard work and reoccurring good results take focus. Choose to focus on setting up a business that runs on reoccurring predictable processes.
CHOICE – Work smarter.
You can work hard and work your fingers to the bone because you think you should. After all, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, right? What you really should also do is work smarter. Working smarter means you’re documenting your successful business systems and redesigning the unsuccessful ones. Organizations like Nexstar® Network can provide you with proven business solutions, and even business coaching and training, to help you improve your business.
CHOICE – Choose to make it a great year.
Choose to make the most out of this year. When you see roadblocks in your way; don’t sit there and complain that you can’t bust through them because, because, because… Anyone can make excuses. You can make things happen. It’s your Choice. You choose how to make your business better. Don’t let anyone choose that for you. You are in control. If your business succeeds, it’s because of you! To get more of my Bottom Line on how to choose to win, see my column in April’s Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine.
For information on Nexstar, contact email@example.com or call 1-888-240-STAR (7827).
Are You an Effective Leader?
By Bill Raymond, Owner Frank & Lindy Plumbing, Heating & AC, Nexstar® Network Master Trainer
When I think about leadership, my thoughts first turn to all those “bad” leaders I’ve had over the course of my career. One was too tough on me, another one didn’t value me, and one didn’t give me any opportunities to grow. Think about your worst experiences with leaders. They probably include a few of the behaviors listed below.
Top 10 Poor Leadership Behaviors
10. Lacking personal characteristics (honesty, integrity, trustworthy, humility, etc.)
9. Lacking clear vision and purpose
8. No passion for what you do
7. Limited competence (intellectual and emotional)
6. Leading by poor example
5. Lacking interpersonal and communication skills
4. No continued focus on learning and growth
3. Inability to think strategically
2. Hiring the wrong people
1. Lacking accountability and inability to admit and/or learn from mistakes.
I know we’ve all worked for leaders who have these traits. These leaders are ineffective and don’t create a positive work culture. My challenge for you today, as a business owner and leader in the PHCE industries, is to take a look at your own leadership style and do what you can to make sure you are NOT doing the behaviors above.
But what if you are doing one or two of those behaviors? I am here to assure you, great leaders are not born they are made. Leadership lessons can be learned. It takes work, but you can learn how to be an effective, and even a great, leader.
Why is it important to be a great leader? It starts with understanding what leadership is. Simply, leadership is defined as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.
Put in the context of your HVAC, Plumbing or Electrical business, it means YOUR behavior and the environment YOU create guide the behaviors of YOUR team! In essence, creating YOUR culture!
Effective Leaders are consistent with their decision-making and understand how their thinking and behaviors impact others’ behaviors and ultimately the culture of their organization.
As an effective leader, you will be better equipped to create a strategic business plan, keep good employees, provide staff training and development, and ultimately increase sales and profits.
Isn’t that what being a leader is all about? Nexstar® Network understands the success of a business relies on the effectiveness of its leader. I am excited to help launch the first Leadership for Owners course in November 2013 for Nexstar members.
To learn more about the training Nexstar offers or how to join, call 1-888-240-7827 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nexstar Master Trainer Dave Boduch discusses technical jargon and how using words that your customers will understand will help you build trust and better relate to your customers. Click on the photo to play the video. To learn more about Nexstar’s results-driven training: http://www.nexstarnetwork.com/Pages/SureFireSystems.aspx.
By Lisa Schardt, Nexstar® Network Business Enhancement Specialist
Do you have a network? How about a group of other business people that you reach out to for answers or advice? If you answered yes, then that’s a great start right? Now ask, how many times have you actually listened to their advice or followed their suggestions?
Why not? If you’re not a member of a business network organization, my guess is you have created a peer group that helps you look your best. Maybe they are less smart than you…with fewer years of experience. Maybe they are as good as you, but they tell you things you already know. If you are satisfied with your current business and personal fulfillment, then that “network” probably works for you. But, if you know your good business can be great, you want to increase sales and profit, or if you are ready to enjoy the life you’ve built, then you probably need a more powerful network.
I am blessed to work for Nexstar Network, a leading business to business networking organization for independent home services contractors. Nexstar’s original mission was “success through education and sharing” and to help contractors operate out of a position of confidence, rather than a position of fear. Sounds nice right? But does it really happen that way? Absolutely!
Recently, I attended our service technician training at a member’s shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was completely moved by the site of nine local member trucks sharing a parking lot – as well as the 28 eager technicians from those shops teaming up to share and learn together. They put aside any thoughts of competition (from that place of fear) and really helped each other become better technicians and better businesses (now from that place of confidence). It was a truly an amazing experience, that is already producing results.
This business training was the perfect example of the power of networking – which will also be evident later this week when more than 225 of Nexstar’s members gather at our Owners’ Spotlight Series in New Orleans. This leadership focused meeting will help guide owners from business management to effective leadership.
I am already the luckiest person in the world. I wake up every morning and have the privilege of working at Nexstar, truly helping people change their lives. But what I am most grateful for today, and what is truly inspiring, is how, twenty years later, our great members still embody our founding mission of “success through education and sharing”. If you are ready to learn from the RIGHT kind of network call me at 888.240.STAR (7827).
In this week’s video blog, Nexstar Sales Trainer Keith Mercurio shares a recent experience involving Service System training and a follow up ride-along. Click on the photo to play the video. To learn more about Nexstar’s results-driven training: http://www.nexstarnetwork.com/Pages/SureFireSystems.aspx.
Nexstar Master Trainer Dave Boduch gives technicians insight into understanding how a well-oiled call center works and how to use that to a technician’s advantage. Click on the photo to play the video. To learn more about Nexstar’s results-driven training: http://www.nexstarnetwork.com/Pages/SureFireSystems.aspx.
Preparation is Key
By Jodi Peter, Nexstar® Network Business Coach
It’s March and the calendar, and our clocks, now say it is spring. But if you are the owner or general manager of a successful air conditioning business you may already have a distinct summer glow. Air Conditioning companies make up to 70% of their profits during the summer months. You are undoubtedly working hard to find employees, review your business systems, and execute your marketing plan in advance of the most important 13 weeks for you this year. You know you need to grow revenue during this short window to make your goals for the year. You know you have one chance this summer to build customer relationships and provide the customer service that makes a positive first and lasting impression. You know one mis-step or unplanned event can have a tremendous impact on your ability to increase profit.
You also know the need to prepare for your busiest season does not change year to year. You know the time to prepare for summer is now, before customers start calling. Here are the top five areas to focus on ahead of time to ensure you maximize your earnings potential for the entire summer season.
- Pricing – In order to meet your profit goals, you need to make sure you are priced correctly. Calculate your break-even and desired profit and know what you need to charge. Your pricing needs to be strategic and not just what you believe your market can bear or just a dart on a dart board. Set realistic goals for the company and every revenue producer in your company.
- Installation Processes – Review your entire installation process with your staff. Revisit the technician training your staff has had or still needs. Include a close look at your transfer process for handing off an installation from Comfort Consultant or Installation Manager to installer if needed. If you don’t have a good process, or if your staff is not comfortable in how to communicate with homeowners, it can be awkward and unsettling to customers.
- Hours of Operation – Establish before the season if you are going to extend your hours of operation or how you are handling emergency service calls. Then make sure you have staff trained in customer service working the extended hours. A good place to start is to role play scenarios from call center training with anyone who may answer the phones during regular or extended hours. Customers should never feel like they are talking to your “B” team, no matter what time they call.
- Fleet & Equipment – Nothing can stall a good summer like having a truck break down. Make sure you have your entire fleet serviced ahead of time to prevent or fix any minor problems. Inspect your current equipment and make plans now to bring in any additional inventory or equipment you might need.
- Staffing – At the end of the day, the biggest key to a good summer is having the right people doing the right jobs. Quality technicians and installers have completely different jobs and skillsets to support what they do. Your job is to make sure your employees are in the right jobs so they can be successful. For more about preparing your staff for the busy season, see my article in the March issue of The Reeves Journal.
If you take the time to focus on these five areas now, you will be well prepared for summer when the customers start calling!