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: Leadership Training Program
Simple But Not Easy
By Jack Tester, Nexstar® Network President & CEO
In 2008, I was sitting next to a very successful contractor in a Nexstar manager training class discussing how to increase conversion rate and average sale. The material in the class was spot on. The business system for how to achieve success was laid out, clear as could be. The impact available from consistent technician training, business coaching and accountability was clearly evident. All the class attendees were nodding their heads in agreement. Everyone was planning to go home and implement what they were learning into their own strategic plan.
Toward the end of the training segment, this successful contractor leaned over and said that it was his training routine, company-wide accountability and personal involvement in this area that was, in his mind, the secret to their success.
He claimed his primary responsibility was to make sure important sales management activities were properly executed every day in his company. In his next breath, he closed by saying that sales management success (increasing conversion rate and average sale) was “simple but not easy” – a profound statement and one that has stuck with me.
“Simple but not easy… Simple but not easy…”
What are those activities in your business that are simple but not easy for you to execute every day? Are you giving them the business systems and the training they need to perform those tasks? Does everyone in your business know what is expected from them every day and why they need to do it?
If your answer isn’t “yes” to all three of these then you have some work to do. It is simple work, but not easy work. Nexstar members work with their dedicated business coaches to establish their “recipe” for success. Once that is created, then it’s easier to just follow the recipe. To learn more visit www.nexstarnetwork.com or call 1-888-240-STAR (7827).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com.
Are you Leading or Managing?
By Jack Tester, Nexstar® Network President & CEO
What a week! Nexstar® members in the PHCE industries just completed our annual Owners’ Spotlight Series meeting focused on leadership. This two day, hands-on workshop featured inspiring speakers, leadership tools like Q4 assessments and the DiSC profile, group training and worksheets. Our goal was for owners to walk away from the meeting with a clear vision for their companies and a good understanding of the guiding principles that impact their companies’ culture and strategic plan, including their own roles as leaders.
Part of understanding a leadership role is to determine how leadership is different than management. At a high level:
- Management is about doing things right. Being efficient with things and activities.
- Leadership is about doing the right things. Being effective with people and strategy.
Let’s go through subtle differences of each.
Management is about: Being efficient and doing things right
- Ensuring fulfillment on the mission
- Business Planning – setting the short-term direction
- Establishing expectations for how you’ll work – standard operating procedures and business systems
- Developing standards and metrics to monitor progress
- Communicating important information appropriately – filtering messages
- Adjusting as necessary
Leadership is about: Being effective and doing the right things
- Developing the future strategic plans
- Training, coaching and guiding – including helping people through change when needed
- Exercising influence – aligning constituencies, building relationships, and leveraging teams
- Process improvement – finding problems/improvement opportunities constantly
- Gaining commitment, engaging employees, and empowering others to act
- Motivating and inspiring employees
Your objective is to move slowly but deliberately from being a manager to being a leader. There are many steps along this leadership journey. Over the next few weeks, members of the Nexstar business coaching and training staff will be sharing leadership tips and strategies outlined at our Owners’ Spotlight Series here for you on www.rapidresults4business.com.
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.
Succession Planning Tips for Success
By Lisa Schardt, Nexstar® Network Business Enhancement Coach
Family-owned businesses make up 80-90 percent of all businesses enterprises in North America. In addition, family businesses account for 50 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, generate 60 percent of the country’s employment, and account for 78 percent of all new job creation.
So, if you own a family business, congratulations and thank you! You should feel great about what you’re contributing to our country. However, if you’re a business owner approaching your 60’s, I’m sure at times you feel a bit concerned about where your business will go when you’re no longer a part of it. Well, you’re not alone.
According to the US Small Business Administration, many family businesses are decades old and just like you, the owners are wondering how they will prepare their sons and daughters to carry on, serve loyal customers and grow the company when they retire. How can you possibly transfer all of the information and experience that’s in your head?
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. Plan well in advance
2. Determine your family goals for the future
3. Select the best person to lead the company – Who is best equipped?
4. Make a plan for the next generation
5. Plan the financial and legal steps of transferring business ownership
Groom and mentor the future leader(s) of your business. Set a goal for the transition and move slowly through the process so you can keep a hand in things and provide mentoring without micromanaging. But, what if no one is qualified or interested? That’s a good question and that’s why we’re addressing some other options here at Nexstar:
This keeps the cash flowing as you transition to a new owner because once you sell the golden goose (your business), it can no longer produce golden eggs. Planning an exit strategy around absentee ownership will still keep the goose in your hand. You hire, train and empower good people and your paycheck keeps coming in while your owner equity increases in the business.
Hire a General Manager
Hiring a general manager is also a good plan. This is one of the reasons we created a General Manager Training Program here at Nexstar. If you hire a general manager now, clearly define your intent, train them on business management, teach them everything you know and groom them to take over your business, they’ll be ready when you’re ready to retire.
Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP)
Consider selling your business to your employees via an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). According to the National Center for Employee Ownership, about two-thirds of these are used to provide a market for the shares of a departing owner of a profitable, closely held company.
The bottom line is, you have lots of succession options, and I would love to help you find one that works best for you and your business. Let’s talk. Call me at 888.240.STAR.
By: Jodi Peter, Nexstar Network Business Coach
We all know that paperwork is no fun, but when it comes to running a successful contracting business, it’s absolutely necessary. As a Nexstar Network business coach, I’ve heard owners share frustrations with staff that doesn’t understand why processing paperwork is vital to the business. Here’s a tip: When techs complain about paperwork, be sure they understand that paperwork is not for you (company, owners, managers)…it’s for the customer and the technician.
Let’s break it down:
- Front of the Invoice: This is for the Customer (among other things) and documents services rendered, contains customer guarantees, etc.
- Back of Invoice: This is for the tech – this is where a tech documents what he used on a job so his truck can be restocked. If a tech doesn’t have the parts he needs on his truck, customer satisfaction goes down, sold hours go down, tech efficiency goes down, tech pay probably goes down when efficiency goes down…it’s a domino effect.
- Summary of Findings: This is for the tech - a tool for the tech to educate the customer to buy, bundle offerings and offer choices for the customer. It’s just like a screwdriver, wrench or any other tool a tech uses to do his job.
- Timesheet: This is also for the tech – A record of a tech’s activity so he can be paid.
Jodi Peter enjoys guiding people down the ever-changing road to achieving their vision of success. She strongly believes in setting goals and exceeding them. Prior to coming to Nexstar, she served as the General Manager of a successful PHC company.
By: Denise Swafford, Nexstar Network Training and Development Manager
I’ve seen a lot of activity about the recent Super Storm Sandy and the devastation she has caused. I wanted to share my personal experiences in dealing with these types of natural disasters in hopes that it might help someone that is going through struggles wondering what to do now.
First, try to stay positive. Your attitude as a leader is so important. Every move you make is being watched by the rest of your team and your community. They need reassurance that everything is going to be OK. By now, hopefully you’ve heard from your team, but if not – your people have to be your first priority. Make sure you know what your peoples’ needs are. You need to take care of your people so that you can get your people back to work with their head in the game as soon as possible. If they need help cleaning up their yards, repairing roof damage, etc. – hire someone to help them with that stuff so they can get back to work.
Second – if your facility was flooded or damaged- reach out to vendors or relationships you have your community to see if they will allow you to use space in their buildings to operate out of until you can get back up and operational. Vendors have been generous enough to allow some companies to utilize office staff, offer extended terms, utilize office equipment such as phones, copiers, fax, computers, etc. Third, if you lost trucks due to flooding, reach out to leasing companies such as Enterprise to lease vehicles on temporary basis. They have been known to work with companies in the past that have experienced Acts of God and offer generous payment terms which allowed companies to get back up on their feet quicker.
Next, get involved with FEMA – offer to help them set up their trailers, run their plumbing, electrical, hook up their HVAC units. Make friends with them. They can’t refer you exclusively, but they can put you at the top of their list of companies they recommend. Also, remember, cash is king – once customers start calling – they will ask you to bill their insurance company – instead offer them financing through a company such as GE – perhaps even use 12 months terms. This gives the homeowner up to 12 months to resolve any issues with their insurance company and you get paid right away.
Once you are in a neighborhood – be prepared to stay there the entire day if necessary. Have flyers or door hangers that you hand out (hand out – being the key word – don’t just put it on the door – knock on the door and talk to people letting them know you are in the neighborhood). Remember to show empathy that you understand what they are going through and you were just at their neighbor’s house and wanted to stop by and see if they could use any help as well.
Be prepared to maximize every day. I’ve seen other members post very generous messages that they are willing to fly in equipment, they are even willing to fly in licensed technicians to help out. Remember once a work day is gone, it’s gone forever. Make the most of each and every day and minimize backlog as much as possible.
In terms of marketing, remember radio is probably best for a captive audience until power is fully restored. Offers of safety inspections provide tremendous value to your community.
If you have any questions or want more information, please feel free to reach out to Nexstar Network. We’re here to help.