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: Small Business Consulting
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).
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.
Business Advertising: Your Guide to Planning Mass Media
By Ed Cerier, Nexstar® Network Marketing Strategist
Independent home services contractors are increasingly using mass media vehicles like television, radio, billboards and so on to advertise their companies. How exciting! Chances are you’re either using one of these advertising vehicles or have considered it. It’s the major leagues of marketing.
Your experience probably went something like this. A nice television rep told you how powerful TV is. Everyone watches TV, particularly your target audience, right? The rep then gave you a proposal with big numbers, like the number of spots that’ll run. Wow! You’re going to be on popular shows all the time! Then she told you how little you’ll pay. Finally, she sealed the deal by throwing in the production of a free or deeply discounted commercial.
Who could say no? The answer is you. Not because you shouldn’t be advertising on TV (or on the radio or on billboards, etc.). Say no because reps don’t take the time to learn your business. TV reps, for example, don’t know whether you can afford to be on TV. If you can afford it, they don’t know when your ads should run and how often. They only know one thing: how to close deals and make money.
To appropriately determine whether you should be using mass media, and how to effectively use these vehicles at the lowest possible cost, you need to hire a media planner and buyer.
For a better understanding on how to work with a media planner / buyer and for tips on selecting one for you, see my article in the April Reeves Journal on media planning.
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.
Right Here, Right Now!
By Jim Hamilton, Nexstar® Network Business Coach
It’s the end of March. It’s not really winter. It’s not really spring. So what is this season?
Poor cashflow season?
Why am I doing this season?
This too shall pass season?
I knew it was coming season?
I thought it would be different this time season?
I’m losing my best employees season?
Low conversion season?
What can I do season?
Does this sound familiar? How can you stop this insanity right here and right now? I’m going to give you some tips that you can use each year during this season. This season pops up every year, let’s be honest, it happens. You need to have the right business systems and a strong strategic plan in place to respond rather than react.
- Here’s what I want you to do:
- Do an assessment of all your employees from the past season
- Ask yourself these questions: Do they need technician training or call center training? Do they have the right ability? Are they willing?
- Then get rid of unwilling people. Right here, Right now. Don’t carry unwilling people through, but don’t cut the muscle.
- How do you keep good employees? You carry your good service technicians and installers by scheduling system checks. If calls aren’t coming in, make outbound calls to check systems. Get your technicians in front of your customers and explore the needs they have.
- Train Your People. Training your people will help you keep employees and benefit you when times are plentiful AND when you need to increase revenue.
- Take Inventory – make sure the inventory in your trucks is right. Get ready now. Make sure your trucks are stocked. For HVAC operations, that is particularly important for the upcoming changeover in your seasons.
- Cleaning – “Nice truck…”
- Nothing does a better job at undermining your consumer marketing than when your technician opens the door and things fall out. You have the time, right here, right now. Get the trucks cleaned.
- Clean your office – you know who you are. Ask yourself, would your mother work in your office?
- Know your break even.
- If you don’t know your break even, how do you know if you’re making profit every day? Business owners who need assistance with business budgeting should seek out business training that will help them learn this concept. Companies that are members of organizations like Nexstar, have access to both business systems and business coaches who are available any time to help walk through this process.
- Consider buying a business.
- If buying a business is part of your strategic business plan to expand in the market – now is the perfect time to look for businesses to buy. Your competitors are going through the same things, right now, and many are rethinking their options.
- Set up a business planning workshop.
- Identify the changes you PLAN to make and share the financial overview of your business with your entire team. How can your team work toward a common goal, if not everyone knows or understands what that financial goal is?
Start responding and stop reacting. Responding requires you to have a plan – a plan for what you are going to do. Start planning.
Right here, right now.