For most of the country, Fall means maintenance agreement visits and heating system tune-ups. Your Fall marketing should be in full swing and you are likely getting your techs ready for the heating season.
The Secret Is …
Fall is also a phenomenal opportunity to generate new business from testing systems during your maintenance visits. If done right, a large percentage of these visits can be converted to additional opportunities for improving HVAC systems. This includes duct renovations, accessory sales, and equipment replacements.
The secret to these additional sales is equipping your technicians with the tools, knowledge, processes, and training to succeed. A crucial component is effectively communicating to your team the processes you want them to follow. This starts with the testing they should perform and in what sequence.
It’s important to reach agreement with your field people on the processes for how they collect and interpret test data, and communicate their findings to your customer. Next, you must have processes in place to follow up on these opportunities. You will need to communicate how handoffs should occur with everyone involved in the process, both in the field and your office.
What Are Good Communications?
Sound like a tall order? It can be if you don’t practice good communications within your company. Effective communications are at the heart of implementing any new processes in an organization. We often think that shooting off a memo declaring “this is how we will do this,” somehow magically gets absorbed by everyone in the company, and they know exactly what to do, and when. The truth is you must take the time to effectively communicate and train your people on what you expect to happen.
The secret to these additional sales is equipping your technicians with the tools, knowledge, processes, and training to succeed. A crucial component is effectively communicating to your team the processes you want them to follow.
A good sign you are effectively communicating is when your team members repeat back to you what they think they heard, and even better, challenge some of the details of the approach and make constructive suggestions. Some people call this “buy-in,” others call it empowerment, or participative management. The bottom line is when your people are part of the solution, your chances of success rise exponentially.
So where do you begin? Since most leaders in HVAC businesses are salespeople at heart, think of it as preparing and executing a sales call for a new product. The only difference is you are selling internally. Start with the 30,000-foot view. How would you communicate your vision of the new approach? In this example, it’s “Generating opportunities for new business through performance testing.”
Microsoft PowerPoint™ can be a great tool to gather your thoughts in short concise statements or bullet points. Just don’t overdo it – keep it short and simple – think of it as talking points for a presentation. Once you’ve outlined the high-level view, break it down to how you want to roll the process out. This is where more detail is appropriate.
A flowchart is a great way to show who should do what, and in what sequence. It doesn’t have to be fancy – it could be on a whiteboard. If you want to do something more formal, there are some simple and inexpensive software tools like Lucidchart (lucidchart.com), that allow you to quickly create flowcharts to illustrate the process.
One More Thing …
Don’t be inflexible on how the details might work. In fact, you should encourage dialogue on how the new process could be better tweaked. Again, this invites buy-in. As you roll out the process, try to identify “champions” who get the most excited about it. Your champions will help keep things going as some team members will inevitably start to run out of steam.
Once you have a good process outlined and communicated effectively with your team, the next step is to equip them with the training and tools to succeed. As their leader, your role should be to remove as many roadblocks as possible to help ensure their success and your company’s.
The great thing about this process is you can apply it to anything you want to implement or improve. If you aren’t doing this already, give it a try. You’ll be very happy with the results.