For nearly 30 years, NCI has had the privilege of working with tens of thousands of contractors across North America to help them become more performance-based. Unfortunately, for every company that follows through and is successful at it, at least two do not. We often hear from those who didn’t implement right away, beating themselves up for not getting started the first time.

As you can imagine, we’ve heard hundreds of excuses for not moving forward. Because there’s not enough room on this page to address all of them, I’ll share with you the ones we hear most often.

One of the most common objections is, “It might work elsewhere, but not here.” These contractors tell us how their market is too small, or too large, or too suburban, or too rural, or too urban, or too poor, or too rich. Get the picture?

The truth is thousands of companies across North America are able to make performance work, regardless of population count, demographics, or size.

Interestingly, while some of the most successful Performance-Based Contractors are in small communities in semi-rural or rural areas, many NCI-trained companies in big cities and suburbs are also having great success doing high-performance work.

The truth is thousands of companies across North America are able to make performance work, regardless of population count, demographics, or size.

The truth is people are people, no matter where they live or their walk of life. It’s about connecting with and educating them on why they don’t have to live with sub-standard comfort systems, poor IAQ, and high utility bills.

When you show a homeowner through testing why they have these issues, there’s no need to hard sell them; nine out of 10 want to learn more.

Another common reason for not selling Air Upgrades and renovations is, “We can’t make enough money at it,” and “It reduces the number of regular installations we can sell and install.”

Actually, if you price an upgrade or renovation project to earn the correct gross profit dollars per man-day, it shouldn’t matter whether your installers are renovating systems or installing equipment.

In fact, successful Performance-Based companies make higher gross margins on system improvements than equipment installations. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell equipment – that would be ridiculous. The two not only go well together, but the best results often occur when you replace equipment and upgrade or renovate a system at the same time.

Another common concern is “My techs won’t test and generate leads.” This is mostly a matter of training and confidence. You need to provide them the opportunity to practice, and yes, even fail – but not in front of the customer.

They should practice on your systems, on their homes, even their relatives’ homes. Even a seasoned professional concert violinist wouldn’t think of playing a piece for the first time in front of a live audience!

Finally, a common excuse for not selling High-Performance is not being able to do as many maintenance calls if they are testing and talking to the customer about their findings. This topic will be addressed by Biloxi, Mississippi contractor Jim Ball, at the NCI Summit this April.

I could fill a page on why it’s so wrong to expect your maintenance techs to run four to five or more calls a day. But in short, the whole purpose of a traditionally low margin maintenance agreement is to generate additional service and installation work that is often badly needed. Two to three maintenance visits a day will yield far more profitable business when done right with performance testing and customer education.

Speaking of Summit, we hope to see you in Orlando this year. It’s shaping up to be our biggest and best Summit ever!