If you have ever seen one of Weldon Long’s keynotes or training sessions, you know he only needs a few minutes to inspire contractors. Long, a featured keynote presenter at the Contractor Leadership LIVE event this September, talked with Candace Roulo of Contractor and Contracting Business about his life experiences, writing books based on his experiences, including his love of the HVAC industry, and how working with contractors is a passion of his.
1. When and why did you decide to go into your particular career field?
The HVAC industries choose me! In 2003, I was 40-years-old, broke and living in a homeless shelter. I had a tough time finding jobs, and then an HVAC contracting company hired me. I ended up selling 149,000 replacement systems. I realized how much potential there is in the HVAC industry, and decided to stay in it.
I sold for the company that hired me for less than a year and, in 2004, opened my own company. In 2010, I decided to sell the company and focus completely on speaking and writing.
I believe it’s important to have passion. It comes from being good at selling! It’s easy to say that everything I have today is because of the HVAC industry.
2. What is something interesting about yourself?
Often times, people ask me about living in a homeless shelter at the age of 40 and how I got to that point. In 1987, I went to prison, and I was in state and federal prison systems for 13 years. During the last seven years in prison, I decided to get my hands on all of the books by the greatest motivational speakers and read them — these books completely changed my life.
Weldon Long wrote the book, “The Upside of Fear,” about his life experiences referencing what he learned by authors, such as Stephen R. Covey. Read a book review of the “Upside of Fear.”
3. What’s the most exciting part of your job right now?
The most exciting part of my job right now is to see how quickly contractors can change their results with the prosperity mindset. These training programs are simple, and I want them to be immediately implemented.
I saw a young service technician implement two simple ideas from the training programs and he has tripled his income. Those two ideas are:
- Being good at diagnosing a problem and offering a solution
- Always asking the customer if they will trust him with his suggestions.
4. What’s the most important thing you can impart on the readers, a teaser if you will, for what they can expect to hear during Contractor Leadership Live?
I am doing the opening keynote, which will be dreaming of time, money and freedom. But the reality of this is there is zero time, zero money and zero freedom. And contractors need to increase revenue.
It’s so important to understand the concept that if you are not making money on your leads now, you won’t make money on more leads. Contractors have to understand that they need to be profitable in their existing business first. Turning profit on revenue is a skill they need to develop. And I guarantee that we will teach contractors how to generate a profit.
5. What is the biggest issue we need to face in the HVACR contracting industry?
The biggest issue contractors have is finding suitable employees. But good people are easy to find if you provide a good culture and environment. At the company I owned, we never had a problem finding good employees because we treat employees really well. It was rare when an employee left the company; when they did, it was because they were moving.
If contractors are having trouble finding employees, they need to look internally and figure out what can be done within the company. They need to become the company people want to work at.
Many times a contractor wants a magic bullet to fix the recruitment problem, but a magic bullet doesn’t exist.
4. What technology is coming up in the near future that you feel will alter the mechanical contracting course forever?
The Amazons of the future will try to sell direct to homeowners. The industry as a whole needs to make sure that contractors are offering their customers great service. For example, larger energy companies want to control a homeowner’s thermostat, so when something goes out we are providing a level of service that is beyond that.
About Contractor Leadership Live
Contractor Leadership LIVE is a new, multi-day event that brings together the resources you need to transform your business. You will see the latest technologies and learn about proven strategies from a powerful line up of today's HVAC industry experts. There's no better opportunity to level up your business while building a solid foundation for the future.
Slated for September 12-14 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, this national event will feature conference sessions by top educators to inspire you to transform your business while delivering insight on the latest industry trends that are impacting contracting business owners and service professionals. The expo hall will give you an opportunity to learn more about the latest products that help drive business and boost profitability while connecting you with the manufacturers that are responsible for developing those tools and solutions that are critical to your success in this ever changing business environment.
This event will feature the best speakers in the contracting world.