Running Service Step 1: Your Drive Time

Oct. 1, 2009
the next 13 months, Charlie Greer is going to teach you what to do when running service, and how to maximize each call in an honest and professional manner.

Editor’s Note: For the next 13 months, Charlie Greer is going to teach you what to do when running service, and how to maximize each call in an honest and professional manner. “I’ll tell you everything I do; from the moment the call is dispatched, to the greeting at the front door, to closing and handling objections, down to what I do to prevent ‘buyer’s remorse,’” Charlie says. Here is installment number 1.

You spend $40,000 per year on each of your technician’s wages, another $40,000 per year on each technician truck, benefits, taxes, and insurance, and a couple hundred dollars to generate each call. Then your technicians go out there and overlook opportunities left and right.

For your investment you deserve to have your techs maximize each call in an honest and professional manner.

Make the Most of Drive Time

If a technician spends three hours per day driving between calls, over a 30-year time frame, that’s a minimum of 22,500 hours that techs spend behind the wheel.

Most of that time is wasted listening to the radio or talking with people on their cell phones.

Drive time is the first, and perhaps biggest, opportunity that techs (and salespeople and contractors) waste. Those three hours per day is nearly half of a work day, and could be put to good use.

I begin my drive between calls mentally reviewing the call I just ran. I make a mental note of what went right and what went wrong. I think about what I said, and practice out loud presenting the same product I just did on the last call, but trying to do it better.

Educate and Enlighten Yourself

Drive time should be spent doing something productive to improve every aspect of your life. You could and should be listening to audio products that will educate and enlighten you. They can be on almost any topic, including:

• Salesmanship
• Negotiating skills
• Building a healthy marriage
• Child-rearing
• Personal finance
• Spirituality
• Positive-thinking
• Healthy eating habits
• Business skills
• Life planning.

I got the majority of my sales education and did most of my practicing on salesmanship while driving between calls.

My personal favorite sales trainers are Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Roger Dawson, and, frankly, myself.

One of the lamest things a service technician can do is blame the boss for not putting CD players in their trucks, and claim that that stands in the way of their success.

There is one person who is responsible for your success, and that is you. The quicker you realize that reality, the quicker you’ll start improving your lot in life.

You don’t need a CD player or a lot of money to acquire a lot of training on CD or cassette. You don’t need a $5,000 sound system in your truck to start educating yourself and living a better life and they don’t have to be on CD. Cassettes are more than acceptable for sales training. The sound quality is not important. It’s the information you’re after.

I listened to my training products on a used cassette player I bought at Goodwill for $4. It’s just people talking.

You can find all kinds of audio products at your public library for free.
If you prefer to own your own audio training, you can get it for practically nothing on eBay.

Visualize Success

What the mind of a man can believe and conceive, it can achieve. – Napoleon Hill

About 10 minutes before my estimated time of arrival at a potential customer’s home, I do some creative visualization. What that means is that I’ll turn off the training and, just visualize:

1. Being able to find the address easily.
2. The initial introduction going well.
3. The customer being cheerful, cooperative and receptive.
4. Me projecting confidence, a positive level of expectation and professionalism.
5. The diagnosis going well.
6. My presentation going well.
7. The customer listening, believing me, wanting their problems resolved, and buying.
8. The work going well.
9. The clean-up going well.
10. The paperwork, the collecting and the final summary with the customer going well.

I’ll also do some “positive affirmations,” where I’ll quietly tell myself that I’m a good technician, I’m a good salesman, I’m a good communicator, I’m successful at what I do, that people tend to believe me, and things of that nature.

It’s not necessary to put myself in a deep meditative state, close my eyes, or stop the truck to do this creative visualization and positive affirmations. There’s nothing weird or mystical about what I’m doing. I’m just giving myself a mental boost by “reminding” myself of what I already know.
Now that I’m in a healthy frame of mind, I’m ready to run the call. You can be, too. Try it. It works.

Charlie Greer is the creator of “Slacker’s Guide to HVAC Sales on Audio CD,” the CD series that’s designed to help techs and salespeople learn how to sell more HVAC while driving between calls. For complete information and an audio sample of the series, go to You can call Charlie at 800-963-HVAC (4822) or e-mail him at [email protected].