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HVAC Hall of Fame: Charlie Greer has a Heart for Technicians' Success

One of the first HVAC consultants, Charlie ‘Tec Daddy’ Greer continues to help technicians and business owners do more, be more and make more.

Over a career spanning three decades, Charlie “Tec Daddy” Greer has been a friend and advisor to a countless number of HVAC service professionals and colleagues.

Born in Cincinnati, Charlie Greer grew up in Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania, going wherever his father’s work as a disc jockey took the family. His dad, by the way — also named Charlie Greer — was something of a legend in pop radio circles, and held down a spot at WABC in New York for nine years in the ‘60s.

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Our Charlie eventually moved to Cleveland, where he attended college and worked in commercial plumbing. He relocated to Fort Myers, Florida in 1983 and began his career in HVAC. He eventually became a champion salesman for Modern Air Conditioning. 

“My sales manager at Modern, the late Peter Higgins, starved me for leads, which forced me to become a better closer,” Greer recalls. “In 1987, I got a total of 157 company-supplied leads for the year, and I closed 143 of them. I had to figure out how to self-generate sales. That was life-changing. Peter also got me started in my consulting business.” 

CHARLIE GREER will be inducted into the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame during Service World Expo 2019.

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“Every employee has the ability to bring you significantly more profits than any customer.” In other words, technician skills must include a keen eye for spotting legitimate HVAC system problems, which are sales opportunities. 

At Modern, Greer struck up a lasting friendship with Ron Smith, one of — if not the — most successful HVAC business owner, consultant and author in the United States.

“I’m not sure he could have spelled ‘HVAC’ at that time," jests Smith, "but it certainly didn’t take long until Charlie not only understood the industry, but excelled in his position,” Smith says. “He quickly became a student of our industry, consistently made excellent home sales presentations and closed sales. Unlike many other retail sales reps, he didn’t just wait on the company to furnish him with sales leads. He also self-generated his own leads.”

Charlie Greer has always preached that HVAC service technicians must believe they are doing something ‘for’ their customers by spotting and reporting minor, hidden problems, and by cleaning up the air they breathe inside their homes.

In 1990, Charlie Greer started his consulting practice — HVAC ProfitBoosters — specializing in sales training for contractors, service technicians, salespeople, and CSRs. He would travel to HVAC, plumbing and electrical businesses across the country and ride with technicians and salespeople to troubleshoot their service and sales techniques. 

“The most rewarding part of traveling North America and running calls with salespeople and service technicians was the fact that I knew I was helping people every moment of every day,” he says. “I was helping salespeople get a higher closing ratio, which improved their self-image and income. I was helping service technicians increase their income and sense of self worth. I helped contractors improve their bottom line and quality of service, and I was helping customers, by being thorough and taking care of minor, hidden problems before they became major problems, and cleaning up their air.”

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Charlie Greer received the Service Roundtable "Tom McCart Consultant of the Year" award in 2008 and 2012. He was the first consultant to receive the award a second time. This photo is from the 2012 presentation at Comfortech 2012. Here with Charlie are Matt Michel, CEO of Service Roundtable, left, and his co-inductee into the Hall of Fame for 2019, David Heimer, vice president, Service Nation.

Charlie Greer has always preached that HVAC service technicians must believe they are doing something ‘for’ their customers by spotting and reporting minor, hidden problems, and by cleaning up the air they breathe inside their homes.

“Part of this is getting them to understand that they’re doing customers a favor by making them a service agreement customer, cleaning up their system and installing some Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) products. I know I’ve done made an impact when they leave one of my seminars and go buy some IAQ products to install in their own homes.”

CLICK HERE for Charlie's 12-part Guilde to Replacement Sales

Among his mentors, Greer counts Contracting Business Hall-of-Famer Aaron York, Sr., of Aaron York’s Quality Air Conditioning, in Indianapolis. 

“Aaron was my first client. I spent so much time in his shop that I considered his family my family, and his shop my ‘home away from home,’ Greer recalls. We jokingly call me his ‘illegally adopted son.’ Aaron pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits and made me a better person in general.”

In 2004, Charlie Greer was named a “Servant Leader” by the Service Roundtable. In 2008 and 2012, he was named "Tom McCart Consultant of the Year" by Service Roundtable and Contracting Business.

“Not many know the pivotal role Charlie Greer played in the formation of the air conditioning industry’s consolidation movement, or the myriad ways he has helped individual contractors, technicians and plumbers. That’s the way Charlie wants it,” says Service Roundtable CEO Matt Michel, himself a member of the CB Hall of Fame.

The prime example of Greer’s desire to help others remains the great friendship he had with the late Tom McCart, the HVAC industry’s first million-dollar salesman, during their time working together at Modern Air Conditioning. 

“They were fierce competitors, but also friendly competitors,” Michel wrote in 2004. “Their relationship was like two brothers. One brother may fight the other, but is also the first to rush to his defense.” 

When McCart contracted ALS, Greer was there, to help Tom through the depression that had begun to overtake him. McCart’s wife Diane says Charlie helped Tom physically, financially and most of all, emotionally. He marketed Tom’s books, which provided needed income to Tom and Diane as they faced growing medical bills. He continues to help Diane as needed.

“Charlie cares deeply about his clients and friends. Because he cares, he pours himself into the products he offers,” Michel says.

Tech Lives Matter
Greer’s message to business owners: “Every employee has the ability to bring you significantly more profits than any customer.” In other words, technician skills must include a keen eye for spotting legitimate HVAC system problems, which are sales opportunities. 

Another message: stop overworking technicians, because 60+ hour weeks cause tech flight from one company to another. The solution: “Don’t take on more work than you can handle. Raise your rates to chase people away. Everyone will work less but make the same money, and customers will receive a superior level of service.”

On low pricing: “If most people would increase their prices by 10 percent, they could very well quadruple, or see a six-fold increase in profits. Because there are many out there who are lucky to get two percent net profit. If they increase their prices a lousy 10 percent, that would mean 100 percent of that 10 percent goes to the bottom line, for a net profit of 12 percent instead of two. And the customer wouldn’t even notice.”

Greer’s 200th “Superior Level of Service” column for Contracting Business appeared in our September edition, which established him as the longest-running author to appear in the pages of Contracting Business. As often is the case, the article was about closing, specifically how to respond to customers who “want to sleep on it.” 

Charlie has always been the master of closing scripts that technicians can use in various sales situations, to describe system solutions and respond to objections. 

“If you don’t have a scripted way to run calls, it means you don’t know what works, because if you knew what worked, you’d do it the same way every time,” he says. 

 At 65, Charlie Greer is far from retiring. HVACProfit-Boosters.com rolls on, as Greer offers training materials in DVD and CD formats, and provides in-person training at his Florida training center. He’s still consulting, is at work on two business management books, and within a year, will unveil an app that he and an industry-leading developer say will revolutionize the HVAC industry. 

CONGRATULATIONS to Charlie ‘Tec Daddy’ Greer, and welcome to the Contracting Business HVAC Hall of Fame!

 

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