Victory in sport, war, and business is won by the side that focuses on the fundamentals and details of success. It is not the scheme or the strategy that matters most (though they matter). It’s the fundamentals. Here are the fundamentals you must master to win the service war.
Vince Lombardi may be the greatest professional football coach of all time. He began every training camp by holding up a pigskin and announcing, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
George Patton, was arguably the greatest general of his generation. One of his areas of focus was socks. With every food ration his troopers received a clean pair of socks to prevent trenchfoot.
Lombardi and Patton both knew that it’s too easy for people to get too cute. We focus on the nuances and razzle dazzle when success lies with the most fundamental basics. Here are eight fundamentals you should master.
1. Focus on the Your Brand
HVAC equipment manufacturers are all very good. Compelling differences between one brand of equipment and the next lie less with the product and more with the way the manufacturers serve a contractor locally.
By contrast, difference between contractors can be vast and significant. Brand is a signal of quality and safety for consumers. Thus, the only brand that is truly significant for consumers is the contractor’s own brand. This should be the brand you market.
Find manufacturers to partner with, but market your brand. It’s the one that matters to your customers.
2. Charge a Flat Rate
Is anyone still charging by the hour? Unfortunately, yes. Just like consumers prefer the assurance of upfront prices using a ride sharing service over the open ended prices of a taxi, they prefer the upfront prices of flat rate over the open ended prices of time and materials.
3. Recruit Year Round
Your capacity for growth is constrained by the number of service technicians and installation crews you employ. Since people leave at inopportune time and develop at different paces, you should constantly by recruiting to keep your production pipeline filled. This means recruiting, including recruiting when other contractors are cutting back.
4. Reduce Homeowner Hassles
You can reduce the hassles of dealing with service business by charging flat rate, answering the phones promptly, allowing homeowners to set appointments, requiring service personnel to be well groomed, keeping people apprised about wait times, making it easy to pay, offering generous warranties, cleaning up, and being gracious about callbacks.
5. Offer Financing
Replacing a furnace or air conditioner costs as much as buying a used car, so you should be able to finance as well as a car company. This means you should line up multiple financing sources and work as many as you need to get a customer financed. Most people lack the necessary savings to be able to pay for an HVAC replacement.
6. Adopt Best Practices
Do not reinvent the wheel. Find the contractors who are performing best in class for digital marketing, direct mail, social media, recruiting, compensation systems, sales, and so on. Learn from them. Perform some R&D (i.e., rob and duplicate). Find them by reading the trade magazines like Contracting Business, by attending residential trade shows and conferences like the Service World Expo, and by joining contractor alliances like the Service Roundtable and Service Nation Alliance.
7. Join a Buying Group
More and more contractors are turning to buying groups to help leverage the power of group purchasing. These groups help vendors reduce marketing costs and the savings get passed along to the contractors.
8. Invest in Appearances
Since service is an intangible that you must consume to experience, consumers prejudge your service based on the tangible clues available to them. Your trucks, techs, marketing, and signage should all reflect the quality of service you intend to deliver.
The best educational opportunity in the service trades is coming to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas October 10-12. It’s the Service World Expo where you can learn from and interact with the industry’s best practitioners in the business of contracting. You will also attend the industry’s most innovative and fun trade show. Visit www.ServiceWorldExpo.com or call 844-742-3970 for more information.