Contractors, Are Your Sales Advisors on Commission?

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In follow-up questions from recent sales trainings, I’ve been asked, “Mike, how should I be paying my Comfort Advisors?”

The short answer: On commission. I’ll elaborate on that below.

Some contractors, especially newer “home performance” contractors, pay salary. Often the sales person prefers to work on salary. I’ve seen that the sales person who doesn’t sell much really prefers salary! Sometimes the owners seem nervous about commission. (“What if she sells $2M? I’d have to pay her $200,000!” Tip: If you’ve got a ...

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Are you paying your team enough?

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Perhaps the single biggest and most frequent issue I hear contractors wrestling with is finding and keeping good people, installers, techs, office staff, sales people.

What attracts people and keeps people excited about working for your company is by no means limited to the compensation you offer. For some, that may not even be the primary factor (I’ll talk about that more in a later post). But the reality is that for some earning $18/hour or $25/hour, $2/hour (or $5/hour!) up ...

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Home Efficiency Measure Pricing – How Should Programs Weigh In?

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A conversation that comes up frequently with efficiency programs is with respect to pricing. It sometimes sounds like this (an actual quote):

“We watch those contractors because some want to charge too much.”

I understand and support the desire to protect consumers. But I often see programs objections to pricing without a full understanding of costs, the interaction between the two, or what it takes to sustain a contracting business, or to get contractors to “transform” their businesses. (See this ...

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6 Ways to Screw Up Hiring a New Sales Person

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I wanted to talk a bit about hiring, and maybe pick up on that thread from a different angle next week.

I’m working with a few contractors who are looking for additional sales staff right now.

Hiring good folks is difficult. Hiring good home performance sales people…that can be very difficult. This is particularly true if you’re some of these classic blunders in your recruiting and hiring process, making it harder to find and hire the right sales person.

How can you find ...

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A Tale of Two Value Propositions

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Last week, I talked about value from both the benefit and the cost sides. Let’s dive into the benefit side a bit more deeply…and not the way many of us energy nerds often do.

Here’s a hypothetical project, and two archetypal contractor stand-ins.

Really Smart Energy Contractor, Bill, is working for a customer who pays $3,000 (exactly, $3,000) in annual utility bills. He has put together a work scope which includes replacing an old and failing HVAC system with ...

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Build Value (from both sides of the equation) to Drive Sales

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value benefit cost

If you can’t build and sell value, you have to compete on price. If you compete (and win) on price, it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to do things right and make a fair profit (although you might be able to do one of those two).

Inherent to my view of home performance is doing things right. And you deserve ...

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Is your salesperson pricing right?

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“The sales guy screwed up, and we really ate it on that job.”

Maybe. Maybe not. In my view of successful, scaleable HVAC, solar, and home performance companies, the sales person is responsible for putting together an accurate price estimate and proposal. (Some companies use separate estimators, and the sales people sell. I think this is wastefully redundant. And it’s often less effective sales wise for reasons surrounding building value, trust, and credibility.)

Nuts and Widgets and Labor and Permits – Building ...

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How Efficient is Your Home Efficiency Business?

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Muda in home performance - Waste reduces value and hurts profits

We talk a lot about “efficiency” and “reducing waste” in homes. But what about efficiency and reducing waste in our home improvement businesses? Can we do better–become more profitable and deliver more value–by getting leaner?

Lean home performance is an approach to design delivery systems, whether we’re talking audit, air-sealing, or air-conditioning, to ...

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Does Your Pricing Come up Short?

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Three contractors in four weeks, each with some serious pricing problems that where hurting their businesses!

Last week, I pointed out that getting more sales doesn’t necessarily fix everything. There is some scary reflection of reality in the statement “We lose money on every job, but we make it up on volume.”

Next month I want to tackle the cost side of things–in terms of reducing costs to boost both profitability for you and value for your customers. Even then, ...

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Sales do NOT fix everything!

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You’ve heard the saying, “Sales fixes everything”, and Guy Kawasaki explains how.

The problem is that sales do NOT fix everything.

Don’t get me wrong. Sales are important. If you’re not selling, everyone can stay home. And as Kawasaki and others will point out, sales mean cash (well, assuming you collect the cash), and cash buys you time to fix problems (but you still have to fix the problems–the cash doesn’t). Yes, sales are critical! And yes, sales buy ...

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