Can your Advisor charge more than book price?

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I had a good discussion with a client about my last post, specifically about allowing your Advisors the discretion to discount.

He asked if he could apply the same methodology in reverse (his only sales person had the ability to “pad” the price in his last position).

My answer: Yes, you can. But it’s not what I recommend.

Given the Advisor a similar discretion to add 10% to the book price has an obvious benefit. Even with the additional ...

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Keeping good employees…It’s not just about the money

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Money can be a motivator. Or a de-motivator if done poorly and people perceive it to be unfair. However, we also know that it’s not just about the money. Ask anyone who’s ever worked for a complete asshole (sometimes that’s just the best word to use) and they’ll tell you.

Wait a second. Last week I suggested that perhaps one of the reasons we have a hard time attracting enough good folks to a contracting business is because we ...

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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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