Where’s Mike? (A Personal Update)

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Hi Folks,

I’m been getting a lot of inquiries of late, and I’m not keeping up with them as fast as I would generally hold myself to. For good reason, but I thought it worth a moment to explain!

While word is spreading on the industry grapevine, many of you may not have heard. Back in November, I learned I have an extremely rare (think one-in-a-billion—we always knew I was special) and aggressive sinus cancer. Stage IV, and in a ...

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Solar tariffs: Stupid policy, but it won’t kill the industry

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The death of solar has been exaggerated.

The Trump administration just levied a 30% tariff in imported solar panels from several countries (but not on India at this point). This is a a foolish policy. It will raises the prices on solar installation, and with some price elasticity, it will cost solar jobs. (SEIA estimates 23,000 jobs. Whatever the number, there will be a short-term hit.) This tariff will not create any meaningful manufacturing jobs in the U.S. And it ...

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Cracking the Quality Code – Part 2

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Yesterday, in Part 1 I talked about my definition of quality. Repeat after me: “Quality is meeting agreed-upon requirements and standards for every part of every job.” Today, I discuss those standards a bit more.

Setting Standards

In order to ensure that work gets completed with the highest level of quality, written standards need to be applied to each task. Although contractors can write their own standards, there’s a plug-and-play solution. I was part of the Advanced Energy team who, ...

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Cracking the Quality Code – Part 1

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While Mike is off fighting other battles for the next couple of months, John Tooley has stepped in to talk about quality from his unique, practical, and effective perspective.

Over the course of my 30-plus years in the home performance industry, I’ve found that most contractors have only the slightest notion of what constitutes quality work. I reached this conclusion while talking to thousands of contractors across the country.

I started handing out 3 × 5 index cards asking contractors to ...

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Focusing on payback to motivate customers?

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My experience has shown that focusing on payback is usually one of the least effective ways to motivate homeowners to invest in projects that save energy. Other motivators like comfort, healthier homes, lower bills (yes, that’s a different message than payback!), and sometimes even environmental messages resonate better and help encourage people to sign on the dotted line and ...
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What #MeToo means to me

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I generally reserve this space for professional content. And it is exactly in that context that I’m going to comment on the #MeToo messages I’ve been seeing, although at some point it’s impossible to separate the professional from the personal and the political.

The messages are very sobering.

I know women who’ve been harassed, abused, even raped. I’ve seen many statistics over the years on the large percentage of women who have said they’ve experience one or more of the above. ...

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You Got the Phone Call. Now What?

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A coffee-stained napkin is not the best CRM system!

Leads are the starting point. Now you’ve got to help them become buyers. That initial phone call plays an important role in the process.

The phone rings! Congratulations, your marketing worked, and you’ve got a lead. But you can’t sell home performance on the phone. You need to turn that call into an appointment, and ...

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Guerrilla Marketing in HVAC and Home Performance

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gorilla marketingNo, not Gorilla Marketing! Guerrilla Marketing, a concept I first discovered in a book by Jay Conrad Levinson, a book that I’ve been recommending for years. I think its emphasis on low-cost and unconventional ways to communicate are more relevant than ever. While big-budget mass media advertising might still work, more targeted engagement can certainly be effective…and cost-effective. I think this ...
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Some Marketing “Don’ts” For Home Performance Contractors

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reasons people callDon’t expect the words “home performance” to make your phone ring. People don’t know what home performance is. If that’s all you talk about, your call-center will be silent. People call for widgets (like furnaces, air-conditions, insulation, windows). They call for comfort issues (rooms that are too hot, too cold, drafts, etc.). They call for others reasons. But most people don’t ...
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