Are Existing Customers YOUR Best Source of Business?

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Successful contractors who’ve been around at least a few years will tell you that referrals are a huge driver in their business. And they should be. The best customer should the one you have already. Next best is something they’ve referred to you. And yet, too many contractors ignore current and past customers both as a source of additional business and a source of referrals.

With respect to existing customers, HVAC contractors moving into home performance have an enormous opportunity–the ...

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Your HVAC & Home Performance Marketing Plan

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This is the first in a series of posts during the arbitrarily-proclaimed Focus on Marketing Week. Check back each day this week for another marketing morsel.

Lead SouresI get this question all the time. “What is the most effective marketing?”

Contractors are rarely satisfied with my answers to this, including “Your most effective marketing is what works best for you.” Whew, the tomatoes start flying. I can ...

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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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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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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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