Opportunity with a First Call Close

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Many home performance contractors, and even a surprising (to me anyway) number of HVAC contractors, have a multi-visit sales approach, or its evil cousin where a proposal is sent to the potential client some time, some long time, after the first visit, but without any further homeowner contact.

Opportunity

It doesn’t have to be that way. Even for contractors with average project sizes of $40,000, first-time closes are possible for as many as one-third of the sales. This is a big ...

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6 Ways to Screw Up Hiring a New Sales Person

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Following on yesterday’s post about good people in the industry, I wanted to talk a bit about hiring.

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 the wrong ...

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Thanks for the people

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RR quoteOne of the great things about this industry is the people I’ve had the chance to work with. And hope to work with again.

I’m grateful for that.

Contractors (and everyone else), when you’re hiring, you want to add to that collection. Most of the technical skills they’ll need can be taught. Character can be, too, but that’s much harder and my less likely ...

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Owner’s Salary v. Profit

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I had this conversation again.

The owner’s salary is not profit. And the owner’s salary shouldn’t come out of profit.

If the owner works in the field, her salary comes from the cost of sales just like any other crew person. If she works in the office, her salary is built into the overhead, just like the person who answers the phone.

This salary is a cost of doing business. If the owner wasn’t there, she’d have to pay someone else to the ...

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Program Folks, What’s the Value Proposition for Contractors?

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<Insert the sound of my palm hitting my forward here>

Potential Client X recently launched a pilot efficiency program. Following a long-standing tradition, they designed the program without talking to the contractors that they want to participate. They’ve got some robust technical training, and mentors whose field M.O. leans heavily toward the “you’re an idiot; here’s how to do it the right way” rather than “let’s see how we can help you do this and still make money”.

Strangely enough (or ...

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Going for cheap

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In our industry, the company trying to win every project with the lowest price is often the one who goes out of business.

Or arguably worse, stays in business, and struggles and stresses every week to keep things going, hiding from a supplier so they can make payroll this week. Maybe doing subpar work along the way.

Being the least expensive shouldn’t be your goal. And it doesn’t have to be if you provide value, including the things that make a ...

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Response to Bruce’s Question About EE Incentives

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In response to last week’s post on “Designing Effective Home Efficiency Programs“, Bruce Manclark asks regarding 3. The closer any incentives are to the energy-savings result you want, the less you need clunky and expensive rules to try to herd the market in the right direction: “Whats the best way to do this? Modeling? Deemed savings? Open EE meter?”

The best way to do this is to make the price of energy (or carbon) higher. http://omstout.com/the-simplest-incentive-to-stimulate-energy-savings/. Many economists agree ...

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Untapped business–following up with the sales you didn’t close

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You probably don’t close 100% of your sales calls. And you probably never will.

But you can take a step in the right direction. When is the last time you reached out to all those prospects who did NOT buy from you the last time around? The one you moved to the cold pile.

I’ve heard from a few contractors who are slow this month. The phone isn’t ringing. How about making a prospective customer’s phone ring instead?

As soon as you ...

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Designing Effective Home Efficiency Programs

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With several discussions over the past two weeks about the program-contractor interface, I thought it would be worthwhile to go back to the archives. Home performance programs have cited difficulty in attracting contractors and getting certain types of projects delivered. Contractors are often hesitant to participate in efficiency programs, especially more comprehensive programs.

A couple years ago, I featured a series of articles on Home Performance program design, focusing on the elements that programs themselves rarely talk about. In addition, ...

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Customer Service Matters

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No Booties - mud copyYes, you can air seal around a flue pipe with world-class quality. But that alone isn’t going to drive your business.

In California last week, I had the chance to talk to several consumers who’d recently had HVAC or home performance services. A few were happy. A few were very disappointed. Interestingly, none of the customers discussed the ...

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