Last Week’s Lesson: 5 Things Contractors Want to Know

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Thanks to Build It Green and PG&E, I had the pleasure last week of delivering a couple of two-day business training sessions for HVAC and home performance contractors. We covered a lot of ground looking at some fundamentals along with marketing and sales. In the course of the discussion, contractors indicated several critical areas they wanted to know more about. My top 5 are as follows.

1. Many contractors weren’t using an annual operating plan and wanted to know more about putting one together.

I just wrote a short article about the annual plan a couple weeks ago. Yesterday, Efficiency First hosted a webinar on the subject. We still need to talk more about benchmarks and industry ratios, but it’s good to see contractors taking note!

2. The “Gas Pump Pitch” was a hit.

Amy Beley presented a very popular short session on the gas pump pitch. While we raised it in the context of lead generation (at the gas pump!), the concept of considering your audience and distilling your message to its compelling essence has a myriad of applications, from handling phone calls to a sales call opening. I think you’ll find it useful.

3. Marketing is everything you do.

Now, you can revisit many of the marketing topics from “Marketing Week” earlier this year. But don’t forget that the message you’re sending gets out in a variety of ways. How you answer the phone. How your vehicles and crews look. Whether you show up on time. How clean you keep homes you work on. And much more.

Guess what, sales is everything you do, to. So, in everything you do, consider whether it helps or hurts your Advisor at her next sale.

4. If you want to sell you’ve got to listen.

The more a customer shares, the better you understand how you can help them and what they value enough to pay for. And a good way to encourage sharing is to ask questions. (It sounds easy, but asking good questions is hard!)

5. Training is not a one time deal.

It’s said we forget 85% of what we learn within a month. If you want is to stick, you’ve got to train, and repeat, and reinforce, continuously. A good minimum to shoot for is 50 hours of training every year for every employee. A better target is 100 hours. Some of that can be self-paced, like reading this blog. But much of it should also be structured. And this applies to not just techs, not just sales advisors. Everyone in the company needs training on a regular basis. (Especially the boss!).

There’s so much more to talk about, but the contractors in the rooms seemed to grab onto some very important things to take back to the office to start working on. You can start, too!


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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+

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