Recommended Reading: 7 Business Books for Home Performance Contractors

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how to win customers coverI’m frequently asked what books I recommend for those in the home performance space. And I’ve got a list. Perhaps counterintuitively, I won’t start with some of the great technical resources. Rather, right now, I’d like to focus on some of the business resources that I think can really help inform someone trying to make a living delivering home performance. Here are several that I’ve found useful.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
I think this should probably be passed out as required reading to everyone taking a BPI certification training or RESNET training thinking they want to start a business. You’ll often here me talking about business owners needing to move beyond just working in their businesses so they can devote more energy to work on their businesses. The E-Myth touches on the need for systems and processes needed to allow your business to grow successfully.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap – and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
I really like the fact that Collins based this on real-world data. All of the principles apply to home performance. For many in this industry, I think the hedgehog principle, and getting the right people on the bus, are particularly relevant.

How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life by Michael LeBeouf
Marketing and sales are linked to everything you do—and that speaks to the critical nature of customer service. This book can form the backbone of a customer service approach based on integrity and real service. This book also touches on the importance of the ongoing relationship, after that first sale, that can drive success in a home performance business.

SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
There are a lot of really smart people in home performance. We know how homes work. Unfortunately, we’re often too quick to jump up on the soap box and start preaching to potential customers rather than listening to what they have to say. “SPIN”, isn’t a the dodgy concept from the Sunday morning talk shows. Rather it is an acronym for the different kinds of questions that you can use to help build understanding of the customers needs. I don’t particularly like the forced acronym, but I love underlying questions. There is also a companion “Fieldbook” with great practice exercises.

Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
I’ve been recommending this book for years. 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 is particularly true in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and other online social media. In fact, many of the core concepts of guerrilla marketing are essentially what we now call social media and social media best practices. And these concepts apply whether we’re pushing electrons over fiber optics or handing a business card to someone after making our gas pump pitch.

Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends & Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin
I follow Seth Godin’s blog regularly. Permission Marketing really gets into the change from old-school outbound marketing to what we now call social media. Like Guerrilla Marketing, the concepts outlined here were ahead of their time and are still very relevant today.

HVAC Spell Wealth by Ron Smith
If you’re coming at Home Performance from an HVAC perspective, go no further before reading this book and incorporating many of the principles into your business. And even if you’re not in HVAC, many of the management and operations concepts apply to any residential retail service business.

I’m curious, what resources do you find particularly useful for helping run an home performance business?

Good Reading!

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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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