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Success during the Slow Season: Capitalize on every call

By Todd Liles October 18, 2011 Success during the Slow Season: Capitalize on every call

 

The milder seasons of the year tend to bring about slower business for those in the industry of HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing.  But just because a majority of inbound calls are not “demand” doesn’t mean that your business cannot be successful and productive during the fall and spring.   Slower business calls for company creativity and a renewed focus on the important foundations of service excellence.

For the next three weeks, we will individually explore the 3 tips to achieving success in the “slow season” given by Matt Stewart, a fellow independent contractor and Operations Manager at Advanced Comfort Systems.  When asked how he prepares his company for success during these slower times, he replied with his first tip: “It is important to capitalize on every call.”  Here are some keys to making every call count:

  1. Set Leads– Training service technicians to set leads is important for keeping a company busy, focused, and full of opportunities during the slower times.  When a service technician visits a customer’s house, and properly diagnoses any concerns, a tremendous amount of rapport is built in the company that traditional marketing is never able to replicate. When service technicians and sales technicians have the opportunity to speak face-to-face with a potential customer multiple times, the relationship between that customer and the company is strengthened and that creates greater opportunities for system replacement, add-ons, club memberships, and repairs.  Opportunities for steady work during the slower seasons are vital to a company’s strength and health.  Training technicians to effectively set leads can be a means for continual work and the potential for a customer investment in a larger ticket item.
  2. Focus on Add-on sales- It is important to focus first and foremost on a customer’s initial need; add-on sales should not be used to push an ‘agenda.’ If a customer feels that a technician does not care about meeting their most pressing need, it will automatically give the customer a negative first impression of the technician and the service company.  Instead, an add-on sale should be used to resolve a customer’s problem.   The technician’s job is to reveal the problem and then educate the customer on how a particular add-on item will resolve their issue.  A few of these beneficial add-on products include: Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) for HVAC, Water Quality products for Plumbing, or Surge Protection products for Electrical.  If a customer is not interested in a larger ticket item, add-on sales can be a great way to benefit the customer as well as boost opportunities and sales within the company.
  3. Give limited-time special and start contests to encourage sales– Slower business seasons are the best time to get company creativity flowing in every facet of the business.  Offering limited-time specials is a great way to create a sense of urgency in your current client base as well as in your potential client market.  Along with getting creative with sales specials it is also essential to get creative inside your physical business in order to encourage your team.  While it is important to remind your service and sales technicians of the numbers they are supposed to hit for the month; it is also important to generate ways that technicians can reach these marks by creating an atmosphere of friendly competition.  Giving technicians goals to reach with some incentives can be a clever way to boost revenue and sales as well as encourage technicians to continue working hard and smart during the slow times.
  4. Perform non-negotiables to the highest standard- The action steps that make up your company’s non-negotiables contribute to the consistency and professionalism of your company.  When a customer feels that their property, investment, and time is valued because they have been consistently greeted with happy, helpful, and respectful employees at every stage of their call; your company will be on its way to accomplishing service excellence at its best.  Companies can easily forget to ‘polish’ their non-negotiable action steps when they are in the sweltering heat of summer but when milder weather slows business it is the perfect time to revisit these non-negotiables in every branch of the company.  Having these action steps performed to the highest standard on every call makes your company memorable and desirable to customers.

Slower business times allows for independent contracting companies to get creative in order to achieve success.  What works for the busy season of the year doesn’t always work as effectively during the slower times.  Success is possible at all times of the year but it is crucial to have a plan in place for every season that your company will face.  If you are in the midst of your “slow season” and want assistance formulating your company plan, let Service Excellence Training help in preparing your team for success!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog dedicated to Matt’s second piece of advice for achieving success during the “slow season.” Thank you for following S.E.T.’s weekly posts.  Here at Service Excellence Training we want to help you turn learning into earning!

-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.

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