Are You Serving Customers and Coworkers?

By Dave Rothacker

You are the number 48 NASCAR stock car. You are a Chevrolet owned by Hendrick Motorsports, one of today’s most successful racing organizations, and driven by Jimmie Johnson, one of the most successful NASCAR drivers of all time.

The cost to put you on the track for a 38-week season is over $15 million, according to a Florida Times Union article in 2012, and that was seven years ago! An impact wrench used to take your tires off costs upwards of $4,500 and the sockets run up to $1,500 apiece. The engineering, technology, human effort, and logistics it takes to design, build, maintain, repair, and haul you around is unfathomable. (The hauler which has to be replaced every four to five years costs $500,000).

As the #48, you are pampered and served.

Of course, we can’t all be the #48.

 

The Family Chevrolet

You are the 4,881 Chevrolet Traverse manufactured in 2016. You are owned by the Jones family in Austin, Texas. Bob Jones is an HVAC technician and his wife, Suzy, teaches at a local middle school. Bob and Suzy have two kids under five-years-old.

The cost to keep you on the road each year is about $2,000. That includes fuel and oil changes. Coming out of warranty this year, your tires need replaced. So, the Jones will have to pay more than two grand for you this year.

Bob gets around to washing you about once every three weeks. He wishes he could do a better job of cleaning you inside, but he doesn’t have the time.

As the #4,881 vehicle manufactured in 2016, you aren’t pampered and you’re certainly not served.

 

Customers and Coworkers

You are not a car. But if you were, would you rather be a NASCAR stock car or a family SUV? Would you rather be pampered or would you rather have to pick animal cracker crumbs out of your seats each week?

You’re the owner of an HVAC, Plumbing, and Electrical company. Pretend for a moment that your customers and coworkers are cars. Where on the spectrum between NASCAR and family SUV would they fall?

 

Customers

  • Do you truly understand your customer’s needs?
  • Are you catering to these needs?
  • Do you have customer service and sales systems, processes and procedures that are in place and followed by all?
  • If an uninterested third party viewed your marketing, would they say you’re shouting at your market or would they say you’re attempting to serve it?
  • Would that third party say your marketing is targeted and focused or would they describe it as a shotgun approach?
  • Is your culture customer-friendly or customer antagonistic?
  • If queried, would your customers say your coworkers care?

 

Coworkers

  • Do your coworkers understand your purpose or WHY you are in business?
  • Do they share your purpose?
  • Are they given crystal clear expectations?
  • Do they receive prompt feedback, be it positive or critical?
  • Are they recognized for their work and progress made?
  • Do they have an educational and growth plan in place?
  • Do they have available career paths?
  • How would a disinterested third party describe your educational programs?
  • How would they describe your ability to engage outside educational resources?
  • Do you offer or make available life skills training?
  • Are they paid above the going wage in your area?
  • Is there a profit sharing and retirement plan in place?
  • Is there a positive culture at work? Is it family friendly?
  • If queried, would your coworkers say you care?

 

We Serve

If you are a customer, coworker, or car, wouldn’t you want to be served NASCAR style? Of course you would! While not all owners are cash-rich operators like Hendrick Motorsports, all have the ability to begin with a foundation of “We Serve.”

A reputable and honest HVAC, Plumbing, or Electrical business approaches its market to help customers solve comfort issues, save money on utilities, and help to keep their environment safe. They want to develop long term, trusting relationships. They’re not out to fleece customers and disappear.

A reputable and honest HVAC, Plumbing, or Electrical business understands that well cared for and valued coworkers are the key to growth and success.

Customers and coworkers who value and appreciate your service, who feel as if they are being served, are the fuel necessary to travel the road and bridge the canyon between family SUV’s and NASCAR stock cars.

 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Transparent Leadership Markets Itself

By Danielle Putnam

All throughout last year, key women in leadership kept mentioning the book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. Naturally, I knew who Sheryl was, not that we were besties, but as the COO of Facebook, who didn’t know who she was?

These women weren’t talking about her book as a thrill-seeking action movie, but more in a tone of empowerment. Somehow, I brushed off each mention of the book as if it was just another trendy read.

Fast forward to 2019.

For some reason after the hub bub of the holidays, I found myself browsing the bookshelves of Amazon.com. I stumbled across this “Lean In” book that everyone had been talking about “last year” and subconsciously clicked it into my shopping cart. And of course, when shopping on Amazon it’s only “oh, too easy” to buy additional sundries and impulse items, and that’s what happened to me on this day.

As I added Sheryl’s book to my shopping cart, another book by her popped into view, “Option B”. “Oh, what the heck?”, I thought to myself as I added it to my cart, too.

I didn’t know what “Option B” was about; it didn’t matter to me. I opened both “Lean In” and “Option B” as soon as they arrived and began reading simultaneously.

SPOILER ALERT!

In “Lean In”, Sheryl is a thriving executive sharing boldness and empowering women to step up as leaders in the work place. In “Option B”, her husband, who was CEO of Survey Monkey, tragically died while they vacationed together on a couple’s trip…leaving her as a widow with two young children.

While reading both books simultaneously, I’ll tell you what I’m seeing. The same writer, but not the same person. The difference: her level of transparency.

Now, I know you have better things to do than to sit there and read my 2019 book reports. But, stay with me. The level of transparency is key.

Have you ever noticed your personal leadership abilities, company growth, or even employee engagement to be sped up and slowed down based on the level of your transparency?

No human deserves tragedy. And, in the case of Sheryl, well to be honest, I haven’t finished both of her books yet, but my heart aches for her as I can’t imagine leading a company such as Facebook, sitting in a board room, and struggling to maintain composure during her tragedy.

And, it doesn’t take tragedy for us to become transparent, but doesn’t it take awareness?

But, what does that have to do with Comanche Marketing? What does that have to do with marketing at all?

As powerful as she is, Sheryl isn’t all business, and neither is marketing. Transparency is the bridge between our communities, families, business associates, and friends.

Transparency is the bridge between our personal purpose and our business purpose.

Isn’t transparency key to leadership? And leadership, well, leadership markets itself.

 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Simple Advice to Help Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolution

By Todd Liles

The New Year is just around the corner. Many of you are starting to get excited about the new potential that this year brings. If you are making a New Year’s resolution to: lose weight, read more books, spend more time with your family, or make more money, you are not alone.

I saw a statistic that said over 80% of people set a New Year’s resolution between now and the first week in January. Most of these resolutions center around self-improvement, family, or making more money. These are all worthy resolutions.

But there’s some sad news attached to most New Year’s resolutions. The vast majority of people will quit before they even get started. They quit because they don’t know how to turn a resolution into a reality. To me, this is heartbreaking. I want you to achieve your goals! You can do it. It’s not as hard as you may think it is. You just need a little simple advice that’s easy to follow. That’s exactly what you’re going to get in today’s article; simple advice that you will be able to execute!

The Big Problem with Resolutions

The big problem with resolutions is that they are too big! Seriously. When we think about what we want to do in the New Year, we typically think about the end result. We see the finalization of our goal, not the little steps that get us there. Let me give you an example:

Imagine a person that wants to get in better shape and lose 30 pounds this year. I’ve been this person, so I can tell you what I was thinking. I was thinking that I was going to look good! I was going to melt away the fat and build muscle. Oh yeah, baby!

You see, I could see the end before it happened. There is great power in visualization, but there’s also a trap, and the trap was the goal! The goal was too big and would take too long to accomplish. For the average person, this is a serious problem. Really big goals, that take a really long time to accomplish, take loads of discipline in different behaviors.

That’s the problem with resolutions. They focus on the end result, and not simple little steps that build discipline and a change in behavior.

Here is the good news, friend; we can accomplish our goals and we can change our behavior if we just make a minor adjustment.

An Easy Method to Accomplishing your New Year’s Resolution

You want to accomplish your resolutions this year, right? Then may I share with you the easiest way to accomplish your goals?

My secret sauce to accomplishing big resolutions is this:

Figure out the easy daily activity that gets you closer to your goal.
Block off 15 minutes of time for that daily activity.
Do the activity for an entire quarter, and never miss a day unless you’re sick or have a family emergency.
That’s it. Seriously. It’s really that easy.

You see, it’s not about the end goal in the beginning. It’s about changing your behavior, creating a habit. Habits are formed by what we do continuously. That’s why I want you to break down your goal into things that you can do.

For instance, if you want to make $20,000 more this year, then you need to break that down into a daily activity. That activity might be making outbound phone calls to your old clients. If you want to lose weight, then that activity might be walking for 15 minutes a day. Whatever the activity is, just commit to doing it!

That’s why I want you to block off 15 minutes a day toward the activity. 15 minutes is not that much time. You can do anything for 15 minutes of intensity. Treat this time as sacred. If you do this for an entire quarter of the year, then what you will have is a habit and behavior change by the time you get to the end.

You’ll also see progress toward your goal. Now, chances are pretty good that you’ve only made a minor dent in your goal and that’s okay! You see, this is just about getting you into a new habit. You were creating new pathways in your brain that say, “Hey, this is what you should be doing.” Once you’ve developed this behavior change, you’re going to find that the next three quarters of the year are going to fly by. You will also have built up additional stamina. You will be ready to increase your daily activity time toward your goal. It’s like riding a bike. Once the wheels are turning and you’ve got momentum, it’s easier to go further and faster!

You can do this! I believe in you. All you need is to believe in yourself. Start now. Write down what your daily activities are going to be. Then block off the time in 15 minute increments on your calendar. Put it down seven days a week for the entire first quarter. And at the end of the first-quarter, write me and tell me how awesome you’re doing.

Todd Liles is the founder of Service Excellence Training and the creator of the PRESS PLAY Training System. www.ServExTra.com provides consulting and training services. We specialize in: Techs, Sales, CSRs, Managers, and Owner Training. We offer our services: LIVE Online, in the Classroom, and at Your Location. 512.333.4133. todd@servextra.com

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Do You Really Need Inventory? Consider All Three Pieces of the Big Picture

By Lynn Wise

A lot of home service businesses have told me lately that they think they need inventory and an inventory management system. However, that could be the start of a big mistake: assuming your business needs to stock parts and supplies itself, by failing to look at the big picture.

So let’s back up. The first question service business owners really need to ask is, “Should I even carry inventory?”

Remember, that there are two types of inventory: the inventory technicians carry in their trucks, and the inventory a business carries in a warehouse to replenish its trucks or supply installation jobs. When determining whether to carry one or both types of inventory, here are three things to consider:

  1. How is your cash flow? Inventory is an asset, so it is essentially money sitting in a truck or warehouse that otherwise would be available to spend. Do you have the cash available to invest in that asset, and if so, how much return on it can you get? There might be greater returns in putting the money in the bank, buying another truck, or hiring another technician.
  2. What are the capabilities of your local distributors? Can they deliver the parts you need within 24 hours? If you are 50 miles from your sole distributor, you might have less access to parts and supplies than businesses in suburban areas with multiple distributors nearby.
  3. What would you save by stocking inventory? Perhaps you get a discount for buying in volume, or you cut the “windshield time” of technicians driving back and forth to a distributor or warehouse.

To answer these questions, tap the skills of experienced accountants.

First, they can analyze your cash flow and evaluate whether you have the additional capital to buy inventory. The additional capital needs to be an amount above and beyond your normal expenses and overhead. Your accountant can also help determine how much of your cash to allocate to inventory and help you plan your investment, so it doesn’t hurt cash flow.

Second, consider carrying inventory if you have limited access to just-in-time distributors, if you expect prices to increase, or if the items you need require long lead times or are in high demand or short supply. Your accountant can help forecast seasonal or other variations in demand for standard parts and equipment. I recommend forecasting demand for standard parts that you are likely to sell, because stocking them could help you satisfy and keep customers. If a forecast shows you need other items only occasionally, think twice — stocking them will be a drag on cash flow.

Third, your accountant can help assess the potential costs and benefits of holding inventory. Costs can include the expense of maintaining a warehouse, the loss of any volume discounts, and finance charges on any loans you take out to buy inventory. Benefits can include technicians’ increased productivity, the increased probability of having critical parts if a supplier runs out, and more accurate estimates of what jobs will cost.

Ultimately, inventory is more than a “buy-or-not-to-buy” decision. It’s a strategy, and you need a reason for holding or not holding inventory, a plan for implementing your decision, and an end goal in mind.

 

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service Roundtable.com to see if there are Success Days in your area!