Is Your Marketing Ruling the Roost?

Written by Danielle Putnam

Let’s be honest, have you done your September marketing? Are you a few months ahead? We all know that we need to have our marketing efforts organized and ready to go before the phones stop ringing, but the “busyness of the business” has us putting it on the backburner.

I think of my planning whiteboard like a big coop of chickens. Right now, every task, every chicken, has its own color-coded nest, but all the chickens are running around pecking at one another and pecking at me, demanding my attention. Each day, I plan to focus on feeding the most important chickens—the ones that are really going to push my business forward; my super chickens. But the other chickens are clucking and begging for some food as deadlines draw near.

I throw a big handful of feed out, but at the end of the day, I got a little bit done in a lot of things; I got all of the chickens a taste of food, and yet my prized chickens, my super chickens, are not yet plump enough for the county fair. Meanwhile, I’m fried!

I’ll bet you have your own chickens in your business pecking around for attention, too, right? You’re running a business, managing your team, keeping customers satisfied, answering phone calls and emails, focusing on craftsmanship, and on top of all that, you have marketing to do, too. It can get pretty overwhelming.

I found that I was always marketing “today” when I needed leads or a service call “today.” Well, we all know from Marketing 101 that you can’t market for today; you have to market for the future. So, I worked to develop a way to keep myself ahead of the game. The marketing calendar I made gives me a nice little nest egg for my business. It prompts me to shake a tail feather and list out the marketing I want for two months from now, so I am always thinking ahead. That means I am constantly building content and repurposing content that worked, and I know how to space it out. Each month, it says to start marketing for two months from now and at the end of each month, it says that those projects are due to be finalized. It also gives space to plan marketing for social media, email, and print.

And wow, something else I found is that it isn’t just about planning ahead, but next year, my road map is already done. With the marketing calendar, you take your numbers and successes from the previous year, and instead of trying to remember what you did, you already know what you sent out and what worked and what didn’t. Many big businesses say you don’t need a calendar because things change, but it’s good to have some pieces ready in your pocket so they don’t get pushed to the back burner. I don’t plan my whole year out, but I go two months at a time, so my pieces are already rotating around in the rotisserie.

Want a tool to help you rule the roost?

If you don’t want your feathers ruffled worrying about making your own marketing calendar, shoot me an email and I’ll physically MAIL you one, too (FREE 😊 )!!! It’s a large, 11×17” full color calendar. Let’s start incubating our September marketing plans now.

Are you tending to your super chickens, or are you a chicken with your head cut off?

By the way, if you’re coming to Service World Expo, be sure to join me for my session; I’ll tell you how to dumb down your marketing and really focus on what works. No spoilers, but you don’t want to miss it. Go ahead and put your eggs in that basket.

Danielle Putnam is the President of The New Flat Rate and Women in HVACR. The New Flat Rate, a home service menu-selling system designed to put profit directly into the hands of plumbing, electrical, and HVAC contractors. Women in HVACR, a non-profit member-based organization providing professional avenues for networking and educating women while encouraging more women to enter the trades. For more information, email danielle@menupricing.com or visit www.thenewflatrate.com and www.womeninhvacr.org.

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!

Attitude isn’t Everything, but it’s Way Up There!

Written by Brandon Cockrell

I once worked for a “boss” in the restaurant business that was the worst! His attitude brought down the entire team. He was rude, obnoxious, and judgmental. He believed that everyone underneath him was “less than qualified, and we were lucky to have him as our leader.” Frankly, we would have been better motivated by an angry bear than by this guy. He was no “leader.” He was only a “boss” giving unclear and harsh commands.

And here is the worst part: this man actually had the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. The issue wasn’t his skill, it was his attitude!

Attitude Isn’t Everything, but it’s Way Up There!

The attitude of a leader sets the stage for the success of the team. If you walk in tired and uninspired, then you have made a statement to everyone in your office. A negative, possibly infectious statement.

If you come in pumped and ready to work hard and have a lot of fun, then your team will be ready to do the same!

It is important for the owner to set the example for the company every day. It is not an easy task, but it will make a world of difference in the attitude of everyone in your business.

A great attitude will also help spread the word about how awesome it is to work at your company. (This drives recruiting and leads me to remind you that at this year’s Service World Expo, Todd Liles is going to be speaking on the topic of “Recruiting World Class Talent”. The event is October 16th through the 18th. His presentation will be October 17th from 3:15pm to 4pm. I hope that you will join him as he unpacks these six key points to recruiting and retaining world-class talent.)

The best part about attitude is that it is a choice. Every day, you are able to choose to be positive or negative. The first step that many motivational speakers will address is: change your attitude and you can change your situation. This is why it is critically important for the owner of the business to have a positive attitude, treat everyone with respect, and model behavior that they expect of their employees. Modeling a positive attitude for employees is an unspoken way of setting expectations. It shows your employees how to conduct themselves on a daily basis.

While attitude starts with the owner, it is just as important that the rest of the company follows suit. Our attitude affects not only those within in the company, but also our customers. If our employees are not positive and have a great attitude, it is almost impossible for our customers to have a positive experience.

How many of you have been to a restaurant, retail store, or any business and dealt with an employee that had a happy, energetic attitude? They were genuinely happy to be at work. It makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

Now, think about a time when you had to deal with the opposite. An employee that was grumpy, rude, short and had no interest in giving you a positive experience? That makes you start to wonder what type of company that person works for, how are they treated as an employee, or why are they still employed? Regardless, it’s not a positive experience for the consumer.

That is why Attitude isn’t everything, but it’s dang close!

Brandon Cockrell is a Success Coach and Trainer at Service Excellence Training www.ServExTra.com.  He teaches techs and sales pros to boost their average ticket, closing percentage, and increase client satisfaction

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!

Artificial Intelligence – Is it Only a Buzzword or is it Changing the Way We Do Business?

Written by Lynn Wise

Artificial Intelligence has become the buzzword to end all buzzwords. The difficulty is knowing what is attainable and usable in our lives and what is science fiction.

How you use technology influences people’s perceptions of you and your company. Customers want a superior experience and they are willing to pay a premium for it. 67% of customers think how a company uses technology indicates how a company operates in general. AI can be extremely helpful in creating, unique, personal experiences for your customers. AI can also be used to better understand customers and take care of their needs with greater speed and precision.

Here are some examples of how AI and Smart Intelligence are already being used in our industries.

Artificial Intelligence, using data analytics to make suggestions, can prompt the CSR to ask questions that can help diagnose the issue, shorten the call, and save your technician valuable time, all while producing higher customer satisfaction rates from start to finish.

Data entry software is now available that uses smart intelligence to populate fields, match P.O.’s, reconcile statements, and store documents in the cloud, allowing access remotely to all parties who need it. Implementation also frees up valuable office space previously used for document storage, minimizes waste, and is good for environment.

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) can predict equipment failures and plan maintenance or replacement of hardware when it will have a lesser impact on the owner. Many customers already receive notifications about their monthly usage of electricity and water. Combining customer data with relevant geographical data can create programs where contractors give the consumer greater control over their home.

The upside of utilizing AI in your business are numerous; helping you grow your business while easing the workflow, minimizing employee burnout by taking over repetitive tasks, and allowing your employees to be trained and grow into new positions. However, there is a real fear that AI will take jobs, and your employees may not embrace these changes if they feel their livelihood is in jeopardy. Be proactive in reassuring your employees they will be able to dedicate more of their time and energy toward developing innovative marketing strategies, products, and services that will help them thrive and grow.

The point of this article is that AI is real and is being embedded in our lives and businesses. It is no longer science fiction and business owners need to be aware of the technology and how these innovations can impact their business processes and return on their investments.  Just think, your next equipment delivery may be made in a autonomous driven vehicle. 

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!

Leading with Noble Purpose

Written by Dave Rothacker

”How was your day, honey?”

“Oh babe, our department killed it! I did $4,200, Bobby did $3,800, Ken did $4,500, and I know Ralph was over $3,000! We drove wheel barrels of money into Frank’s pocket and when it comes time for our 1% raise, we can fight for 1.25% because we know we’ve been bringing home the bacon!” said no HVAC service technician ever in the history of the universe.

“How was your day, honey?”

“Oh babe, you’re not gonna believe this! Frank brought Christy Jones in to talk with our entire company. Christy owns Your Little Hearts. You know, those daycares all over town? Jeff sold Christy that PureAirx air purification system I told you about.

Anyhow, Christy is up there talking and she breaks down in tears. I guess parents have been flooding in thanking her for taking care of their kids. Word got around town that fewer kids have been sick and now Christy has waiting lists at all her centers! I couldn’t believe how many were tearing up as Christy spoke!”

As a coworker, can you imagine sitting there listening to Christy? How proud you must feel to have known you made a real and positive difference in people’s lives? And it doesn’t matter if you are the tech who turned the idea over to Jeff, Jeff himself, the installers, or anyone else in that company. Your company collectively made the difference!

Leading with Noble Purpose

In her book, Leading with Noble Purpose, Lisa Earle McLeod paints the purpose over profit argument with beautiful brush strokes of clarity. People are more motivated to make a difference in the lives of others than in driving numbers. In her book, Lisa states the following:

Numbers measure results; numbers do not create results.

Metrics-driven leadership drives mediocrity because:

  • Metrics do not create a compelling narrative, internally or externally
  • Using the same benchmarks as everyone else will not create competitive differentiation
  • Numbers measure performance; they do not create performance

Successful business owners who lead with purpose know: When you make a difference in the lives of your customers and coworkers, those desirable numbers will come.

Lisa is Not Simon

While writing here and privately for the Service Nation community, many of you know I am a huge supporter of Simon Sinek and his Start with WHY philosophy.

According to Simon, a business owner’s WHY; what is their cause, what is their belief, what is their purpose, originates early in our lives. Our WHY is rooted in the limbic portion of our brain, which has the capacity for feelings, but not language.

Consequently, the journey for many business owners to discover and express their WHY is a long and hard road. Those who are successful and who rally and inspire their coworkers around it set their companies apart from the competition. They provide an opportunity for their team to exercise their values and beliefs while making a difference in their customer’s lives. Coworkers enjoy the freedom to be who they are and find less need to wear a social mask.

 

But What if You Can’t Pin Down Your WHY?

Lisa says to lead with a Noble Sales Purpose. An NSP is a short, compelling statement that answers these questions:

  1. How do you make a difference to your customers? This defines your value to the customer.
  2. How do you do it differently from your competition? This establishes clear points of competitive differentiation.
  3. On your best day, what do you love about your job? This provides inspiration for emotional engagement.

Lisa’s methodology does not compete with Simon’s. Let’s say a business owner is not able to articulate their WHY. But they do have a fierce desire to serve customers without being known around town as a rip-off artist. By leading with an NSP, it shows the owner how to operationalize that desire and aspiration.

If Basement Guys Can Do it, So Can You!

Foundation Supportworks is a successful Nebraska-based, family-owned business that exemplifies the NSP. This organization took the owners personal values and beliefs, which are customer service, hard work, honesty, and kindness and then scaled it company-wide.

Lisa: “The true test of your culture is not your products, your website, or your office. The true test of your culture is the employee experience.”

Based on their values and beliefs, Foundation Supportworks builds a culture where employees buy in and thrive.

Critical Components of their leadership:

  • Devoted leadership
  • Operationalize their values
  • Give very personal recognition
  • Over-communicate
  • Complete transparency

As a side note, Greg Thrasher, the owner of Foundation Supportworks, learned about leadership from books. Greg read and then he implemented what he learned.

As someone with a front row seat to Go Time Success Group CEO Chris Hunter’s accelerated business success, I can tell you that is exactly what he did and still does. If you know Chris (and even if you don’t), read John Maxwell’s Leadership Gold. You’ll be both amazed and inspired by the transition Chris made from text to action!

Leading with Noble Purpose is an inspirational guideline to actually help put your WHY, your purpose into play. Often times, we read books that provide implementation guidelines that seemingly require a Harvard Ph.D. to understand and follow. Lisa’s book is readable and doable, especially if you have the slightest inkling of instilling purpose into your business.

Don’t focus on the numbers. Focus on your purpose. The numbers will follow.

“How was your day, honey?”

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!