IAQ Best Practice Success Story

As the COVID-19 inquiries from contractors come in, I am struck by the variety of ways that contractors position themselves as far as IAQ challenges and solutions during the outbreak. And they go from one extreme to another:

  • With all this media attention, MAYBE I should get into IAQ…
  • I’m going to exploit this opportunity to MY advantage… (yes sadly a few)
  • This subject is too sensitive, so I’m going to stop marketing IAQ until it is over…
  • How can I best service my clients with the IAQ products that we have been promoting for years during these unprecedented times?

Let’s imagine for a moment that this COVID-19 outbreak never happened. 

How would you handle promoting IAQ with your clients then? Maybe think about it? Exploit the opportunity? Stop doing it? Or continue to train your team on Best Practices in promoting IAQ? 

Hopefully, the answer is obvious! 

I believe that the answer to either scenario, with or without COVID-19, should be the same.  

We will eventually get through this Covid-19 pandemic, and although things will get back to normal, the need awareness for IAQ products will have heightened substantially. Currently, due to social distancing and consumers’ concerns about letting service techs in their homes, we have had to change the way we work a call and adjust for the present times. This includes communicating more with our clients via email. Through our CSRs and dispatchers, it’s informing them of what action you are taking within your organization to abide by the CDC recommendations on how to keep your employees and your clients as safe as possible.

Currently, the IAQ conversation can still be had, yet we should abide by the six-foot social distancing rule and other CDC recommendations, while in the home as it relates to any conversation a technician may have with the homeowner at different stages of the call. Soon, after the dust settles, we should get back to Best Practices as they relate to the service call and IAQ. Best Practices is a general term that is used in all industries that address many functions within an organization. So, many times I have been asked to be more specific. To that end, I’d like to share one of the many success stories we receive that produced excellent results from learning IAQ Best Practice from the technician standpoint.

Don, my IAQ Training Rep. in Wisconsin, shared this specific success story with me that happened before the COVID-19 pandemic. My team and I are constantly sharing success stories from the field and this one is from an email that Don sent to me detailing a recent success that he had with a “naysayer” technician. 

During an onsite training where the contractors IAQ numbers were down 20%, I started by asking the team what was happening in the field that was causing the drop in sales. According to all the techs, the biggest objection for the homeowner was the price. Specifically, one tech was hung up on it. So, I asked him to explain how he was getting the homeowner involved in the call. He used a lot of pictures and technical information, yet never brought the homeowner to the furnace. He only sold two of our PMACs (Polarized Media Air Cleaners) in the past two months. So, I showed them all what they should be doing on every call to boost their confidence and increase success. With this best practice, we have experienced a 96% success rate in giving the homeowner a full presentation at the homeowner’s kitchen table.

I tell techs while I’m on ride-alongs after training that after the meet and greet, it all starts at the thermostat with the transition question: “Mrs. Jones, as I’m going through your system, if I find anything that affects the performance of your equipment or the health and safety of your family, would you like me to share that with you or just fix it?” 99% say they would like me to share my findings with them. 

 (Most of you have heard of this transition question asked in different ways. Yet, we find that most technicians don’t use it and it is a very important part of the process.)  

We start the maintenance, and I have the technician complete their full tune-up and get all their technical readings for their system report. Once that is done, I have them pull the blower wheel completely out. I clean three fins on the blower wheel the best I can to show the homeowner the contrast between clean and the blower wheel’s current condition. I then get the homeowner to join me at the furnace to discuss my concerns. I show them the pictures in our Consumer’s Handbook that show a filthy blower wheel compared to a perfectly clean image of one. Showing the homeowner the current condition of their blower wheel and comparing it to the images, I then ask the homeowner, “If I give this clean blower wheel a rating of 10 (the clean image) and I give the dirty one a rating of zero, how would you rate yours?” Whatever they rate their own, I agree with them and then educate the homeowner on how the current condition of their blower wheel is affecting the performance of their equipment and is causing them to overpay the utility company. (By the way, when the homeowner gives a number, rating the condition of their blower wheel, they take ownership that there is a problem.) This statement is supported by the EPA and Texas A&M studies that I bring to their attention. “Mrs. Jones, as you can see, your blower wheel is accumulating dirt buildup and that motor is designed to work at peak efficiency when it is completely clean. If it is heavier from that dirt, then can we agree it is working harder than it is designed for? If that motor is working harder, what do you think is happening to your utility bill? Going up?” They usually agree. Then I do the same with the secondary heat exchanger and cooling coil with a visual inspection with the homeowner. “If there was a blanket on either of them, then that motor could be working 2x and even 3x harder than it’s designed for. If that motor is working 3x harder, what are the chances that the motor is going to fail prematurely? The reason that this is happening is the current filter you are using is allowing all this dirt to pass through the filter and effecting the most expensive appliance that you have in your home. If I could show you a little better filter than the one you are currently using and guarantee this never happens again, is that okay with you?” 

With that example and role play with the team, I then asked the “naysayer” technician to commit to me that he would do this on every call for the next week. Well, he did, and he sold seven PMACs the first week and six the second week. The crazy thing about this story is that after the meeting, I met with the owner to discuss spiffs and his current pricing on our IAQ products. Based on this conversation, he raised his price by $100.00 before the technicians went out on their calls. So, it shows how effective and how important it is to follow a process that will create success for the techs and the company while benefiting the client. 

Thanks, Don, for sharing that story so that I can share it with others!

It’s not the price, it’s the process, and it is the right thing to do for your clients.

Take the time now to examine what your IAQ Best Practice process will be for your team, and get expert advice on how to improve and polish it. 

Encourage your team to use it every time, on every call, and hold them accountable to the process.  

This IAQ Best Practice scenario should be implemented not because of the COVID-19 pandemic, rather despite it!

Steve Mores is the Vice President of Training and Sales at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups 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!

The Positive Lessons of a Bad Haircut

This Easter Sunday, I made a critical mistake. I gave myself a very bad haircut. In fact, I now have no hair at all. I’ve joined the Bald and Beautiful Club. But, let me rewind a bit.

Since COVID-19 has shut down my barbershop, I’ve been cutting my hair with clippers. I’ve done it twice before and it’s been fine. I’ve used a moderate guard and slowly increased the guard size as I went up the side of my head. This technique worked fine.

On Sunday, I decided to go shorter. I removed the guard and went around the bottom. No problem. Then I added the guard and tried to blend it. Big problem! I didn’t have the in-between guard needed to do the job.

I could have stopped, but I didn’t. I kept trying to make it work. In trying, I went up a little more. And then a little more. I’d try to blend it with clippers, and then I’d try to scissor cut it. It just kept getting worse and worse.

Even as bad as it looked, I wasn’t ready to just take it all off. That changed when my daughter walked into the bathroom and started laughing at me hysterically. It was at that point that I knew it was time just to take it all off.

And, I did. It’s gone!

Yes, I have joined the prestigious league of men with no hair: Patrick Stewart, Jason Statham, and The Rock! Too bad that I don’t look as good with a bald head as they do.

The bald look isn’t my best. I have some friends that can pull it off. Toby Brodie on our team looks great bald. And, I can’t imagine Corey Hickmann with hair. But on me, bald is “meh” at best.

Even though I have a hairdo that doesn’t look great on me, I can’t help but reflect on the lessons being bald has reminded me of or taught me.

Lesson #1: Well Trained Professionals Do a Better Job

My haircut was free, and I got what was expected from a free haircut. Now I understand why barbers need a license. If your job is to make people more attractive, there needs to be someone out there handing out licenses to make sure that happens. Because if you do this wrong, it can get ugly quickly!

The same is true when it comes to the trades. A tradesperson needs to be highly trained! A license isn’t required in every state, and I can understand why. However, I can never understand a service technician not being well-trained.

A well-trained service technician is always a must in the trades! Without proper training, there is far more at risk than just a bad haircut. A poorly trained service technician can cause permanent loss to property and body.

Lesson #2: It Refocuses You on What’s Really Important

Ego is a very powerful thing. We all have an ego, and we all have certain traits that we like about ourselves. I really liked my hair. Seriously though, it was pretty great! Yet, hair is superficial. My hair never paid anyone a compliment. It never gave to the poor or hugged a sad friend. In other words, hair is just part of our exterior.

It’s the heart and the mind that make us who we are. It’s how we treat our neighbor that matters far more than how we look.

It may seem like an odd connection, but removing my hair has encouraged me to stop thinking so much about myself. (I see the irony that I’m writing a blog about myself saying that I’m thinking about others.) However, it has served as a great reminder to look to help others instead of looking to help myself.

Lesson #3: It Will Grow Back

My hair will grow back. But, so what if it didn’t? Again, it’s just hair. It’s not that big of a deal.

But the fact that it will grow back leads to an important lesson:

What You’ve Lost Can Be Restored!

This is the lesson that I want you to take to heart today. If you have lost something truly important, it can be restored!

It is never too late to rebuild your business or restore the lost relationship! Those loses are not permanent. They are temporary.

With patience, faith, hard work, love, and good deeds, you can regrow anything!

I hope that this past week was a wonderful time for your family and a reminder of what is important!

 

Todd Liles is the Founder of Service Excellence Training and creator of the PRESS PLAY Training System.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups 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!

The Best Banana Bread Recipe

As I sat down to write this, I didn’t want to write another article about COVID19. As much as I appreciate people offering suggestions and tips to get through this, and I do read and listen to most of them, everyone is different and deals with stressful situations differently. For a lot of you, your work schedule hasn’t changed. 

With many areas in the home services industries being deemed Essential Businesses, you are still taking calls, booking appointments, and providing services to your customers. You have changed how you are doing business; adapting to remote workers, social distancing guidelines, and more stringent safety guidelines. And you are taking the necessary precautions to keep your employees, their families, and your customers safe.  

You have surrounded yourself with people who will help you if needed. Because of that, I thought I would talk about what I have learned about myself and others so far during this.  

  • There are over 300 MILLION banana bread recipes. 287 MILLION label themselves as the BEST.  
  • I have realized that the excuse, “If I only had the time…” isn’t true. And that even with ample time, I still will not clean the attic.  
  • Tiger King is as crazy as you have heard but worth watching.
  • Do not play with Snapchat filters right before your conference calls.  

After reading tens if not hundreds of banana bread recipes, I have found the basic ingredients are the same. What makes one stand out above the others? What separates the good from the best? It’s a question that we should all ask. 

There are a lot of great examples of companies with their owners and employees going above and beyond in our current crisis. Here are a few that are standing out:

Corey Hickmann, owner of Comfort Matters Heating & Cooling, who not only has been urging his customers to support locally owned businesses by purchasing gift cards, he is matching their gift card purchases. And, he is then giving the customers the matching gift card.

Dave Squires, President of Online-Access, commissioned a seamstress to make masks for his team and their spouses. They had such a positive response, they are offering the pattern online and will mail two Merv 13 panels to anyone who requests them. Dave gives credit for the idea to Carla Kaminga of Hendrix Heating in Corvallis, Oregon.

Kent Taylor, chairman of Texas Roadhouse, is giving up his salary and bonus for the remainder of 2020 to assist front-line hourly restaurant employees.  

The one clear parallel of these companies is their leadership ability to put others first. The ability to recognize when someone is struggling and lend a hand to help them up.  

What have I found that makes one recipe stand out from a sea of others? The quality of the ingredients. The same can be said for these companies. What makes them stand out? The quality of their leadership. The quality of their employees. And the quality of their company mission.  

Lynn Wise is the Founder and CEO of Contractor in Charge.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups 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!

Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!

In 2008, I lived in Southern California working for a tech company; we were a ‘start-up’ who had just gone public, and our product served photos and videos on the web before the Facebook and social media craze had fully begun. Looking back, I often wonder, “How in the world did we make it? How did we survive the 2008 crash?” But in hindsight, since we had only just started in 2005, we still had the start-up mentality in our blood; we still had the agile make-it-happen-or-die tenacity.

It was during this time, and the Christmas season, that I was invited to a place called the Crystal Cathedral for a production. The 20 million dollar building made of glass was immaculate as angels flew above the audience suspended by wires, singing Christmas Carols. My parents had often called me from Georgia and mentioned, “You should visit the Crystal Cathedral for church one Sunday!” As I sat in the shoulder to shoulder packed pew, I wished I had taken them up on the idea much sooner.

Fast forward to March of 2020, as all of us face uncertain times with the Covid-19 virus, our businesses slowing to a crawl, and grocery stores emptying by the day, I found myself reading a book by a Robert H. Schuller called Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do! Needless to say, I didn’t know that he was the builder of the Crystal Cathedral, the pastor of this church, or that his sermons had once been televised weekly in over 120 countries. His message was on the ‘Possibility Thinking Path.’

But way before Robert was a successful minister, he was a farmer in Iowa. His father built a farm in the Great Depression, and years later, he had finally reached a point where he had nine buildings for his farm on their family’s land – can you imagine? Working so hard and for so many years – years of depression, years of drought, years of 20 degrees below zero in the wintertime and unable to afford coal to heat their little farmhouse. Robert as a child would dig through the leftovers after their pigs were fed to pull out the corn cobs, hang them to dry, and that is what they used as fuel to keep their family alive during the cold, harsh winters. Pushing through and trudging on, they built up that farmland, and it was a big deal to proclaim nine buildings; that is until a tornado descended out of a gray sky one summer evening when Robert was home on summer break from college. He recalls his dad shouting for him to get his mother out of the house and meet him in the truck. Together, they drove one mile toward the tornado before they could veer off an old farm road and head two miles out of the way. From a hillside, they sat and watched over the next ten minutes as the tornado destroyed their farm and flattened all nine buildings.

In moments of utter despair, we all have a choice; a crossroads. There are no words, no comfort, no magic pill that will make it better- but there is a choice. Robert’s dad chose as they returned to their farm to witness the ruins; he fell to his knees and prayed, and then began to rebuild. Years later, he died a successful man after having rebuilt every one of those nine buildings and his farm. “Great people are ordinary people with extraordinary amounts of determination.” And that is what is going to get us through this Spring season – this unexpected turn of a season. The bloodline of our industry is strong. My friends, my contractors, my family – Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!

Written by Danielle Putnam, President of The New Flat Rate and Immediate Past President of Women in HVACR

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups 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!