Freezing Faucets Are Good for Marketing

I just got a crazy idea.

As part of your plumbing maintenance and/or another service, does anyone offer “winterizing?” Here we are closing a year and beginning a new one – what a great time to write up a simple script and call your existing customer base to ask if they need anything winterized.

I realize those of you above the Mason-Dixon line have mostly frost-proof faucets, etc., but what about all the other stuff your customer owns…the overlooked stuff? You know, the generators, motorhomes, boats, cars, go-karts, motorcycles. Okay, a little overboard on the variety, perhaps, because not everyone has those things, but most everyone has something.

Shoot, I know it’s the dead of winter, but some things still need taken care of, and they’re a pain…but a better word for it would be an inconvenience.

I would gladly pay to have my motorhome winterized each year. What a pain, and as a homeowner, it’s just another ‘thing,’ an item on my already busy honey-do list that the honey doesn’t even ask me to do – it’s really the list that I know I have to do, but it eats into my focus time, my playtime, my fun work time.

I forgot to winterize my boat once; that cost me a new engine.

If I buy a new motorcycle or ATV and the former owner just added water, not antifreeze, well, that means an expensive trip to the Powersports dealer.

I hear all the time people agonizing over slow seasons, but I’m here to tell you, there’s no such thing as slow seasons if you just think about everything that you are capable of doing. Proactive winterizing would be a great thing to offer in the slow fall. But hey, why not in the winter, too, if you already missed your shot at the fall? You can even use the weather forecast in your script to make it more relevant and time-sensitive. “Mr. Jones, this is Rodney over at Best Plumbing. The forecast says it is going to drop down to freezing temperatures tonight. Have you winterized your home this year? I’m going to be in your area this afternoon; would you like me to stop by and winterize your home and any other things you have in your possession that could be at risk for freeze damage? I’m running a special for $______; did you know that a typical frozen pipe/frozen _____ can cost you upwards of $_____?”

Just throwing out some ideas for fun.

I had a plumber re-pipe most of my house a couple of years ago and had him add two faucets for my hot tub.  Hot and cold.

I was not there when he did it (how often have you heard that?), and he just put regular faucets on my deck with no frost protection.

I’m in Georgia, but it is North Georgia; we have already had about four nights get below 32 (cry me a river, right?) but usually have a few low 20’s, and every two or three years, we might get a night or two in the teens.

So, I try to remember to put the Styrofoam covers on, but my plumber did tell me that they have never had one freeze yet. I bet he gets 35 miles per gallon with his service truck, also.

A professional pair of eyes might remind me to add those Styrofoam covers on my non-frost proof faucets. That professional pair of eyes could be yours! And if you keep good notes in your system, you could run through and check everyone who doesn’t have frost-proof pipes; you could even check if you noted from a previous visit that they had a boat or a motorcycle or another gadget. There are so many possibilities!

Continue to let your customers know how helpful you are and in all the ways that you can help them. Maybe you aren’t in plumbing, but what else could you be helpful with right now? It could be something as simple as going around and offering to collect dead Christmas trees! There is always something you can do with your abilities and with the equipment you own. Write out your plan and follow the plan to execute the new marketing initiative.

By the way, I have some good news. These seasons, as I’ve noticed, tend to cycle! So, once you see something working, go ahead and put it on your marketing calendar for the next year. You don’t have to reinvent the strategy. If your winterizing campaign works, they’ll need it every year as long as winters continue to show up!

Be safe out there.

 

Rodney Koop is the founder and CEO of The New Flat Rate.

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 Kindness Culture

Three things: A Quick thought – A Story – A Kindness Culture

A Quick Thought:

We all talk about getting our customers to like and trust us. It all starts with genuinely treating people with kindness because it’s the right thing to do. Believe it or not, sometimes kindness is not a given. To some, it comes naturally all the time. It is part of their being. To others, it depends on what mood they are in. And some even need to be trained that it is the right thing to do.

A Story:

Michelle Hogan from our team shared this true story with me recently, from Kinder Brothers International, that I believe illustrates why it is important to act on kindness, as well as show your gratitude and appreciation when you receive it.

In the fall of 1860, the steamship “Lady Elgin” set out with a total of 393 passengers and crew members to make the trip from Chicago to Milwaukee. Just off the shore of Evanston, she was rammed by a lumber schooner and sank. As a result, 279 of the passengers and crew members died. Of those saved, 17 of them were saved by a student at Northwestern University, Edward W. Spence. He made 16 trips all from the shore to the sinking ship and back again, saving the 17 lives.

Because of physical exertion and the coldness of the water, Spence was in shock at the end of the 16th trip. It was reported that as they carried him to the hospital, he kept asking the question, “Did I do my best?” As a result of the incident, Edward Spence spent the remainder of his life as an invalid in a wheelchair.

Fifty years later, Northwestern granted him a Bachelor of Arts degree, not because he finished the classwork – he didn’t. He was awarded the degree because they decided he deserved it. It was at that time the plaque commemorating his heroism was placed on the wall of the old Coast Guard Station at the southeast corner of the campus. It hangs there today.

When he was 80 years old, Edward Spence was interviewed by Chicago newspaper reporters. They asked him, “What is your most vivid memory of that tragic fall day when the “Lady Elgin” went down off the coast of Evanston?” Mr. Spence’s answer was, “The fact that not one of the 17 people whose lives I saved ever came back to say thank you — not one.”

Amazing! Expressions of kindness, and in this case in a heroic way, should never go unappreciated. I’m sure that Mr. Spence wasn’t thinking of the victims thanking him during this heroic act, yet years later, that’s what bothered him.

This story reminded me of my friends at GEM Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing in Providence, RI. They have built a company culture around kindness, without the expectation of something in return. The difference in comparing their story to the one that Mr. Spence had experienced is that their Random Acts of Kindness® have paid unexpected dividends.     

A Kindness Culture:

I met the GEM Boys, Lenny, Eddie, Larry, and Anthony, owners of GEM Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing, several years ago, and I was always impressed by their passion for their business, their community, and growing their company through good will. I recently caught up with Larry Gemma, who, with passion and excitement, detailed his kindness culture.

Larry relates that their employees are all trained on a culture of helping others, not to expect anything in return, but because it’s the right thing to do. Surprisingly, he said that not everyone hired is comfortable with this culture. It takes about a year for a new hire to internalize this to become second nature. “It is embedded in our culture to the point where they eventually don’t even think about it. It just is what they do!”

It all started with their Random Act of Kindness® Card. Their techs and other employees are expected to help others that they observe in their travels that need help or assistance in some way. Then they hand them a Random Acts of Kindness® Card. They are trained to stop what they are doing when they see someone in need, and they don’t need to request permission to do so.

 

This has evolved into a company culture of kindness, so much so that Larry heads a division in their company that is entirely dedicated to this cause. GEM has too many outreach and good will programs to detail in this article, but here are some of the highlights of the community programs that they have started or are involved in:

  • GEM is a huge supporter of the Special Olympic
  • Founding Sponsor of the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation
    • Gemma’s mother died from breast cancer
    • They started this foundation to help with the emotional aspect of cancer
    • Works with both men and women
  • Flames of Hope Foundation:
    • They were the first to have the RI statehouse light up in pink
      • This is their main fundraiser for the year with over 100,000 people attending
      • This fundraiser and event started small and has grown into their largest event of the year for the community

  • McAuley House – They help underprivileged kids
  • YMCA – they fundraise to send kids to camp
  • Heat for Heroes
    • Just started this year
    • People nominate a vet to receive a new furnace
  • They also hire veterans and help them with applications for their company and other careers outside their industry as well

All these programs and more, along with the Random Acts of Kindness® culture, have made GEM a beacon in the community and the dominant go-to company for install and service in their markets.

I’d like to close with one more interesting story and unexpected benefit that GEM had experienced through building this culture.

Years ago, the GEM Boys and their team were in a marketing meeting discussing getting a catchy company phone number that would be easy for their community to remember. Half-jokingly and half-serious, someone exclaimed, “how about 867-5309!”, the 1981 – 867-5309/Jenny Tommy Tutone hit. (I know you are singing the song in your head right now.) So, they decided to go on a search to see who owned the rights to it. Coincidentally, it was owned by Brown University in Providence, RI. They made a call there to see if they could purchase the rights to the number. The person they spoke with at Brown University said that they never give up their phone numbers. GEM pressed further and found the person in charge of the phone numbers and basically received the same response, but during the conversation, this person recalled that GEM was heavily involved in promoting the Special Olympics. This person was closely involved in the Special Olympics as well and ended up giving the number to GEM, who now use it as their phone number and own the rights to it!

You never know where kindness and good will lead to, but there is no downside.

Thank you, Larry, for your time and for allowing me to share your story.

Creating a Culture of Kindness within your company will have an exponential positive impact on your company and the community. Start small, think big, and help spread acts of genuine kindness in your community. Maybe together, we can make this contagious and spread this much-needed kindness around the world!

 

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!

How to Crush Christmas Objections

Christmas is right around the corner, and we all know what Christmas brings with it! Objections!  Yes, tis the season for the Christmas Objection. Once a year, your client gets to dust off the old excuses from last Christmas and bring them out one-by-one. 

Here are some of the classics you can expect to hear this year:

  • “Maybe after Christmas” This one is a tried and true classic. It offers no explanation and no real excuse. 
  • “I just don’t have the time right now. Call after the Holidays.” This one is a Holiday favorite of moms everywhere.
  • “Things are tight right now; call after Christmas.” This is my Dad’s favorite objection. 
  • “My little girl wants the Barbie Dreamhouse. I can’t do both.” And, of course, no Christmas season would be complete without a tear-jerker. This little beauty is best delivered while “butterfly kisses” plays in the background.

Tis the Season for Christmas Objections, and Tis the Season to Crush Them.

You are about to encounter some serious objections, and I want to give you some tools to stop them dead in their tracks. 

How to Crush the Christmas Objection

Don’t bring up Christmas. 

It is only natural to talk about Christmas when you enter the home. All of our training has taught us to notice our surroundings and then talk about them. However, I recommend that you don’t bring up Christmas with your client. 

Here’s why you want to avoid the Christmas topic with your clients.

  • Don’t remind them of the money they have already spent. 
  • Avoid connecting yourself with an emotional holiday that is already stressful.
  • Your clients don’t need your help creating new objections they haven’t considered.
Build Value, Need, and Want. 

The subject of objections can’t be covered without first marching through the topics of value building. To keep this section short, I will leave it to the following: no matter the time of year, you should follow a successful communication system. If you don’t have a successful communication system, then use our PRESS PLAY Training System. [CLICK HERE TO DISCOVER MORE]

Master the Christmas Objection Crushers.  

In this portion of today’s post, you will learn how to eliminate and destroy the objections.   

Develop the “No Excuses Mentality.” 

Getting into the habit of accepting excuses is a killer to success. “Where do the excuses end?” See, after Christmas, there is tax season and then summer vacation and then back to school…where does it end!?

One of the best things that I have ever heard is, “if we ACCEPT the EXCUSES, we ACCEPT the FAILURE!”

What are you willing to accept? In the end, it is that choice that will drive and dictate your results. After all, the results you achieve are a direct reflection of the reflection in the mirror.

Plant the Financing Seed Early in the Call. 

This script will set the stage for the unexpected event of an emergency repair or replacement. To create clarity, I have separated the script into paragraphs that represent the major ideas and transitions.

“You know Bob and Betty, I have found that some of my clients have saved or planned for this type of investment, and they simply take care of the payment after the job.

However, many of my clients have not planned for this or saved for this type of situation. 

So, they want or need to take advantage of our Flexible Financing Options. Is this something that you have saved for, or do you think the flexibility of financing would be important to you?”

Seek a Solution to the Affordability Problem.

This script aids in handling the objection of convenience, timing, and financing.

“I certainly understand that the timing of this discussion may not be the best.

Other than the timing, is there any other reason why you wouldn’t feel comfortable moving forward with the solutions that we have discussed?

Great, let me ask a quick question, Bob. When do things tend to go wrong with our Heating and Cooling Systems/Plumbing/Electrical?

That’s right, typically when we can least afford it, right?

But really Bob, when is it convenient to talk about making this type of investment? Right!

You know, it’s never really convenient or easy deciding to invest this kind of money. I would agree with you 100%.

Bob, it’s obviously something that you feel you NEED, or you wouldn’t have invested this time to find out what your options are. Since we both agree there is a need, and since you have told me that you feel we are the right company and that the solutions make sense based on your needs, why don’t we address making this investment more flexible for you?

I would like to show you some amazing offers that we have now with our financing vendors. Fair?”

The Uncle Eddie. 

And now, for the fun of the holiday, I will give you one of my personal favorite Christmas Objection Scripts. I call it “The Uncle Eddie.”

“John, have you ever seen the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? That is one of my favorite movies.  

The movie does such a good job of highlighting the joys and stresses of the holidays.  

And poor Clark, he never seems to be able to catch a break, does he? Things can be looking up for him, but then, they turn around as soon as Uncle Eddie knocks on the door.

Uncle Eddie is a lot like Murphy’s Law. He shows at just the right time to make things worse. Now, that makes for a great movie, but it doesn’t make for a great life.

These repairs that I’m showing you here are just like Uncle Eddie’s Christmas card. He’s writing to say, “Clark, I’m coming for Christmas! I’m going to show up at the worst possible time!” 

However, I’m here, right now. And I can stop Uncle Eddie from showing up at all. Wouldn’t you rather go ahead and take care of this now and avoid the headache that’s coming?”

 

I hope this will help you avoid The Christmas Objections and lead to a very Happy Holidays!

 

Todd Liles is the founder of Service Excellence Training and the 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!

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

I really struggled to write this article. I wanted to write something about New Year’s Resolutions and what we need to do to regroup and focus on our business and ourselves. Researching this, I found plenty of articles for inspiration, too many. You don’t need another article on starting the New Year off on the right foot and how to analyze your successes and failures of the past year. So, assuming you have or are in the process of choosing your resolutions, I am writing to give you tips on sticking with them. 

Try not to view resolutions as all or nothing. If you hate working out, then your resolution to work out every day is not going to work. You are going to be miserable and finally stop, then beat yourself up for breaking your resolution again. Instead, find something you enjoy doing, and do it. View it as an investment in yourself. Take away the mindset of CHANGING,  but view it as INVESTING in who you are.

Steve Mores with Dynamic Air Quality Solutions recently wrote an article for Comanche Marketing about Risk Taking. He referenced a mantra, Everything is learnable, from Marelisa Fabrega, for changing your life:

· I wish I were…

· I wish I had…

· I wish I knew how to…

Use these questions to help decide how to invest in yourself. Find something important to you, not what is expected of you by society or someone else. 

Create a plan.

 Set your goal, define the steps to get there, and focus on the process. Make small changes that will become habits. Be prepared for obstacles and how you will overcome them. 

Follow the Experts. 

You don’t have to do it alone. Find people who have been there and can help you achieve your goals. Whether online or in-person, build a network of resources. 

They can help you with questions, give you advice, and offer support. 

Find ways to hold yourself accountable.

 Share your goals with a friend, print them, and post on your bulletin board, anything that will hold you accountable. This is hard to do. Letting someone know your goals also lets someone know when you don’t reach them. 

But this is probably one of the most important steps to take in holding yourself accountable. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you fall or fail. 

Author Brené Brown offers the advice, ‘Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love.’ However, the late musician Daniel Johnston said, ‘Most of the worst things said about me, I’ve said myself.’ 

A lot of us tend to treat ourselves more like Daniel than Brené. Everyone makes mistakes; it is what you learn and how you react to them that will make you a better person. 

Stay inspired. 

Remember, you are investing in yourself. Make yourself a priority. The goal you chose was important to you. Sometimes you just need to remind yourself why this was important to you. 

 

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!