The Mason Jar of Life

Written by Steve Mores

There are two sons of an alcoholic father. One struggles through life as a drunk. The other becomes a successful, ambitious businessman. When asked, “Why are you the way you are?” Both responded, “My father was an alcoholic.” It’s all about the decisions we make! How we deal with our past can either create constant depression or create wisdom through learning from it. It’s a choice!

In the animated movie The Lion King, although he may be completely crazy, Rafiki, the wise baboon, has many life lessons to teach Simba. In one scene where Rafiki is mentoring the adult Simba about how to deal with his past, Rafiki smacks Simba over the head with his cane. Simba reacts with “Ow! geez, what was that for?” and Rafiki replies, “It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past!” Comical, yes, and words to live by, absolutely! Rafiki continues: “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”

Lion King: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF39O_OQm6M

How we deal with the past in the present will profoundly affect how we run our businesses and the culture we create at work and home. It’s a choice!

We can get very distracted these days with social media, politics, the pandemic, gossip, and just all the minutiae around us. This may cause our priorities to get skewed.  

In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, the lead character Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks) said, “My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”… If life is a box of chocolates, would it always be sweet? The past will prove differently, and maybe it’s not what we take out of the box rather what we put into our life’s jar.  

 

To that point, here is what I believe is the perfect analogy:  

This is a very important life lesson that a philosophy teacher taught his students. He entered the class, cleared off his desk, and placed an empty mason jar on top of the desk. He proceeded to fill up the jar with golf balls until he could fit no more. He looked at the classroom and asked his students if they agreed that the jar was full. Every student agreed that the jar was full.

The teacher then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar with the golf balls. The pebbles filled the space between the golf balls. He asked a second time if the jar was full. Once again, they agreed that it was full.

Now the teacher picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the mason jar. The sand filled all the empty space between the golf balls and pebbles. He asked a third time if the jar was full. The students agreed it was technically full.

Finally, the teacher pulled out two beer bottles from under his desk and poured one into the jar filling the space between the sand. Now the students began to laugh, wondering how far this was going.

The teacher waited until the laughter stopped. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life,” he started. “The golf balls represent the important things. Your family, children, health, friends, and passions. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house, and car. The sand is everything else—the small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for pebbles or golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the most important things. Pay attention to the important things in your life. Enjoy time with family. Go to dinner with your spouse. Play games with your kids. There will ALWAYS be time to clean the house or take yourself shopping.

Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. The rest is just sand. You are dismissed.”

Before the students left, one shouted out. “You never mentioned what the beer represents!”

The professor smiled and said, “Well, I’m glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room to have a couple of beers with a friend.”

Teacher’s analogy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqGRnlXplx0

To expand upon this analogy, the golf balls represent the things that should be a top priority in life: Faith, Family, Friends, Health, and Freedom. The pebbles represent important things, like our business, careers, and possessions, which all support the top priorities in one way or another. And the sand represents all the other small stuff that occupies our time: social media, politics, gossip, divisiveness, and the like. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be informed or have an opinion, as long as we respect others. Filling our jar with sand first will not leave any room for the most important things in life.  

Dwelling on the mistakes of the past can lead to depression. Learning lessons from the past creates wisdom. How we deal with the past and prioritize our present will either create anxiety or hope for the future. It’s a choice!

 

Steve Mores is the Divisional President 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.

Rock & Roll Analogies

Written by Steve Mores

OK, let’s have some fun! After each song title, say the words “in my business,” and we can analogize from there. Sing along if you like!

Come Together (Beatles) in my business: Having a total team effort with everyone on the same page, working for the same cause, towards SMART goals that have been communicated and are understood by all.

Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd) in my business: Albeit spinning the meaning, build your business brick by brick with a solid foundation to build upon. Each step of the way follows a plan with clearly stated processes and procedures that can be followed and duplicated.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Rolling Stones) in my business: Things will not always go your way or as expected. Stuff happens, obstacles get in the way, but we must adjust, adapt, and keep moving forward.

Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen) in my business: Standing still or just keeping pace with the competition is not a recipe for success. Being strategic, innovative, and creative with your products and services will pay dividends in the race for new business.

Take it Easy (Eagles) in my business: Although keeping a fast pace is good for business, you also need to take time for yourself and your family. That is our top priority and the main reason we are building our businesses in the first place. Take time away from business to relax and enjoy some family time and time for yourself.

Imagine (John Lennon) in my business: Dream big and imagine the amazing possibilities that a well-run business has to offer. Don’t let the naysayers get in your way. If you think you can, you can. Dream big.

Living in the Past (Jethro Tull) in my business: Humbly remembering your past successes is a good thing that will keep you motivated. Yet dwelling on the past mistakes without learning from them can be depressing. Celebrate your successes and become wise from your mistakes.

I Can See for Miles (The Who) in my business: Having an annual plan with goals, along with a 5, 10, 15, and 20-year plans, will give you a road map to success. Seek mentors, learn from other successes and failures, read business-related books, and apply the knowledge. Implement and execute daily with your focus on the future.

Turn it on Again (Genesis) in my business: As the saying goes, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Failure should never overtake you when your determination to succeed is stronger. Keep it turned on!

Don’t Bring me Down (ELO) in my business: Don’t let others bring you down by telling you it can’t be done or that the risk is too high. Calculated risks are good for business and are needed to grow. “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.”  – John F. Kennedy 

Dirty Deeds (AC/DC) in my business: There is no room in any business for unethical or shady behavior. There is plenty of room to always keep the best interest of our clients in mind while offering valid solutions to discovered challenges.  

I Want You to Want Me (Cheap Trick) in my business: This is what I like to call the “I gotta guy” syndrome. 

Your service should be so extraordinary that your clients want to refer you to family and friends without being prompted or compensated. “You need someone in the trades? Well, I gotta guy!”  

Thank You (Led Zeppelin) in my business: There is always time to be grateful for what our businesses have afforded us, our families, and our team members. Sincerely show gratitude and thanks to your clients for trusting you to service them and to your team members when they go above and beyond expectations. 

Into the Great Wide Open (Tom Petty) in my business: There are many opportunities out there, and you must seize the moments. Make it happen and have fun in the process. 

Taking Care of Business (BTO) in my business: I had to throw this one in here since it is so obvious. It addresses all the above!

Don’t Stop Believing (Journey) and Dream On (Aerosmith) in my business: No analogy needed. ROCK ON! 

 

Steve Mores is the Divisional President 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.

Three Tips to Increase Productivity and Sales During Shoulder Seasons

Written by Cydney Myers

In the field service industry, HVAC in particular, service providers are all too familiar with the shoulder season. In fact, many plan and track their sales cycles around these typically slow times of the year.

So, when exactly is the “shoulder season” in field service?

Taking a nod from the travel industry, the field service professionals define shoulder seasons as the times of the year when temperatures fall between 45 and 65 degrees – usually during spring and fall months. Because temperatures remain fairly moderate during these seasons, there isn’t as much need for heating and cooling systems – typically resulting in a decreased use, service, and ultimately business for field service teams.

While many service providers plan ahead, hoping to make up for slow service seasons during peak summer and winter months, there are several steps field service providers can take to increase sales and revenue during shoulder seasons.

 

Three Tips to Increase Business and Sales During Shoulder Seasons

1. Proactively identify and document opportunities for additional service

During busy seasons, incorporating additional steps into your technicians’ on-the-job work procedures can help your team identify and schedule follow-up services that can be performed during shoulder seasons. Focusing on scheduling and verifying these additional services while business is thriving can help your Sales teams increase revenue leading into months when demand is typically low.

 

Focus on selling and scheduling preventative maintenance plans

 It’s no secret that well-maintained equipment operates more smoothly and efficiently, lasts longer, and often requires fewer surprise repairs. In fact, research shows that regular HVAC maintenance can reduce the risk of costly repairs by 95%. During peak seasons, scheduling preventive maintenance visits with clients is a great way to generate and guarantee business and revenue for your team during shoulder seasons while also helping your customers avoid potentially costly repairs.

 

Streamline communication amongst technicians and Sales teams

 When performing a specific repair on a job, identifying, documenting, and efficiently communicating additional work opportunities with Sales may not always be top of mind for the on-site technician. To help ensure these new sales opportunities are logged and effectively executed, consider adding this as a required and regular practice for technicians on the job.

Modern technology solutions like the XOi Vision app can easily facilitate this process by allowing service providers to add a simple yes/no step to a job workflow to identify potential sales opportunities. For example, a step may be added to a given workflow in Vision that asks, “Is this unit a candidate for a refrigerant retrofit, conversion, or replacement?” If the technician answers yes, the app can automatically notify the Sales team, allowing them to plan to discuss this additional work during the shoulder season.

 

Visually document signs of equipment wear and tear

 Requiring technicians to capture job photos and videos is the best way to improve transparency with your office and customers – especially when working on complex equipment in hard-to-reach spaces. When capturing these photos and videos within Vision, we suggest tagging any specific signs of wear and tear that may be present on a specific unit. These photos and videos can be valuable sources of visual proof for Sales teams when verifying additional service opportunities.

For example, during seasons when we shift from cooling to heating, consider adding a workflow step to your common on-the-job procedures that asks the technician to photograph any signs of rust on heating elements and exchangers. These images can be helpful tools to Sales teams when recommending additional service during shoulder seasons.

 

2. Plan ahead to hire and train seasonal staff before peak seasons

In HVAC, business owners can guarantee that business and sales will pick up in the summer and winter seasons as dormant units kick back on, and customers increase usage. In response, many service owners plan to add on additional technicians to help support this increased demand. With new staff coming on during peak seasons, many service providers face the added challenge of recruiting, training and supporting increased headcounts.

To help your team grow and scale efficiently while ensuring a high level of quality and customer service, many service providers are turning to modern technology solutions that can help streamline and standardize on-the-job procedures and work documentation while also improving technician training support and troubleshooting.

 

3. Focus on customer service and market differentiation

Research has shown that if a company’s customer service is excellent, 78% of consumers will continue to do business with that company – even after a mistake. In retrospect, a reported 80% of consumers would consider switching to a company’s competitor following a bad service experience.

During peak seasons, finding ways to differentiate your service and improve your overall customer experience can help boost business during shoulder seasons. For service providers looking to increase trust and satisfaction amongst customers, we recommend utilizing technologies that can help customers better understand, view, and verify the services a technician may perform or recommend while also expediting the time it takes to complete a given job.

 

Cydney Myers is the Marketing Manager for XOi Technologies.

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.

Winning at the Kitchen Table

Written by Michelle LaFrance

You’ve been invited to a seat at the kitchen table; however, dinner is not served. And to make matters even worse, your competition has been invited as well!

Selling at the kitchen table isn’t easy. Consider the fact that homeowners shopping for plumbing, a new HVAC system, or a remodeling project seem to have it built into their DNA to get three competitive quotes (some are even more enthusiastic and get four or five quotes). You can start to see that your time at the kitchen table is like an audition. Who will land the leading role?

It’s showtime! How you handle your time at the kitchen table is key. And just like a performer needs to read the audience, your ability to close the sale has everything to do with your ability to accurately read the prospect and understand the set of values that will be driving their buying decision.

There are two very important things to understand:

  1. What causes your prospect to say YES to you and your offer?
  2. What drives your prospect to say NO to you and your offer?

It’s the greatest discovery in the history of business. People buy based on a certain personality profile is key to winning at the kitchen table.

 

TIP #1: LET YOUR PROSPECT DETERMINE YOUR PRESENTATION

Pre-determined sales presentations only work with some people some of the time.

Some sales teams use an iPad that some people like, and some won’t.

Some sales teams use a pitch book, a series of set questions designed to gather data that can use in ‘the close .’ However, the answers to these questions may not have anything to do with your prospect’s actual buying behavior.

Any canned sales process that does not consider your prospect’s values will miss out on the very reason that people make buying decisions. On the contrary, when you address values, you’ll not only get the sale, you get a higher level of satisfaction, positive reviews, and referrals.

 

TIP #2: LEARN TO SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE 

People’s criteria to make a buying decision are so different that you can think of it as speaking another language.

Consider this: Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, identified four distinct personality types, each so different from the next that he learned to treat them differently medically based on their personality profile. He categorized people into categories that he called the Four Temperaments.

What does this tell you? It points to the fact that any canned presentation that doesn’t consider the four personality types will only work sometimes. It makes sense that to increase your effectiveness, you need to adjust your presentation to match your prospect’s personality type.

The good news is that the solution is easier than you may think. It all comes down to understanding your prospect’s values and knowing how to deliver the right message to the right person.

 

TIP #3: THE ANSWER IS IN THEIR HIDDEN SET OF VALUES

Learning about what motivates each personality type is easier than you think. The best advice is to stop thinking like you. Get out of your head what you think is needed to close the sales and place all your attention on your prospect because they tell you who they are and what they need from you.  

Values are important because they drive behavior and drive buying decisions. 

You can gather a great deal of data from a person’s behavior. You’ve noticed that people behave differently, right?  

  • Have you ever had someone take the wheel from your sales presentation and start driving the process? This is a personality type.
  • Have you had the feeling of your prospect quietly examining you…like you’re being vetted? This is a personality type.
  • How about the person that welcomes you into their home, offers you something to eat, and wants to get to know you before you start addressing their issue? This is a personality type.
  • What about the person that wants the case studies, consumer reports, stats, datasheets, and everything else? Yes, this is a personality type too.

 

~Each of the above behaviors is just one way to identify the personality type you’re dealing with. Many behaviors will indicate who you are dealing with. 

 ~ Each personality type has a hidden set of values that need to be addressed for them to say YES to you.  

 ~Each of these personality types has a hidden fear when deciding who to do business with. Alleviate the fear and increase your odds of getting a YES.

 ~Each personality type has an internal ‘tripwire’ (something that turns them off) and will cause them to say NO to you and your offer.

 

 The more you learn about personality types, and what they value, the better you can successfully move through your sale process. You’ll be able to discern when to break out that iPad and when to leave it alone. You’ll know what to say in response to the set of questions in a way that will make sense to them.

Now…about the invitation to the kitchen table. When you learn to speak your prospect’s language, you can gain confidence in your ability to deliver the right message so that your company will be invited back to do that HVAC install, plumbing, or home remodeling project.

Bon appetite!

 

Michelle LaFrance is a Certified and Licensed BANKCODE Trainer.

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.

Customer Service Best Practices: Importance of Live Phone Support

Written by Savannah McDermott

 

When it comes to the daily routines, the regularly scheduled appointments, and other things of the sort, modern consumers want digital, self-service experiences. They want to book online.

But there’s also a reason 911 is a phone number and not a form filled on a website. It’s human instinct to pick up the phone when something’s complicated, or worse yet, an emergency. In high-tension situations, you make a call to receive authentic, person-to-person interaction, understanding, and quick resolution of your issue.

Having live phone support in the home services industry is as important as having online booking and live chat services. Don’t believe me? Let’s dig in a little deeper.

Why Is Live Phone Support So Important in Home Services?

Let’s play a quick game of “What Would You Do?”:

It’s 2:00 in the morning. You wake up to use the bathroom, and blurry-eyed, you stumble down the hallway to get there, only to find that a pipe has burst and you’re ankle-deep in sewer water. What do you do?

Do you, A: Pull out your computer, search for a plumbing company, and book an appointment online for the next morning?

Or, B: Pick up the phone.

Situations like this one—which are uniquely common in our industry—make it incredibly important to offer around-the-clock live phone support. Having a real person with real empathy, understanding, and the ability to ask the right questions to help solve an urgent issue can help:

  • Improve the customer experience
  • Increase booking conversions
  • Retain valuable customers

 

Here’s how.

How Live Phone Support Improves the Customer Experience

Beyond emergencies, there are other less-talked-about aspects of why offering live phone support is valuable.

  • Live phone support allows customers to book over the phone at any time, including after-hours.

In a scenario like the one described above, a customer wants to speak to someone “in-person”—not hit an answering machine and leave a message. If you offer 24/7 live phone support with a home services expert, a customer can count on your company to be there, any hour of the day, ready to empathize with and help solve their problem. Not just any live answering service can do that.

  • Live phone support empowers quick issue resolution.

When a customer calls your company, they want a solution to their issue as quickly as possible. If a company has a long wait time or no phone support at all, that customer will hang up and move on. Same goes if a company does answer the phone but doesn’t schedule an appointment or get them the emergency help they need. By offering live phone support with an expert that’s ready to serve, you can be there for your customer in their time of need and help relieve their stress by booking an appointment immediately.

  • Live phone support shows customers you care and enables their trust.

Interactions in the home services industry can be intimate and vulnerable. Homeowners must open their homes to strangers to handle emergencies, which can be both stressful and expensive. As a result, customers seek genuine empathy, sensitivity, and trust from their provider. By offering live phone support with people trained in the trades and understand home service issues, you can show your customers authentic care and help ensure confidence, encouraging them to choose your company when emergency strikes again.

As you can see, live phone support helps ensure a positive customer experience in stressful circumstances. With this improved customer experience, conversion rates improve as well—and it shows in the numbers.

How Live Phone Support Improves Conversion

While many homeowners start their home services consumer journey online (via search engines), several still convert by calling. According to a study by Invoca, the percentage of consumers (by trade category) who call after searching is:

  • Appliance repair: 92%
  • Electrical: 82%
  • HVAC repair: 84%
  • Plumbing: 93%
  • Roofing: 84%

Many of those call-in interactions result in a close/purchase. According to the same study, 40% of consumers who call from search convert, making phone services one of the most valuable conversion tools for a company. On average, the amount of money spent after search per home services category is:

  • Appliance repair: $162
  • Electrical: $597
  • HVAC repair: $908
  • Plumbing: $614
  • Roofing: $4,589

As you can see, when there’s an emergency or large project at stake, the consumers will call. And when they call, they will need service (and that service might bring in some revenue).

By catering to how your customers want to communicate, you’ll set yourself up to be their go-to home service provider every time.

 

Savannah McDermott is the Head of Customer Success at Schedule Engine.

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.