Did You Find Everything You Wanted?

Within a four-mile radius of our house, there are 17 grocery stores. Of those, I frequent three. Not because I want to, and not because I like shopping, but because none of them carry everything I want. The three I go to most are Sprouts, Tom Thumb, and Trader Joe’s. All of them have the plusses and minuses, each has their idiosyncrasies, but there’s one thing all have in common: when I check out, the checker always asks, “did you find everything you wanted?” or some variation of that question.

When I was young, I don’t remember anyone asking me, “did you find everything you wanted?” I think they were more concerned with getting me the hell out of there before I broke anything. But at some point, some retail consultant must have figured out that to maximize the dollar purchases for each visit, you need to ask people, “did you find everything you wanted?” It’s a good way to increase sales, keep in touch with the customer, and take care of the customer. Every checker in every one of the 17 grocery stores in my area knows to ask every customer that question.

Have you ever had the experience in a long line at the grocery store where the person in front of you with a million groceries in her cart suddenly pauses and says to the checker, “oh, I forgot peanut butter. I’ll be right back.”? The 30 people in line behind her all roll their eyes as she meanders off to find the peanut butter and maybe pick up a few other items. You don’t want to be THAT person, right?

So I had this really interesting experience at Trader Joe’s. I’m in line, checking out, busy time, several people in line behind me, and the checker asks the question, “Did you find everything you wanted?” I said I did, and then, with a painful flash of memory, realized that I hadn’t. “Argh,” I slapped my forehead, “I forgot flour – my wife asked me to get flour.” I looked at the line behind me – I don’t want to be THAT person – “But, I can get it next time,” I told her.   

“It’s no problem,” the checker said, “we’ll get it fast.” She rang a little bell. Instantly a young man appeared. “John,” the checker said, “this gentleman needs flour.”

“What kind of flour, and what size,” John asked me. I told him, and he jogged off. (Not exaggerating here – he jogged!)

He returned with the flour even before the checker finished ringing up the rest of my groceries. No rolling of the eyes behind me, Trader Joe’s got at extra seven bucks, and I made my wife happy (priceless).

An Interesting Fact

One of the key performance indicators (KPI’s) of grocery stores is sales per square foot. Guess what, in that measure, Trader Joe’s is number one. In fact, they’re number 1 every year. Number two is so far behind that Trader Joe’s should win the number one place, the number two place, and the number three place.   

A Funny Story

Again, I’m at the grocery store. This time it’s Tom Thumb. I cannot find graham cracker crumbs. I’m going to make a Key Lime Pie for my mother-in-law, who loves my Key Lime Pie, and I need graham cracker crumbs for the crust. I can’t find them, and there’s no employee to ask. I give up, grab a box of graham crackers, gonna pound the crackers, and make my own damn crumbs. While I’m in the checkout line, it occurs to me: the checkout clerk is going to ask THE QUESTION, and I’ll find out where the graham cracker crumbs are. Furthermore, there is no one in line behind me, so I don’t have to worry about being THAT guy. Sure enough, the cashier asks, “Did you find everything you wanted?” I beam. “I did not,” I reply, “I couldn’t find graham cracker crumbs.” 

The clerk looks thoughtful and then says, “Yeah, I don’t know if we carry that.” I wait expectantly. I arch my eyebrows and cock my head, waiting for some kind of resolution. Waiting for the follow up that never happens. Nothing. Nada. Zero. He continues ringing up my groceries, reads me the total. I pay and leave…

The Interesting Fact Corollary

Tom Thumb does not lead the grocery industry in sales per square foot.

The Lessons 

There are so many lessons from this story. Here are two that I got:

  1. Incremental sales are important. There are many reasons why Trader Joe’s leads the industry in sales per square foot, but one of them is incremental sales. They make it easy for their customers to buy more. If you want incremental sales, then make it easy for your customers to buy more.
  2. Training and Processes. Training is important. Processes are important. Training to processes is REALLY important. Tom Thumb has training. The cashier knew to ask the question. He didn’t know what to do if the answer was “no” and probably had no supporting process if the customer answers “no”. Trader Joe’s has training. They have the processes. They train to those processes. If you answer the question “no”, the cashier knows to ring the bell. If stock runner hears the bell, he knows to drop everything and get to the customer, and get his product quickly, so the customer doesn’t feel awkward, and the people in line don’t roll their eyes. Result: increased sales, happy customers, and industry-leading KPI’s.
How About You?

What’s your takeaway from the story? What did you learn? What will you do differently? I’d like to know. Email me and let me know… David.Heimer@ServiceNation.com

 

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!

Risk-Taking

We have all heard the expression, “don’t try, just do.” So, “try” many times has a negative connotation. 

Especially when knowing that doing, and not just trying, will have a positive outcome. For example: “I’m going to try to eat healthier” or “I’m going to try and exercise more.” In both cases, doing it will have great health benefits, so “don’t try, just do.”

I would suggest that when it comes to taking risks, “try” can have a more positive connotation because the outcome may result in success or failure, and that is not as predictable. So when taking risks, “you can do it if you try.”

Taking risks doesn’t mean that you will succeed every time. The risk may lead to success that you can celebrate or failure that you can learn from. Either way, it is better to have tried and failed rather than having never tried at all.

Risk-taking involves thinking outside the box and may stretch you beyond your comfort zone. It may involve hiring that person from outside the industry, looking at acquisitions to expand, or adding plumbing to your HVAC company. All these risks need to be calculated and planned for, and not just treated as “risky behavior.” If planned for, risk-taking can become very rewarding. 

Once again, risk-taking is not as predictable as the results achieved from eating healthier or exercising regularly, so it may make you uncomfortable, which may cause you not to try. The uncertainty may make you uneasy, yet the rewards can be great. The fear of failure will keep you from succeeding and achieving your dreams and goals.

 

“Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

 

You see, risk-taking in and of itself is not about achieving a positive outcome from every chance; rather it’s a process of learning and adjusting until you succeed. The key to success is learning from your failures and moving past them.

 

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

 

Failure should not be viewed as a negative, but as a learning experience that leads to wisdom. It makes one stronger and persistent. Your desire for success in anything that you do should always trump your fear of failure.

Yes, taking risks does involve failure. If it didn’t, and you were successful every time that you tried something, then it wouldn’t be a risk at all. It’s OK that you don’t succeed every time because you learn from every failure, which makes you a better person by improving your ability to recover faster the next time a difficult situation comes your way.

The worse thing that can happen is that you stop taking risks due to experiencing failure. When this happens, we become stagnant, and growth becomes difficult. When learning from failure and moving on, one becomes humbly confident. That may sound contradictory, yet failure teaches us to be humble, and learning from it will build confidence to overcome the fear of the next risk.

Fortunately, according to many psychologists, confidence is a learnable skill. 

In an article written by Marelisa Fabrega, “Daring to Live Fully,” she describes “a mantra that will change your life”:

 

      “Everything is Learnable.”

 

She proposes a question:

“Look at the following phrases:

  • I wish I were…
  • I wish I had…
  • I wish I knew how to…

How would you conclude each of these phrases? There are hundreds of ways to do so, and nearly 100% of them are learnable.” 

Then she cites 20 examples of how skills can be learned, and confidence is one of them.

Marelisa concludes with, “If you want to learn something, go learn it. You don’t need anyone’s permission (except for your own). 

Live your best life by understanding that everything is learnable. Make it your new mantra!”

So, the takeaway here is that you can learn to have confidence when taking risks. You can learn to overcome your fears. And you can learn to be humbly confident.

No matter what the outcome is, failure or success, we grow and learn from it either way. Learning these skills will help you take more risks, which in turn will increase your chances of success in achieving your personal and business goals.

 

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!

Your Candidate Lost, Now What?

I’m writing this at 7:35 am on November the 3rd. Which means I have no idea if your candidate won or lost. What I do know is that some people are very happy right now, and some are very upset.

And, I imagine that social media is being set afire with very strongly worded opinions about the results.

This short message is meant for the leaders of the world; the entrepreneurs that set the tone; the managers, CSRs, techs, sales pro, and administration members that are to lead-by-example.

Hopefully, this will help you.

If Your Candidate Won

Show grace today. I’m sure that you are feeling tremendous about the outcome. You are probably very excited. You may even feel like your party has won a literal battle!

You may feel like this battle deserves some type of social media battle cry.

“We won! You lost! SUCK IT!” for example.

Now, that wouldn’t be very gracious. In fact, it would be the start of a huge waste of energy and time. Because, not long after your post, you are greeted with 97 comments of opposition and confirmation. You now get spun up in the game of a social media battle. You waste time, and you make some enemies. It’s just not worth it.

If Your Candidate Lost

I promise you it’s not the end of the world! Every election is a hype machine of doom and gloom. Politicians play way more on our fears than they do our hope. Each side believes the other guy is an enemy to their hero.

But guess what? The next president isn’t going to save you. The presidents of the past didn’t save you.

You save yourself. You and your people are going to make the next great thing in your life happen.

If policy changes or taxes go up, or restrictions get tighter, then you will pivot and make it work.

So, it will be ok! And, I give you the same advice that I gave your political opposition…. “Show grace today.”

We Are In This Together 

Aren’t you just sick and tired of all the backbiting and fighting between Americans?

I really am.

We are the greatest nation on the planet. We are the greatest nation because our experiment of Democracy and Unity works. Well, most of the time it works. We are also known to have moments of intense civil disruption.

Civil disruption is normal for a young nation. It’s a reflection of growing pains and working out the kinks of our system.

Yet, we are not an infant nation any longer. We have matured into young adulthood.

We are a mighty power with the economy and the resources to change the world.

A mighty power demands a mighty leader. And a mighty leader needs wise counsel and the support of the people.

“United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

This idea of power in unity is older than the US. In fact, you can find similar references in Matthew, Mark, and Luke of the Bible.

So, on this day, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect in silence. Pray. Meditate. Take a walk. Do what you need to do to prepare for the future. Be calm, and lead the people in your influence with Kindness, Power, and Hope.

 

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!

Employee Burnout and How to Avoid it

In the past week, in conversations with contractors, two have mentioned that the ‘feel’ of their office has changed. When asked to clarify, the explanation was remarkably similar. 

The mood or energy seems off like a dark cloud had settled over their business.  

They both realized that the situation wasn’t caused by their job, it was an accumulation of everything that has been going on in the past few months. 

To combat the onset of employee burnout, both owners invested in counseling for their employees. Not equipment training. Not sales coaching. They invested in their health. Seeing their employees struggling, they stepped in to provide the resources to help them. While our industry has been largely untouched by the ‘isolation’ bug, your employees’ family and personal lives haven’t. Not being able to see their friends and family is taking an emotional toll on everyone, and it spills into their professional life. The lack of control, whether personal or professional, anxiety over the economy, the political atmosphere, even changes in the weather, and the amount of sunlight can all affect the attitude of your employees. 

An unengaged team member isn’t helping the business, potentially alienating both customers and other employees. 

There are numerous signs of burnout, but the three most common and consistent are:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased negativity
  • Reduced productivity

It is easy to write these off as another bad day or a difficult personality. But, for your business and employee’s sake, you need to be proactive. In our industry, decreased attention to detail can cause increased callbacks, potential injury to your employee, or damage to your customer’s home or business.

Take the time to implement a few best practices to minimize burnout in your business:

 

Show your employees you value them as an employee: 

In a recent survey, 50% of employees said their careers have stalled or even regressed. Investing in training for your employees has numerous benefits, but training doesn’t have to be expensive. Mentoring, whether within your company or involving outside resources, can vastly improve morale. And it’s beneficial to both parties; asking someone to mentor or share their knowledge with others, who wouldn’t get a boost of confidence from that? Everyone likes to feel like they have something valuable to contribute. Investing in their future with the company will also help alleviate feelings of self-doubt.   

 

Show your employees you value them as a person:

Focus on your employees’ well-being. Encourage them to unplug. We recently limited our intake of news programming, both on-line and television. After a few days, I found that I was sleeping better, my anxiety had decreased, and I felt more optimistic in general. Your employees are taking on additional responsibilities at home while potentially dealing with financial concerns, their family’s health, and their children’s education. Talk with your employees about issues they may be facing. One company established a message board within their company, where team members can post their needs and offer services; they have high school students providing tutoring, a currently out-of-work spouse who makes meals for purchase, and a forum for asking advice and suggestions.  

 

Stay in touch:

If you have transitioned to a remote or partially remote workforce, staying in touch with your employees has become of even greater importance. Technology is great for staying connected, but personal interaction is needed as well. If you can’t meet in person, take the time to talk to them regularly. Not every interaction with your employees needs to be business-related. Yes, there are rules as to what you can discuss, but asking them about their weekend or their favorite sports team isn’t off-limits. 

 

Lead by Example:  

As a leader, “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work. If you work through meals, do not take breaks, and fail to focus on your well-being, your employees will follow. Limit your communications on weekends, late nights, and vacations. Take vacation days, and do not feel guilty about taking them. Your vacation days are earned, and both you and your employees should take them without remorse.   

There are many disadvantages of burnout for your business. But beyond that, there is the human factor of wanting what is best for your employees and their families. Work to create a healthy culture in your business to deal with and diminish employee burnout. There is not one single answer, but taking the time to find what works for you and your employees will only benefit your company in the future.  

 

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!

The Average Ticket Culture

When someone truly believes in the products and services they provide to their clients, and they know how to effectively communicate what they believe with passion and enthusiasm to another, this becomes the positive cause and effect of the sales process. My team and I have a saying that illustrates this communication process in sales, which leads to my average ticket discussion: 

“Sales is the transfer of your belief to someone else, and the reward is money.”

So if you and your team believe in the products and services that you offer and can communicate this to your clients ethically with passion and enthusiasm, average tickets will go up along with company profits, employee income, and rave reviews. 

Many organizations and national trainers (including myself and my IAQ training team) all preach the importance of setting KPIs, knowing the average ticket of your team members, and holding them accountable to reach the standards and goals that you set for them. As important as this is to keep your company profitable so that you can properly serve your clients, many times this can be misconstrued by your team without the proper communication that should go along with it.

Let me elaborate on the three types of “Average Ticket Cultures” that I have seen over the years of training and visiting contractors.

  1. Lead to mislead: This is where the leader of the company trains his team to hit the KPI and average ticket at all costs. Maybe even to the extent of having deceptive practices to entice clients to purchase unneeded products or services only to benefit the technicians, sales consultants’, and the company’s pocketbooks. So they may or may not believe in the company’s product and services, but that doesn’t matter in this case. The emphasis is put on increasing revenue alone and not increasing average tickets by properly communicating to the client what is in their best interest. Fortunately, this is the exception and not the rule.
  2. Lead to impede: Many times company leaders, who recognize the importance of higher average tickets and what it financially means to all involved, don’t train their team on how to effectively communicate the features and benefits of their products and services properly to their clients on every sales, service, and maintenance call. So the leader becomes a hindrance since the team may believe in the company’s products and services, yet they don’t know how to transfer this belief to the client. It’s like telling them where they need to be, but not telling them how to get there.
  3. Lead to succeed: In this culture, not only does the leader give her team members the tools and training to understand the benefits of their products and services, but she also works with them on how to effectively communicate these benefits, honestly and ethically, on every call. Teaching them when and how to offer options at incremental levels allows the client to choose which option best fits their budgets and needs. These options can best be described, in a manner of speaking, as what must be done to get them back up and running, what should be done to prevent it from happening in the future, and what could be done to improve performance with accessory items, (i.e.: IAQ, water treatment, surge protectors, hard start kits, generators, etc.). 

When a leader leads to success, it takes some work, yet it is the only sustainable culture of the three. Higher average tickets become the positive effect that is caused by the ability of your team members to communicate challenges and solutions effectively with confidence. This then becomes a company culture of servicing the client with care and consideration that results in higher average tickets. Yet, it doesn’t start there. Treating others with respect and respecting their point of view, even when you don’t agree, is a way of life. Greeting others with a smile and living a life of gratitude starts with humility in one’s self. In our innermost being, we must respect ourselves first, which guides our morals, and in turn guides our manners in respecting others.

I may be simplifying this, yet as we witness the negativity that’s going on locally and around the world today, there is an obvious disconnect with humility, respect, and understanding of others. How we deal with adversity affects us, our personal life, our careers, and the world around us.

In the early 1800s as our country was developing, the US and the British were still fighting over the control of this new nation and the land. Caught in between this fight were the Native Americans who saw us “settlers” as the enemy in this land grab. 

Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee tribe rose amongst the Indians to become a leader and great warrior that tried to unite all tribes to defend their homeland. Talk about adversity! 

Chief Tecumseh had other great attributes as well. While he was a fierce warrior, he was a humble man who believed in treating others with respect. I will not be able to do justice to his legacy in this short article, but here is a very brief bio:

                      “Tecumseh was a Shawnee warrior chief who organized a Native American confederacy in an effort to create an autonomous Indian state and stop white settlement in the Northwest Territory (modern-day Great Lakes region). He firmly believed that all Indian tribes must settle their differences and unite to retain their lands, culture, and freedom. Tecumseh led his followers against the United States in many battles and supported the British during the War of 1812. But his dream of independence ended when he was killed at the Battle of Thames, which led to the collapse of his Indian confederacy.”

Chief Shawnee was also a great orator whose speeches even mesmerized enemy soldiers. This excerpt from one of his speeches gives us some insight to his humility and beliefs. 

“So, live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes, they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” ― Chief Tecumseh

What great words of wisdom! Lead to succeed with a culture of humility and respect for others, and the financial rewards will come your way.  

 

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!