You don't become successful by accident. You become successful on purpose. You plan for your success. Planning for financial success requires that you keep track of, and understand, your numbers.
A significant portion of contractors and service managers were service technicians. Many service technicians' long-term career goals are to eventually go into management or contracting themselves. Many of these folks have never had any training on business management or know how to analyze financial statements.
Before deciding to start running an HVAC company, you should know:
The answers to all these questions can be found in your own records.
Keeping track of, and analyzing your numbers helps you plan for growth and profitability.
What Highly Successful Shops DoEvery highly successful shop I've visited makes their sales numbers very public for everyone in the company so see. They've actually got big screen monitors mounted on the walls throughout the shop. In some cases, I've even seen it posted in the lobby.
Every highly successful shop I've visited posts the individual technicians' and salespeople's numbers, either on an erasable whiteboard or a monitor. Some people love their numbers being posted and others hate it. I'm competitive by nature, so that kind of peer pressure works on me.
Nowadays, a significant number of shops are now using software to automatically generates individual sales reports that instantly update each employee's sales reports. Based on conversations I've had, hardly any of the employees I've talked to ever looks at or puts much thought into those reports. When people do it for themselves, they can't help but have their attention focused on their sales figures, which you want them to do. So I'm still a big believer in having each employee keep a personal sales long on their own.
The Importance of Analyzing Your Sales FiguresI'd heard that keeping a personal sales log would increase your sales, so I decided to give it a try.
I bought an appointment book; the type that shows an entire week over two pages. Each day is a vertical column and each hour of the day has a few lines on which to write.
After each call, I’d write down whatever information I wanted to identify the customer as well as what I quoted or sold them.
In the margins I wrote each day’s total, the week-to-date total and the month-to-date total. At the end of each week, I also wrote the year-to date total.
You can watch a short video in which I show an actual example of my appointment book and a detailed explanation of the entire process on my website, www.hvacprofitboosters.com. Click the link that says “Click here to watch the first video of ‘Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD’ FREE”.
Setting Sales GoalsBefore I started keeping and analyzing my sales figures, I kind of felt like sales goals were almost a waste of time because I was under the impression that I was selling as much as I could, with or without sales reports and sales goals.
On my fourth day of keeping track of my sales as I went along, as I was writing down the figures of the call I'd just run, I said to myself, "It looks like my average per call is $." That was a life-changing moment for me. From that moment on, I didn't want any sale to be lower than my average. Consequently, my average sale went up. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had just unconsciously set a goal on what my average sale should be.
A short time later, I casually counted what the average amount I was bringing in per day, and once again I'd unconsciously set a sales goal. I started to consider my "average" my "minimum', and I made it a point to hit at least that amount every day, and my average day went up.
What Did I Sell?To be clear, I didn't start telling people they needed things they didn't. What I did was start putting all that training they'd been giving me to practical use.
For instance, many shops require techs to take a static pressure on each call. We all know that the static pressure for just about every system is too high, and that causes myriad problems. Fixing those problems is expensive. Get one out of 10 people to let you actually do something about it will increase your average sale significantly.
I started doing a more thorough inspection and writing down every single deficiency I found in every system in order of priority. I found that the more recommendations I made, the more people bought, and the higher my sales figures went. I might add that my callbacks went down to practically none.
I started pulling and cleaning a lot of indoor blowers and indoor coils. When people saw how dirty and smelly their blowers and indoor coils were, they wanted to know what could prevent that from happening again. That resulted in sales in indoor air quality products.
All of this just fed upon itself.
I'll also point out that, while my average sale went up, so did my customer satisfaction. Let's face it, if you go out there to a non-working air conditioner, and all you do is change a contactor or capacitor to get it running, the system isn't running any better than it did the day before and customers don't have much to get excited about.
When you do a complete cleaning and straighten out the problems with their air distribution system, they love you for it. I can't tell you how many people thanked me for being so thorough, said it was running better than it did when it was brand new, told me they were going to tell all their friends about me, and asked if they could always request me.
Does this Really Work?I got a phone call from a Service Manager who supervises 30 techs. Every week he conducts a weekly half-hour training session, consults privately with each tech for 10-15 minutes, analyzes everyone’s sales figures and provides these reports to each tech. He also puts everyone’s figures on a large board in the training room.
During one of the group meetings, several months after playing the video for his techs in which I recommend keeping a log of your calls, he asked for a show of hands of who was keeping a log book.
About half the techs raised their hands. As it works out, every single one of the techs who were keeping their own personal records of their calls were the techs with the highest sales figures. The techs who were not keeping track of their numbers on their own were the ones with the lowest sales figures.
CHARLIE GREER has developed an appointment book your staff can use to keep track of their sales figures, called the "Official Tec Daddy Planner." For details on it, visit www.hvacprofitboosters.com. You can reach Charlie at 1-800-963-HVAC (4822) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.