Ellis Guiles Jr. speaks with an attendee during the Green Summit meeting, one event scheduled during ACCA’s Contracting Week. Guiles told a crowd that energy use intensity in the United States has risen by 12 percent in the last 20 years.

FORT WORTH, Texas - The HVACR Service Managers Forum and Commercial Contractors Roundtable merged forces during the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Contracting Week™. The two events, held Oct. 7-8, are mainstays of the ACCA organization, and attracted large numbers of contractors who were anxious to mesh the two meetings. Attendees were able to attend sessions across both events.

During the learning lab on LEED certification, Matt Todd of Entek explained exactly what LEED means, and how contractors can go about achieving the certification at different levels. He also opened up discussion on what the future of LEED will look like and if it will even exist or turn into a new, stronger program.

“Very good speakers. I really liked the commercial classes,” said David Galbreath of Seaman’s Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Adam Gloss and Darrick Philip of Bel Red Energy Solutions had frank and open dialog about hiring and firing during their learning lab entitled “Selling With Integrity: Technician Up-selling and Lead Generation.”

While they encouraged looking for opportunities to coach, they also explained that if the person does not have the ability, doesn’t fit your core values, and can’t (or won’t) be trained, it is time to let them go. They stressed this is the key to moving your company forward and keeping it competitive.

Gloss and Philip reminded the attendees that there are quite a few reasons that technicians don’t up-sell.

1.They are problem solvers, and like to fix things.

2.Selling takes time that could be spent at another service call.

3.Lack of motivation.

4.Lack of training.

5.Little or no financial incentive.

6.A desire to remain on “the customer’s side.”

7.Afraid of rejection.

8.Don’t want to be perceived as a pushy salesperson.

During most of the session, Gloss and Philip set out a very logical outline for contractors to follow in order to better utilize the service technician’s important role in a company. “They are the engine that makes everything work. Let them know that their leads and up-sells provide solutions for customers’ problems, money for them and their families, opportunities and income for the sales team, work and steady income for the installers, and revenue for the company and a future for everyone,” said Gloss.

Philip suggested that technicians who really begin to see the goals of service and of selling to be similar can more easily incorporate up-selling into their own daily routines. “When on a service call the goal is to fix the immediate problem and ensure the customer’s safety and well-being, to help customers avoid future problems, and to identify other problems they are experiencing and offer solutions,” said Philip.

Good customer service was defined as identifying a need (just as in selling), and creating value by providing a solution - or put another way, fixing the problem.

Randy Stutzman, of FMI, a management consulting company, provided the learning lab, “What Makes a Good Contractor.” His session covered many fundamental areas of business management including organization, finance, marketing, project control, planning, and understanding why contractors go broke.

“The Service Managers Forum had excellent speakers that were very knowledgeable,” said David Burgess of Roscoe Brown Inc. in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

If you were not able to attend the meetings, you can download the handouts from many of the presentations at www.contractingweek.com.

Publication date:12/13/2010