ATLANTA, GA — Contractor Success Group (CSG) moves into the 21st century with “membership growing, on solid ground, and with visions of becoming an international organization.” Those were some of the points covered by CSG president Bill Efird during the organization’s most recent quarterly convention here.

He noted that CSG increased its number of new members in 2000 by 64% over 1999.

While envisioning moving beyond the current U.S. and Canadian boundaries, Efird also predicted expansion beyond its present residential air conditioning base. Already, many members do commercial work. He also predicted “enhanced performance of the in-home service industry.”

With growth comes change. Efird noted that CSG’s preferred vendor program is being renamed “Strategic Business Partners” to better reflect the extent of the relationship at work.

CSG is working with a software company to modify turnkey software packages to better meet the needs of the group.

Don’t Miss The Meetings

The organization includes registration for its quarterly conventions in its membership costs. Efird urged a large turnout for future sessions, noting that travel and hotel costs should be considered as producing a benefit for the company. Those costs should also be budgeted as part of monthly operating expenses, he said.

He suggested that contractors set up a pattern whereby all employees can attend a CSG function once every three or four years.

A major event is planned for 2001, when CSG combines its “sales extravaganza” with a spring convention. Efird hopes for 1,000 to 1,400 attendees.

He reported that CSG offered 155 training classes during 2000 with 2,657 attendees. Those classes provide training for installers, maintenance personnel, and service technicians. Plans are to trim each of those two-week courses to a single week during 2001. Officials said this was in response to members’ input. At the same time, they said the content will not change that much. Attendees will be expected to “do some pre-work before each course.”

Plans are also on the board to add a course in sales, with a focus “on openness and honesty.”

Sales Twist

For the most recent conference, the focus was also on sales — with a twist.

CSG’s Jim Whalen labeled his talk, “Death of Salesmen.” His contention was that “a salesperson should not be compensated for making a sale, but for ensuring that a customer’s needs are met.”

He urged avoidance of “getting others to do what we want them to do.” Rather, he suggested “helping customers with what is in their best interest, then getting them to take action based on their convictions.”

Two contractors used a political debate format to discuss persuasion vs. encouragement of customers. Dennis Mondul’s approach emphasized closing the sale, while Tom Wittman’s efforts focused on “getting to know the customer and developing a working relationship.”


Training consultant Mike Moore focused on vitality; “that is, when you have problems because you have too much business.”

Such a business, he said, has a foundation based on trust. “People want to work with somebody they trust.” Such a business has a focus on customers and a willingness to make changes. “That means a winning attitude and total involvement that encourages risk.”

Kevin Comerford, district manager for Service Experts, focused on encouragement. “People crave attention and yearn to believe they are important. It takes an effort to give encouragement.”

He labeled the major disease in American business as FTTA, “Failure to Take Action.”

Publication date: 12/18/2000