DENVER, CO æ At the Quality Service Contractors (QSC) Power Meeting XIII, the seminars carried the theme “Maximize Your Profitability.” Each of the speakers focused on bottom-line issues to aid contracting firms.

Robert Sinton of Powers Training and Development gave a presentation titled “Sell More… Sell More Easily.” Contrary to what many say, “Selling is not about how well you can close,” he asserted. His training is about how to open a sales call.

“People buy to avoid or to get rid of pain,” said Sinton. How do you take care of their pain? You talk to customers about it. He proclaimed, “You will never lose a customer because of price.”

Of those prospects who say they want to think it over, 95% to 98% will not buy, he said. “If you don’t have a sales system, you’re spinning your wheels.”

Sinton then described the prospect’s approach to sales and his system selling method. The first step of prospective customers is to lie because they’re afraid. Then they listen to your expertise. Then they lie some more. The final step is refusing to answer the phone, or avoidance.

With system selling, the first step is true bonding or rapport with your prospective customer, he related. Next is establishing an upfront contract; this means explaining what the ground rules are. The third step is discussing the pain. You need to know the customer’s personal pain.

Steps four and five involve their budget and the decision-making process. Next is your presentation on the benefits, but only those benefits that address the prospect’s pain. The final step is a post-sell to overcome buyer’s remorse.

“People will buy from people who they feel are like them,” stated Sinton. “People will buy from people when they feel they understand them.”

The customer’s budget has nothing to do with your cost, he said. You have to talk about people’s pain first. “People buy things emotionally,” he emphasized, and system selling is a win-win approach, finding out their pain and addressing it.

Insurance Primer

“Insurance 101 µ How Prem-iums Are Determined for Your Business” was the topic of Bob Miller of Federated Insurance. He said the three important items in determining rates are:

1. Base rate;

2. Schedule rating plan; and

3. Loss experience.

The biggest loss area for companies is vehicles or auto liability. Driving using a cell phone now produces almost as many accidents as driving drunk, he noted.

Modifications to a client’s base rate include:

  • Individual characteristics;
  • Exposure and risk;
  • Assumption of risk; and
  • Loss history.
  • Individual characteristics that make a client attractive are: hiring practices, a risk manager (if you have one), a safety committee, safety incentives, housekeeping, vehicle maintenance, and review of employee driving records.

    “The more risk a client is willing to assume or share, the lower the premiums,” said Miller. This can be achieved through self-insurance or higher deductibles.

    “The lower your past losses and anticipated future losses, the lower your premium,” he added. Insurance companies go back three years. Because of its loss experience, a company can end up paying substantially higher premiums than those that emphasize best practices.

    Service Agreements

    Carl Rice of DeTemple Company, Inc., provided a seminar on the “Secure One Extended Service Plan.” This gives contractors a program “to fight back against utilities,” he said.

    Coverage is provided up to 10 years, with one-, five-, or 10-year plans. Rice cautioned attendees to be aware of the noted exclusions. Repair cost must not exceed the current fair market value of the equipment. If the repair costs more than replacement, then replace.

    There is a list of allotted labor hours for various equipment, residential and commercial. The administrator also pays a markup on the equipment.

    Warranty coverage is for the oem package. “Items not included by the manufacturer may be eligible for coverage under supplementary items,” stated Rice. This includes things like boiler system accessories such as aquastats.

    All service work must be done during normal working hours. No overtime rates are allowed.

    Co Testing

    “Carbon Monoxide Testing for Safety and Profit” was presented by Paul Nebrasky of Paul Nebrasky Plumbing & Heating. He showed several news stories of families who died due to CO poisoning. He said that he decided to get into CO testing to protect his customers. Once he did, it gave him a major point of difference from his competitors.

    Nebrasky said his company was the first to become a certified carbon monoxide analyst in the state of New York. To promote this, he sent out postcards and noted it in his Yellow Pages and newspaper ads. At shows he handed out pamphlets on CO alarms.

    The key points, noted Neb-rasky, are “getting certified and marketing it.” The test equipment can print out a ticket to show the customer what the CO level is in the home.

    Publication date: 10/09/2000