If you’re like most techs, you worry that taking the extra time to sell will slow you down and the dispatcher will jump all over you. One way to keep the dispatcher off your back is to increase the profits you generate.

What do I mean by that? Glad you asked.

First, contrary to the belief of most people, it does not take extra time to sell anything — when you do it right. My experience with most techs who try to sell, but have not had any formal sales training, is that they have two or three good points to make and they make them over and over again. Get the picture?

Most of the time, when I’ve witnessed techs trying to sell, they make their two or three points. Then, instead of just shutting up and allowing the customer to make the right decision, they start repeating themselves and pull themselves and their customers into a circular conversation. In truth, that “conversation” just goes around and around. It does not go anywhere.

In sales and in life, whether you’re talking to your customer, your boss, your dispatcher, your spouse, your kids, or a police officer, once you’ve made your point, back off. Don’t repeat yourself unless the person you’re talking to specifically requests that you do so.

Once you make your point, every time you repeat yourself, you lose a point. So get some sales training and learn how to end a conversation so your sales procedure moves along at a quick pace.

Of course, even though I’ve stated that it does not take extra time to sell additional products and services, obviously it does take extra time to do anything over and above the bare minimum you can do to just get whatever is wrong fixed, turn a blind eye to anything you see that could use a little attention, and get on to your next call.


Believe it or not, the dispatcher might not like your spending more time on each call to earn extra money for the company, and this is just typical of the contradictory nature of the service business. Unfortunately, most dispatchers are more concerned with limiting the amount of trouble they have handling incoming calls for service than they are with you generating extra income for the company on every call. So the focus centers on running the maximum number of calls per day rather than running the calls correctly.

Your dispatcher may feel that the purpose of your job is simply to run as many calls as possible.

In reality, the purpose of your job is to generate a profit for the company, and the real profits in any service industry do not come from running the maximum number of calls per day, but by maximizing the profits on each call.

Here’s an example to illustrate my point. Say there were two techs who both work for the same company and each generated a total of $1,000 in income in one day. One tech ran eight calls to generate $1,000 and the other ran four calls to generate $1,000. (You follow me so far?) Which tech generated more net profit for the company?

Answer: The one who ran the four calls generated the higher net profit. Why, you ask? Simple: There obviously was less driving, so there was less wear and tear on the vehicle, as well as fuel savings. Running half as many calls means half as many warranty issues and, more than likely, because more time was spent on each call, there will actually be a lower percentage of mistakes and warranty callbacks, which all add up to less liability for the company. Callbacks are seen as a way of life, a necessary evil, when in reality, 90% of the recalls you run are predictable and preventable.

The company doesn’t make more money by having you run more calls. It makes more money by having you make more money on each and every call you run.

If you really want to get ahead in this business, run one call at a time and don’t let anyone rush you. Dispatchers have their problems, your customers have their problems, and you have your problems.

Don’t do rush work. Take each call one at a time. Do everything that needs to be done while you’re there. Make sure there will be no reason for a warranty callback, because you’ll ultimately make more money for the company, and make your customers, your boss, your spouse, your children, and yourself happier. And, since you’ll have fewer warranty callbacks, you’ll be available for more billable calls, so even your dispatcher should be happier.


Now, what if your dispatcher doesn’t buy into this whole “Make-your-truck-more-profitable-by-maximizing-every-call” routine? What then? Your dispatcher can make your life miserable.

To begin with, don’t go telling your dispatcher you intend to take your time on each call to maximize opportunities and avoid callbacks. Even when you’re doing everything that needs to be done on each call, you’re still going to work as fast as you can, right? Okay, so the dispatcher won’t be giving you any more trouble than normal.

If you’re letting your dispatcher push you around and prevent you from increasing sales and profits, you’re contributing to your own demise, because you’re just one of the flock.

On the other hand, if your truck is bringing in the highest profits and you have the highest rate of customer satisfaction, your boss is going to know it. Oh, your boss may not let on, but believe me, it does not go unnoticed. I have never spoken to a service contractor who couldn’t tell me instantly which service tech generates the highest profits.

In this job, in any job, and in life, don’t let someone else’s agenda be your agenda. Don’t short-change your entire career to stay on someone’s good side. Remember on which side your bread is buttered and who’s doing the buttering. Remember, the purpose of your job is to generate a profit, and the more profits you generate for your company, the more privileges and courtesies will be extended to you. This is a sad commentary on the state of the world, but it’s true. In most companies, the service tech generating the most profits gets the best treatment from the people in charge.

Greer travels the country running calls with hvacr service technicians, demonstrating his methods in the field. He’s the instructor for the “HVAC Closers Academy” held in Ft. Myers, FL. For information call HVAC Profit Boosters, Inc. at 800-963-HVAC (4822) or visit Greer’s website at www.hvacprofitboosters.com .

Publication date: 04/23/2001