Wendell Bedell, president of BSI, is shown teaching a seminar.
With thousands of residential and commercial member and client employees involved in operations and field sales in the United States and Canada, finding an effective way to communicate was a top priority for the Building Services Institute (BSI) training department.

We decided to create a monthly education and training newsletter for our clients, The HVAC Connection, to share training tips, links to interesting articles, and training-related achievements of member/client employees in the field.

Since BSI is a major contractor member peer-networking group, we designed The HVAC Connection to help educate and train HVAC sales and operations professionals.

BSI provides sales, marketing, operations, technical, and executive management training programs; estimating and proposal writing software systems; and on-site assistance to implement complete business delivery systems for both commercial and residential HVAC contractors.

The HVAC Connection is a complement to our education and training programs, helping BSI's efforts to provide a catalyst for change towards best-in-class business practices. Here are some sales and management tips from our initial issue.

Six Steps To Closing Every Sale

Closing sales doesn't take magic. Just follow this simple plan:

1. Keep digging for the reasons behind the prospect's objections by asking a "Why" question: Why do you do business with that company? Why don't you want to switch?

2. Find out what the prospect wants. Use a systematic sales process to uncover wants and show how your service will provide it.

3. Sell benefits, not features. Remember that people buy services that will make their job or their lives easier.

4. Sell to the right person. Sell the user and they become the internal coach who'll persuade the decision maker.

5. Be persistent. If a prospect is worth calling on, keep going back until you get the sale.

6. Reassure the prospect that he or she has made a wise decision. Stress the benefits the person or the company will enjoy from doing business with you. And don't forget to check back periodically to find out how things are going.

How To Manage Discontented Workers

You know who your discontented and troublesome employees are. They never miss an opportunity to complain or to turn what should have been a positive into a negative.

Tony Italiano, BSI business analyst, says you can lessen the malcontents' harmful effect on morale and productivity by answering these questions:

1. "Have I set specific, measurable, and consistent goals for all employees?" If not, you have no objective way to measure malcontents' work - and that gives them an advantage over you. BSI recommends that each employee have job specifications that clearly communicate job tasking, responsibilities, performance requirements, and expectations.

2. "Is it possible that these workers don't have enough to do?" Not having enough to do is often the cause of employee discontent. Studies have shown that time seems to fly and more gets done when you have busy people. Check their workloads by conducting a manpower loading of their job tasking. Simply record the time it takes to do each task and multiply it by the frequency requirements.

3. "Would the cold, harsh truth work?" Tell the malcontent: "I'm sorry that you are unhappy here at XYZ Company, but I really don't see things changing around here enough to please you. We need people pulling in the same direction on the rope. Perhaps you should look elsewhere."

We find that 95 percent of the time the employee corrects their behavior. The other 5 percent simply leave.

Sound Communication Advice For Managers

You write memos on major changes, hold monthly staff meetings, post announcements on the bulletin board, but still employees complain that they're not getting enough information. What's wrong? Your employees could be stuck in an information vacuum that you unintentionally create.

You can free them - and boost morale, productivity, and job satisfaction - with these simple information-sharing strategies:

Show your face. Interacting with employees face-to-face not only increases your visibility but makes them feel more comfortable sharing front-line details.

Supplement face time with other communication methods at your disposal. You can't be everywhere at once, but your messages can. Use paper, hand-written notes, e-mail, or an internal newsletter to convey your enthusiasm for the organization, your initiatives, and for your concern for employees.

Encourage those who report to you to regularly gather and share information, too. And let them know you'll be watching their progress.

Remember the three F's of employee communication: make it fast, frequent, and factual.

Wendell Bedell is president of BSI (www.bsig.net). To obtain information about the company's new Residential Thrust® program - a marketing, selling, and business operating system for residential contractors - or other product or service offerings, contact Tony Italiano at 877-430-5200 or e-mail tonyi@bsig.net.

Publication date: 02/23/2004