I think about the state of our industry daily and how I intend to change my teaching in the future as a result of my respite from the classroom. I have more than a few new twists to how instruction can be improved, and I’d like to offer the following idea. The hvacr industry seems to be quite successful at marketing and selling systems. Consider the millions of heat pumps, gas and electric furnaces, and accessories sold and installed each year. The sales must be good in order to interest consolidators in purchasing independent contractors. Our industry’s sales force sells ddc controls systems to replace perfectly functional 35-year-old pneumatic controls systems without difficulty. We can interest residential customers in replacing perfectly good heating systems based upon the latest in high-efficiency heat pumps. In fact, our sales force is so effective that we have sold more than we have installers and technicians available to keep up with the demand. That brings me to my point. Maybe we are not properly utilizing our sales professionals. If we are having problems recruiting new installers and technicians to our industry, just whom are we using to do our recruiting? When we approach young people in high school, perhaps we are not sending the right recruiters to sell them on our industry. Shouldn’t we be sending our best and most successful sales professionals? Or shouldn’t our industry’s instructors learn how to sell? As all sales professionals know, getting in the door is the first step and often the most difficult. In this case, getting in the high school is easy. We must be failing to make an exciting and convincing sales presentation. The hvacr industry is the most exciting business for the mechanically and electrically inclined young person. No other trade incorporates so much variety. A technician must know something about every other trade including, but not limited to, physics, electricity, electronics, controls, computers, plumbing, welding and brazing, sales, customer relations, and a host of other topics, each of which is a profession in itself. The opportunities for specialization abound, and one can move to and live nearly anywhere. How is it that we are failing to make the sale? Our instructors should be able to make learning our trade a fascinating experience. What mechanically- and electrically-inclined individual does not get excited about learning how things work? Every instructor should be able to instill excitement in their students to the point that each becomes a proponent and salesman for the program. Between excited students and professional sales people, we should have plenty of students in our classrooms and enough new talent for contractors everywhere.
Norm Christopherson Hermosa, SD
Publication date: 01/08/2001