by Jim Hinshaw
The most common question I get, no matter if I am talking to a contractor in Portland, Florida or Canada, is the same: can you get me some new employees? Many of the Service Nation members are growing, and in the midst of the hot summer, they need to add employees to meet those growth goals. So where do you find these new, capable and effective employees? Easy answer, they are all around you. Here are some examples.
Corey Hickman is the owner of Comfort Matters, a great company up in the Minneapolis area. He was thinking about sales, and realized that for any number of reasons, there may be some customers that did not buy from his team when they first were approached. Some may have had another event in their lives that took precedence, had to get a graduation, a wedding, a funeral or a birth off their calendar. So he put together the concept of a “Comfort Concierge”, a person who could follow up after the sales team made a presentation, or even when someone requested more information from his website or FB. They could also follow up old quotes, even a year or two later. Had to be great with people, good at follow up, and creative. That led to the question, where could he find this person? He found her at the Dollar Store. Yep, the store that you see all around us, full of people you never notice. Except he did. He noticed that this person was pleasant, always had a smile and kind word for the customer, exactly the type of person he was looking for. And he hired her. Just after that Corey got a call from another contractor in his town, asking if they had hired her. Corey said he had, the contractor said he was going to offer her a job as well. Validated the fact it was a good decision, makes the case for doing something instead of just thinking about it.
We have a member in Nebraska who has a lady who is a comfort advisor who has a closure rate over 60%. Been there a year. When I asked where she came from, was told she worked in a restaurant that several of the employees ate at. Did a great job, was pleasant, always gave them full attention, even if she had several tables at the same time. They asked her if she was happy, she said “I make a decision to be happy each day”. She had them at “make a decision…”. You may say, well, she has no experience. Actually, she has experience working with people, all kinds of people. In a very tough business. Today, my advice is to hire for attitude, train for skill. We can teach a newbe what to look out for in our industry rather quickly, and in most cases, they are not going to sell something that can’t be done. But what I can’t teach a new employee is how to be polite, how to like themselves and others around them. Today, the emotional intelligence score is the key ingredient in getting an employee that does a good job working with the consumer. Here is a link to a free test:
Chris Hunter also decided to have a person dedicated to follow up, she is the “Rehash Specialist”, meaning she would follow up on a lead when the sales team said they had done all they could do. What Chris realized was that sometimes, no matter how good you are, there is just not the connection needed to do business. So he hired a young lady to help the sales team out, they are free to follow up as long as they have a plan to do that, but when they are done and no follow up plan in place, he gets his Rehash Specialist in the mix. Chris set a somewhat optimistic goal, $1,000,000 in follow up sales the first year. He trained her, had scripts, did role-playing to see the best way to handle objections, left nothing to chance. Chris had a large company, sold it at $10,000,000 about a year ago. She added over $1,000,000 in additional sales just from follow ups, she made it happen. She was trained as a cosmetologist, Chris hired her husband, who had a background in HVAC. She had moved into office work, Chris asked her if she would consider being a maintenance tech. She agreed and did an amazing job. Then moved inside to the Rehash Position. She reads people well, has the ability to multi-task, and follows up till the customer has either bought from his company, or from another one. For those of you who think this is high pressure, I will assure you, it is not. Her typical call goes like this: I recently saw a new financing option available, and thought of you, would you like to hear more about this concept. She does not say: are you ready to buy?
I have shared in the past about Erv Dirks who was approached by the auto repairman who fixed one of his vans about coming into Erv’s place as a tech. Erv hired him, put him on maintenance calls for a few months, then turned him out working on tune-ups and maintenances. During his first year with Erv, in a 3-month period he turned in dozens of leads that sold. Not just leads, but leads that sold. There is also the success story of Josh and Jana Morehart who hired a young man that worked at a printing company to come in and help them with marketing. One day Jana asked if he could lift 35 lbs, the install helper was out for a couple of days. He did and loved the ability to help customers enjoy more comfortable homes. A few months later that same young man (about 19 years old) was selling inverter driven heat pump systems, in fact, he sold more than any other dealer in the area the first year that product was available in their market.
My point, good, effective, and capable employees are all around us. We just have to be available to look outside our “box”, hire for attitude, and train for skill. Thanks for listening, we’ll talk later.