With people trying their best to continue as normal amidst this pandemic, most of us do not realize how much of the world has changed. Tersh Blissett and Josh Crouch look back on the changes forced on us by the pandemic as they talk about the current state of the HVAC industry. Things have become uncertain and might continue to be, especially for business owners in the HVAC world. Tersh and Josh share their ways of how you, as a business owner, can still emerge victorious even in times of struggle. Tune in and learn more as Tersh and Josh make sure you get the valuable information you need so you can tread through life and business equipped with enough knowledge.
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Josh & Tersh Speaking On The State Of The HVAC Industry For 2022
We are going to talk a little bit about the future of the show for 2022, our targets for the show, the state of the industry-type of thing, and where we are going and seeing people live in the next quarter. We look forward to sharing all this information with you.
What’s up? How is it going?
I’m good. We’ve got a ton of stuff going on with the show that we wanted to bring to you and talk about the state of the industry because this industry in the last few years, especially in COVID, has changed. If you took a snapshot of March 1st of ’19 to now, you might not even recognize the industry. It is totally different, the things that are going on. There’s so much money being pumped into this industry and new software. Everybody is a sales trainer now.
It’s scary. To me, it’s terrifying. The uncertainty is scary as a business owner. Obviously, things change throughout the years. We hit the recession in ’07 or ’08-ish. I was not a business owner at that time. I remember going through that and the scariness of that uncertainty. We were already a service company at that time, so we didn’t do new construction, and it didn’t affect us other than the fact that there were a lot of people from the new construction side of things that came into the service side. They weren’t pricing themselves correctly because they were used to pricing for new construction. That hurt us a little bit but we managed to work through that.
We have never had to go virtual and never been forced to not have an office space and stuff like that. That has changed our industry a lot. You can see the people who have shined, can pivot, and knew they were good or big enough and had enough cushion and cashflow that they could weather that storm, and there were other people who struggled through that process.
We have seen success stories and failure stories. We have seen people learn from those failures and people who have learned even more from the success stories as well. I’m excited to share that and talk more about it throughout 2022 and share more information on the show too because that is the whole reason why we do this. We were not doing this to get rich.
It’s definitely not. It has not impacted my bank account. What it is about is giving back and making sure people get valuable information. That is what we are trying to do. If you are in our Facebook group, we posted that we redid our website. The purpose is to redo the navigation because we want to make it super simple. If you have questions about marketing, you go right to the marketing tab and get all of our marketing episodes. It is not completely done. I did edit a few more.
We are up to 50 or 60 that are categorized. The ease of use, we have a search function on there if you want to search for a key term and pull up episodes. If you are struggling with something, podcasts and books are one of the best ways to learn quickly. The nice thing about podcasts is there are so many different angles you can take on subjects that you can learn so much in a short period and start implementing right away.
Talking about change, if you go back and read episode one versus this episode, it is a drastic change. Not only that. We have video chat now versus back then. I remember when Bryan Orr helped me first start the show and we were going over this platform called the Zencastr. You couldn’t see each other. You had to anticipate what the next person was saying. It might not sound like a struggle but it was a major struggle to start with. Josh and I have talked about this a little bit in the past.
One of the things that I love to be able to do is to help show you how to start your own show. It is not necessarily the same format that we are doing here but more of a local format, how you can become the leader in your local community by using shows. Josh is doing a stellar job at the marketing side of things for our show. As he learns that stuff and implements that, that would be a massive value for him to be able to share that with you and do that for your businesses on a local level.
I posted that out there. There is one company I can think of. Anthony Wright, The SCIENTECH, has a local show. It is in Louisville but I love the idea of it because, first of all, you did Savannah.If you don't know how to build a process, you can't delegate it. If you can't delegate it, you can't automate it. Click To Tweet
It is Shop Small Savannah.
If you think about it, that is your target market. It is business owners, people in the community that has jobs, and stuff like that. You can highlight those businesses so you feel good. You get to meet people in the community. It’s like networking on steroids for your local community.
It’s evergreen content. You can give it back to your fellow business owners in the community and do marketing for them. That is great on the giver’s gain side of things. You also have the SEO value that you can add to this whole realm of things that we haven’t even discussed. If you get good at it, the SEO from the show can help push your company’s website also. Those are strategies that we played with. If you have followed along, you have seen us go from one website that wasn’t easy to navigate to putting it on the Service Emperor’s website as a subdomain and then putting it back onto its website.
That is a lot better than anything we have done so far. We are playing with things to try and test out SEO on our end so that we can share with you the results. We don’t want to share them too fast. If you have seen it, had that struggle and you are like, “What the hell are they doing?” Know that we are playing with this so that we can learn and share with you the best results that we have had. Once we have that data, then we are going to share it with you. Know that it is there and coming.
This segues into marketing. A lot of what we are doing on the back end of the show is working on building the group, automating, getting some entries into our email marketing system, and creating this ecosystem where we can stay in front of our existing audiences, which for you would be existing customers. For you, getting a local Facebook group that you own, purchasing one, or whatever you need to do to get in front of those homeowners, make sure that somehow you give them some free value, get an email address, and get that into Zapier or a CRM.
You can snowball this thing where you’re constantly in front of people and build your brand that way. That’s a lot of the stuff for tests. Tersh and I talk about automation, Zapier, and stuff like that. This stuff is only going to become more popular. For instance, the Service Titan, Zapier Group that I have has got almost 900 members. There are a ton of people in there. People don’t know where to start. Honestly, I would start with Ari Meisel’s book. You can start to understand the mindset. That book is The Replaceable Founder. It is the mindset because if you don’t know how to build a process, you can’t delegate it. If you can’t delegate it, you can’t automate it. You’ve got to understand the process and the system behind it because otherwise, you try to automate stuff that you don’t even have a good process. If it is a crappy process put into automation, it is going to be crappy automation.
I have done that.
I have done that, too.
We get this question all the time and I asked Josh this. We were both in the same boat when we first started with Zapier. It was like, “Where do you start?” Here is one of the things that I like about If This Then That. If anybody hasn’t ever heard of that, it is like Zapier but it is a little simpler to use. You can scroll through some of those and it gives you ideas on where to start. With Zapier, you can do something similar. They are getting to where they are sharing more but Zapier sometimes feels so high-level that it is like, “I’m starting with this. I know air conditioning well but I don’t know anything about this IT stuff. I don’t know where to start at.”
You have said this before. As soon as you start a platform like you are starting a subscription with someone or thinking about doing this, you hop on the Zapier and see if they have an integration. We had interviewed people before on the show and said, “Do you have a Zapier integration?” They were like, “Why do you want a Zapier integration?” “I don’t know why. I just want to know if you have one. If the day comes that I need something Zapped, then I want to know that I can Zap it.”
As I’m doing a demo, I will open Zapier on a new tab and make sure that they integrate with Zapier, just in case I want to move data around and make this data do something else. Once you get the hang of it, things pop in your head like, “I could do this. I can move this data point to here, and then have this happen.” You can build on that.
Do you ever find that you can Zap too much or you build a Zap that is useless?
Part of it was because Tersh has mentioned to me that he was going through The Replaceable Founder again. I had never finished the book. I only read the first couple of chapters, so I have been listening to it on Audible when I’m at the gym. I used that at the end of 2021. What I did is I started cleaning up my email, creating filters for my email, and cleaning up my Zaps because I would have multiple Zaps that were very similar.
It can get out of hand. You can get to the point where you are almost over automating stuff because you are trying to do too much or you have a two-step Zap. If you took that and made it a little bit larger automation sequence here, you could clean it up and have one clean automation versus three different ones that all do the same thing.
Do you ever find that you can over-Zap, and then end up where the client wow factor loses value?
I don’t Zap any client communication. Don’t get me wrong. There are things that I know I could because it is consistent like if we do a certain task every month. I don’t think I will ever get to that point but I have thought about it.
One of the things that I’m thinking of is this isn’t even a Zap. It’s an integration with To Your Success. That is as soon as anything over $5,000 is sold, then this goes out. It sends a gift basket to them with their cookies and stuff like that. I love the fact that I don’t even have to do it. It automatically does it for me. They have different tiers. It is $5,000 to $10,000. That is one gift basket. $10,000 to $15,000 is a different gift basket.
If it is less than $5,000 but over $1,000, then it is a gift card. The message that gets sent out is all automated. It’s the same message every single time. It’s like, “Should I be handwriting a letter to these people?” Even that part of it is not scalable. Once you are doing fifteen changeouts a day, then you have to have one person full-time handwriting letters to people. I’m thinking long-term. Fifteen changeouts a day is long-term for me.
It’s not that far into the future for you. Honestly, in regards to marketing, that is where the biggest opportunity is. It’s either in marketing or operations for automation. The question is, “I want to track memberships in ServiceTitan to give the guys bonuses continually every year for retention. Do I need Zapier for this?” I would always try to see if something can happen natively. Always try to do something natively first because they are going to have all the data.
Sometimes when you have a Zapier connection, you can’t pull everything. In Version 1, I don’t think you can pull anything with reports. It’s all job data. There is no way to track that. For something like that, I would talk to someone at ServiceTitan or in the mastermind’s group. My guess is someone has figured this out.
You can do stuff pertaining to Task Manager. I quit that because Task Manager is not annoying enough if that makes sense. I can look at some of my office staff’s task management or to-do lists. They could have 150 tasks on there that need to be done or whatever it is. We do happy calls, follow-ups, and that stuff. It is not annoying enough. It is just a small red dot on the top right of the screen.
Anthony asked a good question about giving a spiff to his installers for every thank you card that they wrote. My only concern with that is if you haven’t experienced these individuals handwriting out tickets. Back when I first started in the industry and became the service manager and install manager, all of the technicians had to handwrite invoices at that time. I remember that handwriting and I could only imagine how it would look on a thank you card that they might only be doing to get a spiff.When you take a few minutes to slow down, that will speed up the process along the way. Click To Tweet
I remember one of the first tickets I had at the first company I worked at. It was all handwritten tickets. We called him Dr. Murray because he could not read his freaking ticket at all. I’m like, “What does this say? I can’t read any of this.” It is great that things have gone digital because stuff like that is so much better digitally. You can read everything.
There are platforms and printing programs that you can print out stuff that looks like it is handwritten. The font itself is a handwritten font and you as the business owner can sign it at the end.
SendJim has a printer that makes it look like it is handwritten. I’m sure there are other ones but in SendJim, I have seen it. This is a great topic. We might as well go deeper on this. The things that I used to do that helped with automation weren’t Zapier-related. With our CRM, every week, I ran a report of clients that spent over a certain dollar amount.
I’ve got the report, cleaned it up in three minutes on a Monday morning before anyone got in, and sent it out to PrintFast. who did all of our print marketing at that time. They send out thank you cards. They had them all ready and did the rest of the work. It took me three minutes on a Monday morning and we’ve got thank you gift cards out.
How much was the investment in something like that?
As far as the gift cards?
It is having them write out the cards and send them out. What are we looking at?
We didn’t have them handwrite. It was more of a templated message because customization did cost more. If you wanted to take the customer’s first name and put it on every card, there is an extra cost to that because they can’t print it in bulk.
That is my thought process with that. At some point, once you are a certain size, it is an investment into a printer of that type. I remember when we were at $5 million, we were like, “Now it is worth it to not print on a printer that we have to constantly buy new cartridges for.”
It’s a big Xerox machine. It’s the cheap ones that run out of ink every month.
We leased one of those platforms. It was through a company called Ashley or something like that but they are a big print company. I remember when we first did it, I was like, “This is a lot of money. I don’t know about this investment.” We were able to start printing off stuff just like that. It was like, “We have saved a lot of money by doing this.” I never thought about that until it was presented to me. We went paperless and then if I have to print something, you will hear, “I’ve got to go find some paper to put in the printer.” I get annoyed by having to print now. It was comical, honestly.
It’s the same here. If I’m going to have something, I would rather write it down or have it saved digitally somewhere. There are a few more ideas before we get off the Zapier automation train. I have had some people that asked in that other group. A lot of people have gone digital with job folders. There are ways based on sold estimate triggers or things like that, where you can take that information and automatically create a Google Drive folder, which automatically adds your checklist for your install coordinator, admin service manager, or whoever handles that stuff for you and starts creating some of these documents automatically. It can alert them with an email, text message or Slack if you use Slack. You can create some of these things that get the ball moving.
What is the purpose of doing a job folder versus a Trello board?
You could do the same thing. You could create the automation where that job gets sold. It creates a Trello card with all the information you want and alerts the person that needs to handle that. You can get the job detailed information like what was sold. It is a little harder to do based on the equipment. Whatever equipment is chosen, it automatically fires off an email to their supplier if they don’t stock the stuff. It is not a great idea to not stock some stuff these days.
You can set up things like this that make life easier, especially if you are small and still in the field or you are the guy selling. It is a lot to do to not only do the follow-ups after the estimates. It is to sell the job, schedule the job, get the equipment, check the equipment, and make sure you have everything. There are some things that can help you be efficient so that way you don’t have to add admin overhead when you are small. You can be more profitable, reinvest back in your business, and stuff like that.
There is one thing that I would tell people. This is something that I learned from Ari Meisel a while back. It seems like, “This is so much more work to do to get started.” Take those minutes, 1 or 2 hours, and build the automation or the Zap. It will speed up the process along the way. A lot of times, we are all guilty as business owners of, “It’s faster for me to answer the question and go ahead and do it myself. I will do the handwritten checklist on this one.” In reality, let’s take a few extra minutes, especially at this time of year. We are in January 2022. It’s slow for me. I can’t speak for people that are way up North in the tundra as you are.
It’s not slow here.
For me, it is slow. This is a slow time of the year typically. This is “slow season.” It is that time of year when I can start focusing on, “Let’s make the perfect price book or the things that take too much time during the summertime.” I’ve got a text message from one of my guys. He’s like, “These proposal templates are amazing. Thank you for doing that.” I spent one weekend building these proposal templates with the equipment.
Did you not build those before?
No. It is a new thing that came out in ServiceTitan. It might still be in beta.
They had something with estimate templates back when I was still at work in BC, which was helpful.
This goes a step beyond that and creates the template for the entire proposal. If you have a contactor that went bad, then you can do the contactor, clean the condenser coil, and do the maintenance and all these good-better-best packages. The entire thing is already pre-built. The technician clicks on that and says, “Here is your proposal.” They don’t have to go and rebuild them every single time.People are always going to have questions because everybody interprets things differently. Click To Tweet
That is one example. Instead of a handwritten checklist, build the checklist, so it’s always the same. It’s these things that don’t get built, and we are all guilty of it. I’m guilty of it. I’m sure you felt this way, too. You have the process in your head at least 90% of it but you never get it out of your head onto a piece of paper, whether that is digital or handwritten. You suffer because of it. It is because something always gets forgotten or left out, or it’s not the same. We forget to touch base with the customer the day before the installation because it’s not part of our regular defined process.
For 2022, that’s our focus. Number one within our business, Service Emperor is the client experience. Every single time somebody asks me a question pertaining to doing this or that, my response has been so far and I hope to continue to do this throughout the year is, “Put yourself in the client’s shoes. How would you feel?” We had a client that was constant on Podium. They were constantly texting us and asking these questions. We are remote and you could still feel the tension in the office. It’s like, “Stop asking so many questions,” but then I felt it the same way.
My response was about to be the same but I stopped and I was like, “Let me put myself in the client’s shoes. Why are they having to ask all these questions?” It’s like, “We were not clear throughout this process.” Even if we did explain it, we didn’t explain it in a way that they understood. That lets me know that we need to have multiple ways to explain the same thing. We are building out a process of videos that explain the entire process through and through. They can keep rewatching the video instead of asking us questions constantly. Client experience is going to be the way that we look forward to. I challenge everyone else to do the same thing.
To add to that, the housing market is not going to stay where it is at. People are going to start saving money and pulling it closer to the vest. I have heard interest rates are supposed to go up in 2022. Inflation is ridiculous. At some point, the service businesses that are operating well and operating with a net profit can sustain this.
It has been years since our last real hard dip with the home service space. It is going to change. Have these processes, make sure that things are better than they have ever been, and dial this stuff in. Don’t wait and do it tomorrow. At least start doing it now because these businesses that haven’t been running smoothly don’t know their pricing or what they need to be at to make their margins are going to suffer.
It’s tough too because we have gone against people. Be an open book. Our bare-bones cheapest system is somewhere in the $8,000 range. We have gone against other competitors who are still using 2021’s prices. They were on $6,000 systems and $5,000 options. I’m like, “That is not even possible. You can’t stay in business doing it that way.” Make sure you are up-to-date on your price book and also build the value. You and I were talking about this. One of the things that I learned from Matt and Rodney Koop with The New Flat Rate when we did the course back in 2018, 2019 or 2017 was selling our services and not allowing the product itself to become the commodity.
A lot of people are blown away by the fact that I don’t have a brand listed in my price book for equipment. Most of my clients have no idea what equipment we are going to install until we get there on-site because we don’t sell based on the brand name. We sell based on Service Emperor. We have had great success with that because we can sell a 14 SEER heat pump system with a few options for $11,000. They don’t question and bat an eye at it.
If we are saying, “We are going to put a Goodman or a Trane in,” then that becomes like, “I can see Trane being more expensive because I recognize the name but not Goodman. Goodman doesn’t have the same ratings on Edmund’s.” It is one of those things where we focus on the fact that we want to sell our services. As other people start to go out of business and struggle knowing that, you can sell yourself versus selling a brand. Once you get into the brand war, then it’s going to be, “That’s your price on your Trane XR17. Let me go find another Trane dealer and we are going to see what their price is on the XR17.”
The contractor is the commodity.
You are like, “It doesn’t matter that we get it inspected, replace your plenums or secondary drain pan, add all these float switches or give you a ten-year warranty.” Those things get thrown out the window whenever it’s Trane XR17 that we are going to battle against each other.
People don’t value that. They don’t even know what a float switch is. They don’t care what that is. They might know it needs to be there to help their system work but when it comes to it, they just care about the big piece of equipment. They can go find the price online and buy new ones these days.
For me, we are there to provide them with comfort to solve the problem. By dropping a bunch of information that they are not interested in, that is confusing them, and a confused mind always says no. One thing that I would say about the process and procedures is it is a challenge. Don’t get me wrong. If it was super simple, there would be a lot more competitors on the market. If you do find it a challenge, reach out to Al Levi. We had him on the show. He has a whole platform where you can purchase all the processes and procedures. One thing I would challenge you with is don’t buy them and set them on a shelf somewhere because we have all been guilty of that, too.
You buy them and then it is like, “Let me spend all this time and effort on printing this stuff out, which annoys me to even think about.” You print out all this stuff and it goes on the shelf. Nobody ever sees them and the dust gets on them. Five years from now, somebody is like, “So-and-so fell off of a ladder. Did they not read the process and procedure on ladder safety?” It’s like, “No. It is covered in 6 inches of dust.” One thing that I already mentioned in Episode 2 was to have everybody reading them in every meeting that you have. Read one process and procedure for every meeting, which I thought was a great idea.
Once a week, you have one process. Go over it and make sure all the questions are answered. Ultimately, because you built a process, people are going to have questions. Everybody interprets things differently. If you are not talking about this stuff regularly, you are not going to get those questions answered. Tersh, if you are confused or you don’t know, they are going to ignore it.
If you are thinking about building your own process out for anything, here is one thing. Read these steps and I challenge you to do it this way. Every time I have done this, it has blown my mind at how accurate this statement is going to be for you. If you are going to video record it, video record it. Handwrite the process down.
I could tell my CSR to handwrite the process of when a new client comes in and how to add them to ServiceTitan. I can say that to handwrite it but it never gets done. What I say is, “Let’s video-record it. I want you to tell me the steps in the video recording.” I’m going to send it off to a VA. You can use someone in GitMagic or someone off of Fiverr and say, “Take this transcription and video and create a workflow or the process from it.” You then give that workflow to someone else.
You can give it to a service tech. Give it to somebody else and have that person that doesn’t have a clue what they are doing, follow the process, and notate where they get stuck. Fix that process, resend it back out to get the workflow repaired, give it to a different person, and have them redo it. If it’s fixed, it’s fixed. If it’s not fixed, notate where you have the holes, fix those, and resend it back out to your VA. Creating that so that anybody can do it is going to be the goal right there.
If something happens, heaven forbid someone gets sick with a virus or anything like that, and you have to bring someone else new in, it is there. You know it’s bulletproof because you have had three other people do it and they did it successfully. That sounds like a lot of time but once you start doing it, it gets real fast.
That was one of my favorite chapters in his book. I did the email stuff first and stopped it. I didn’t go back to the book until I implemented what he said but then he got to the processing. I used to do that. Unknowingly, I would make videos because it was easier for me to explain than trying to type it out and send it to my project manager.
I did videos but that is where I stopped. I have 300 videos on our YouTube that are unlisted and are nothing but processes and procedures. I was getting frustrated because nobody was watching them. I’m like, “Why am I spending so much time doing this stuff?” Nobody would tell me that I don’t understand all of it. There is some stuff that is missing and I can’t put my finger on it. I was like, “I’m not going to keep wasting time doing that.” We all fall into that trap of, “If nobody is watching it, I’m not going to keep wasting my time doing it.”
That brings back to your point of making sure you are talking about this stuff in your meetings. Don’t let it sit there because if they are confused, instead of standing up in front of the group and saying, “I don’t understand this.” They are going to be like, “Whatever.”
If nobody else is saying it, maybe they all understand it, and I am the only one that doesn’t understand it. I love that thought process. I have been getting on Zoom because our girls are virtual. I’m like, “I’m going to sit here. I’m not doing anything but I’m on Zoom. If you have a question or you start to skip something, ask me, we will go through it and work the process out.” There was a lot of stuff that they didn’t know what they were doing. They straight up didn’t have a clue or they were winging it. They are like, “I’m not sure if this is right but this is what I always put it.”Your customer is ultimately a learner – a student that makes you a teacher and an expert. Click To Tweet
I was talking to someone on the phone about the problem with data. If you put in bad data, those reports are not going to make sense. The data is not going to be great. Now you are running your business essentially blind because you have bad information.
It is something as simple as marking someone as a residential client when they are a commercial client, then you are doing a search.
I remember fixing that. I realized that at some point, everyone was getting put in residential. I’m like, “That’s a commercial business.” You are going through it and changing it all. The littlest things like that could throw off reporting that you run for your business and create a massive nightmare. Back to what you were talking about when we are talking about education, clients, and stuff like that. You had a great point, “Your customer is ultimately a learner or a student. That makes you a teacher.” We are all experts. That is why all of you started your business, you are an expert at something.
You need to be the person in your market that is the expert. Give that knowledge to other people because here is the thing. Everyone is worried about someone DIYing something because they gave some information away. I give away almost my entire playbook like, “This is what we do. You can do it too because you can, just like I can learn to do air conditioning stuff. I don’t want to but I can.” Give it away because, 1) It helps people learn. The people that want to do it themselves will appreciate you giving your information and helping them. 2) You are the expert. You are the guy at the front of the classroom with a full auditorium of students on the presentation stage.
They trust you because they know what they are talking about. They are the teacher or the one in their market in the Facebook groups giving away valuable information when it’s going to get cold. We talked about your email campaign when it was going to get cold. Give that valuable information on how they can protect their house and make things more efficient because it brings a level of trust that is hard to build otherwise. People don’t see you enough but if they hear from you through email, phone calls, or Facebook Groups locally, it builds that level of trust.
I’m going to ask you this question to challenge you. I want to know how much is too much because there are times when I love getting emails from certain people but then I’m like, “You’ve got to stop. Three a day is too much for me, so you are going into the Optional Folder.” Even if you are educating people, is there a point where there are too many emails a day or a week?
Yes. If you are doing a bulk email to your customer list, make sure you have something valuable to say. Don’t just send an email because, “That’s what I do. I send an email every week on Wednesday.” If you are sending emails that don’t have any value nuggets to them or something new that they haven’t heard, you are wasting your time. It is white noise. You would see it like, “These guys haven’t put anything good.” I know which blogs I get always have valuable information and those ones always stay in my inbox. Other ones go into the Look Into Folder. I have Look Into, not Optional.
Have something valuable to say or honestly do some research. I have covered this a few times on different things. Go to Google, type in a keyword, go to the People Also Ask section on Google, find something that people are asking about, and answer that question in a video, email, blog or Facebook. Go do some research because people are searching for these things and you don’t even realize it. You have to put in a little extra work to put something together for that. Honestly, as far as contractors go, it is no more than two bulk emails a month.
I don’t think I would do weekly unless you have multiple trades. Otherwise, you are not going to have enough to say that is super valuable. That way, when people get an email from you, they know it is a valuable piece of information. I know it is the US. We don’t have a ton of soccer fans here but the World Cup is every four years. The reason it is beautiful is that it’s every four years. It is like the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl is great and everything but a lot of people don’t remember who won the last couple of years because it is every single year. It becomes too much.
Steve Cossette has mentioned a couple of things here about data and bringing in data. It can be messed up if it is not entered correctly and exported incorrectly as well. You are building automation and the data that is coming in is junk. Steve mentioned it. The CSR is putting the last name first and the first name last, and then it gets exported to a platform. They are putting that data backwards and then you export it to Google Docs and send that Google Docs to Mailchimp or something like that. If you are using their first and last name-type scenario, then you are putting that data wrong. It is like, “They just automated this.”
I’ve got an email from Grant Cardone. I already had a conversation about this exact email with them. I’m like, “I’m in your Funnel twice because you have automatically sent me the same email twice.” The first time, we had a conversation about it. The second time that it’s resent to me, I’m like, “I know that this is fake.” It devalues the entire relationship because it was like, “I’m just in your Funnel.” That’s going to happen, especially if you are sending it out to a lot of people. I would warn you about it. Try and be as careful as possible. That goes back to attention to detail and your CSR needing to be that attention-to-detail person.
We had to do the same thing because of the administrator at the company I was working at for QuickBooks purposes. It makes sense. The last name is a lot easier to search for than the first name. You put the last name, first name. When I did email automation and stuff like that, I had to fix it and use the formatter step in Zapier to pull that stuff apart, and then re-put it together how I wanted to put it together.
What happens if you get a new CSR, build a process, your processes aren’t built out properly, and you haven’t done the videos? It’s a touchy thing. Automation is something that you can’t set and forget. That’s for sure.
You always have to look at it. If there is a problem, you’ve got to fix it right away. Believe it or not, this is something that not a lot of people know. There are marketing agencies that all they do is build Zaps. For anything that is over my head or I cannot figure out what I’m missing, I send an email to my guy. He takes care of it for me and charges me. I’m happy. He fixes it.
I couldn’t figure out this one step I’m missing and it’s a more complicated step but he got back to me and fixed it. Now I can fix all the other ones that we have for other people. There are people that do this stuff every day you can reach out to. You’ve got to know what you want to do. Pay a little bit of money and they will fix it for you and make sure your data is right.
The challenge sometimes is knowing exactly what you want to do like, “I know what I want at the end but I don’t know what I want at the end.” It is a clear message because that frustrates everybody involved if it is a vague message. They get finished with what you want to be done or what you tell them, and then you change it up on them. You are like, “That’s not what I wanted but it’s like what I wanted. I wanted this over here.” They are like, “Figure out what you want and give me a message back.”
I wanted to touch base. We talked about bulk emails. Bulk emails are to stay in touch with people. Scott Woodward was in the Housecall Pro group. He’s like, “I didn’t even realize I have 12,000 emails in my database.” He has never done any email marketing. I’m like, “That is a gold mine. Take a course and learn how to start email marketing.” When it comes to email marketing, it is segmenting your audience and not sending the same stuff to every single person. If somebody bought a new furnace from you, you are not going to send them the same content as somebody who’s on your maintenance agreement. It has to be differentiated that way.
Don’t try and sell them a new furnace. They are like, “You just sold me one.” Don’t send them, especially one with a $500 gift card on it or a discount for your next furnace. You are like, “I just bought one. Can I have another $500 discount?”
“Can I get that $500 gift card you just sent me?” You would have to do the awkward, “That wasn’t for you. Our marketing department sucks.” Segment that audience because if you think about it, there are two main types of customers. There are the proactive and the reactive. The proactive are the maintenance customers that are on your membership plan.
They hire you in advance because they want to take care of their stuff. They are going to be interested in preventative maintenance tips and filter changes. If you have a filter store, get them back to your filter store on your website regularly. The demand service customers wait until things break. That is what they do. They are like, “I don’t care.”
What you do after that call is to try to turn them into maintenance customers through education, so they realize why it is important that they get their maintenance done, so they don’t ever feel that pain again. Now you are building your maintenance base. Your maintenance base is what keeps you busy twelve months a year if you are in HVAC. It can have the same effect in plumbing, electrical or stuff like that.
Instead of laying guys off or only giving them 25 to 30 hours, you’ve got so much work. You are trying to bring in new people when everybody else is slow and taking top talent. Those top talent guys get paid well and want to get paid well. If they are going to have to work 40-plus hours a week, they are going to be happy plus spiff opportunities. You’ve got to segment that stuff and put questions in the group like, “What kind of content?”At some point, things are going to change, but you have to make sure to do stuff right now while things are better than they've ever been. Don't wait to do it tomorrow; start doing it today. Click To Tweet
One of my things for the beginning of 2022 was, I took my 2022 notebook pages of email ideas that I have had over the course of a number of years. I put it into one doc and separated it because I’m like, “I’ve got all these ideas but they are all over the place.” It is like a spider web. I don’t know where they all are. I organized it so that way, it can be like, “Here are our lists. Here are some ideas to get you started.” Start segmenting your list. Some CRMs have a native platform like ServiceTitan. Otherwise, you have got to connect with a third party like Constant Contact or Mailchimp. It can be done in follow-ups on estimates. What a great way to start getting automation into your business.
We have something called the 365 Follow-up. Do something like that and create an automation platform or an automation sequence until something is triggered. Create the trigger until they do something and keep sending this out. For the next 365 days from the time you submitted a proposal to them, it can do a follow-up sequence. Doing something like that automates it completely. We have had people where three months passed by and they are like, “Are our prices still good on this stuff? We would like to go ahead and change out this equipment.”
I had completely forgotten it and I dropped the ball on it. It was 100% my fault. The email sequence and the follow-up process that were going out are what saved us on it. The prices were not good because we had a huge price jump from all of our manufacturers because it was at the end of the year. We were still able to have and continue the conversation further and eventually sold their systems.
I love talking about this stuff. There are a couple of things that we did want to touch on. If any of you are going to AHR, Tersh and I will be there.
I love the fact that we are on the West Coast. It is not like I’m a huge fan of West Coast or anything like that but I love the fact that we are over there because we have a lot of audiences that are over there. We don’t always get to see them when AHR is in Atlanta, Orlando, and Chicago. Getting out to the West Coast gives us the opportunity to see each other in person. I love that part of it.
Tersh and I will be in the Podcast Pavilions. If you are there, you are planning on attending or even stopping by for a day, if you are in the area, say, “Hey.” It’s great to meet people face-to-face.
When we go live with those, we are going to be talking about a whole bunch of different stuff that’s not the most stuff that we always talk about like business leadership and management. We are going to be talking about what’s coming out, what’s new, technology, and stuff like that. It is a great opportunity. If there are questions you have about what the future holds, this is a great event to get those questions out. Is there anything else for going through this spring 2022? You usually tell me and it is like, “I will get a plane ticket.”
I will be at the HVAC School Symposium in February 2022. That will be in Orlando, Florida. In March, I will be in Tampa for a CEO Warrior group that is doing it for the public. They are doing an event in Tampa. We will be back at EGIA. I want to go to the Webb event but I don’t think I’m going to make it to the Webb event.
That’s usually in February, isn’t it?
I feel like it is. That is the reason why I can’t go because I have so much going on with HR and everything. That’s about it. We do have a lot of EGIA stuff that is coming through the pipeline in the future and with online events that are either free or close to free events. You need to check those out and we will continue to share that inside of the group. We have got some amazing corporate sponsors that are coming onboard also that are able to help support the show, which is awesome. We will share those as they come along.
There’s a lot of stuff coming out. There are a couple of EGIA webinars coming up. As you know, those webinars get put on by guys like Gary Elekes, Drew Cameron, and Weldon Long. They are the who’s who or the guys that have been there and done it. They have trained thousands of people to do it. They are great opportunities to get some valuable training early in the year. Take a look at those. We have them listed as events on our Facebook group.
Speaking of Drew Cameron, he will be on the show.
Don’t miss that one. Drew is such an awesome guy.
The last time I was talking to Drew, I had my Notability out on my iPad and I had carpal tunnel after, “I’m writing as fast as I can. Stop.” Podium has been sponsoring the show and we appreciate everything that Podium does. I have used Podium for years beforehand. One of our stipulations is that we need to use or test the platform out before we would recommend it as a sponsor of the show. Podium has been gracious enough to help support the show. Supporting the show allows us to meet people in person and do those things. Here is a huge shoutout to them and everybody else who has helped support the show.
I will finish that point and then we can finish up here. Anyone that we do bring on as a sponsor in 2022 is going to be well-vetted. It is going to be someone that we believe in. We are not doing it if someone is throwing dollars at us for the show and stuff like that. That is never the goal of the show. The goal is to give you the best resources we can. If it doesn’t work out, we will continue to do it for free.
People don’t realize how much this takes out of us. We love it and enjoy it. Think about this real fast. We do this every single Wednesday. We take an entire day out of our week every single week to do this, plus another day of editing, planning, and everything else. That is at least 52 days out of the year that we are doing this. That’s two months’ worth of actual work where we are not involved in our personal business on a day-to-day interaction. Thankfully, we have got some automation and some strict scheduling that makes something like that possible. Here is a huge shoutout to Josh to be able to switch, pivot, and do that when he came onboard with me on the show.
I’m looking forward to a great year. Lastly, if anyone has suggestions on guests, we are always looking for great guests. I’ve got some ideas for some unique marketing topics because you are not marketing companies but actual people doing different things in marketing. It is anything that you have run across that you think is unique and you think getting that content out there would be helpful. It is something we are always interested in talking about because that is the goal to show. It is to not necessarily be like every other show and have the same guests. It is to bring people that are doing this stuff into the show so that way you can learn from people that are doing what you are doing every day.
Thank you, Josh. Thank you, everybody, for reading this. I value the comments and questions that we have had along with the show. If anybody has any questions after the fact, don’t hesitate to reach out to either one of us, Tersh or Josh. Our email is Tersh@ServiceBusinessMastery.com and Josh@ServiceBusinessMastery.com. It is a little updated versus what we used to have in the past. We want to keep it segmented so that we get your questions answered in a timely manner. With that being said, I hope you have a wonderful and safe day. Until we talk again next time, be safe out there. Thank you.
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