Customer Retention in a Competitive Economy

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					MSCA hosted two days of Peer Group Roundtable Discussions at MSCA 2009, our
annual educational conference in Bonita Springs, Florida. These are notes taken by Ferris
State University Students during the roundtables.

Customer Retention in a Competitive Economy ................................................................ 2
New Rules and New Tools in HVAC Recruiting ............................................................... 3
Supporting a Sales Team/ Setting Goals ............................................................................. 4
Unique Sales Strategies....................................................................................................... 5
Customer retention in a competitive economy ................................................................. 10
Best Practices in a Challenging Market ............................................................................ 13
Providing Energy Services to Grow Your Maintenance Base .......................................... 14
Principles Focus – Lonely at the Top ............................................................................... 16
GPS/field technology ........................................................................................................ 17
Best Practices in a Challenging Market ............................................................................ 19
Unique Sales Strategies..................................................................................................... 24
Field Productivity.............................................................................................................. 27
New rules and new tools in HVACR ................................................................................ 28
Field Productivity.............................................................................................................. 29
Selling Energy Service. ..................................................................................................... 30
Principals Focus - Lonely at the Top ................................................................................ 31
                                                                            Jon Alvey

Customer Retention in a Competitive Economy

     Use marketing though Facebook and Myspace. Because new customers are
      younger and use them to communicate.
     Younger customers tend to base the company that they will choose to go through
      based on the company’s websites and the information they can gather about the
      company online. So websites should be up to date and be interesting.
     There is a problem with the younger generation not wanting to meet or talk face
      to face. They only want to communicate though email. This creates difficulty
      when you are trying to get them interested in your company.
     Then younger generation really likes to talk about energy and green technology.
     Some companies are doing water audits for really cheap or for free as an
     Some companies are rewarding tech’s who bring in leads or maintenance
      contracts so that they are likely to bring them in more often.
     Send out questionnaires to customers for quality assurance.
     Dispatchers are doing random surveys.
     Does putting MSCA GreenStar qualified and other MSCA qualifications help to
      gain customers?
     Companies are training their service technicians in customer service.
                                                                              Jon Alvey

New Rules and New Tools in HVAC Recruiting

     Get close to the Local UA because they feed in good apprentices and contractors.
     One of Local UA’s lets guys sit in on one training session to let them see what
      they are all about and to get them interested.
     Many are using a pass or no pass test when recruiting.
     Good questions to consider are: How does this person make decisions? or What
      kind of decisions does this person make?
     To see how a person makes decisions you can use drug testing, look at their
      driving record, credit report, etc., because the decisions that a person makes in
      these things directly reflects the decisions that they will make on the job.
     Facebook and myspace are good ways to see how a person is and what kind of
      qualities they have.
                                                                     Ryley Wentworth
                                                                          Blake Allen

Supporting a Sales Team/ Setting Goals
     Obtaining and Tracking set goals.
     Motivation to sell.
     Building a Sales Team of 2 to 3 people.
      Look towards the future not the past.
     Trying to find new customers while keeping the current one.
     Watching goals and measuring them.
     New Staff
     Team of 2 people one for sales and the other for maintenances and attention.
     Need a goal for every project.
     What you push you will get both activity and pro-active.
     Sale is black and white, get out (personal), call out, get appointments, then
     For tips visit
     Mandatory book readings, then talk about the readings in a meeting to make sure
      if employees are reading and getting involved.
     8am-5pm is perfect sales time for selling.
     Build top of mind presents.
     Build a team of one of your best employees.
                                                                               Dave Feutz

Unique Sales Strategies
                             Jim Bartolotta, Dave Bavisotto

   1. Within your organization, are there any unique sales techniques that have
       improved your sales numbers?
          a. Sales training courses.
          b. Calling on people, not one time, but for years.
          c. Listening, truly listening and questioning what your customer needs, and
             being honest as to whether or not you can help.
          d. Plumbers and HVAC techs have become the best sales guys.
                  i. Not only can guarantee that the job will be done correctly, but then
                     can back up himself.
          e. Dave
                  i. Give sales guys one bit of information at a time, rather than
                     sending them to sales training seminars.
                 ii. Magic email- send an email with a title “follow up”. “You’re on
                     my list of people to follow up with, am I on yours?
                iii. Magic question- ask the customer if he will work with you on a
                     calendar basis. If he starts backing away, then he is just looking for
                     prices, if not he will probably agree to it.
                iv. Mark Madison had a piece of paper that was an agreement for a
                     customer to meet with a contractor at a later date and make a
                     decision by a certain date.
          f. Jim- how many guys have thought they had a sale in the bag and then the
             customer falls off the map?
                  i. Most agree
          g. Jim- what are you struggling with sales wise
                  i. Competition- the customer takes our bid and pricing information,
                     and gives it to the competition (mainly non-union)
                 ii. Qualifying- keeping sales people focused on not chasing every
                     option they get, make sure you have a chance with the customer
                iii. Try and put a little doubt in the free service that is being given
                     away (who is this person they are sending into your building?)
          h. Jim- struggling with low price competition on PM? How do you validate?
                  i. PM is intangible, how do you validate your quality compared to
                     the competition?
                         1. Separate yourself (how?) everyone says they have the best
                            techs, so you can’t say that. We separate ourselves by not
                            letting things go wrong.
                 ii. Housekeeping and landscaping- when you cut back you notice.
                     How can you tell what is going on with the HVAC – track what a
                     customer spends in repair vs. PM (3/1, 5/1, )
                         1. We validate our second year to our first year. Compare
                            maintenance to repair from year to year since we have been
                            there. Keep track of each asset (unit) what they are paying,
                            what they are saving. Great renewal tool
                iii. But how do we get that costumer in the first place?
2.   Any incentives for the first year? Free PM or warranty, or anything?
         a. With a new construction job we include one year PM with the project. It
            helps keep your foot in the door when you show up for the first year for
         b. Some wait for the construction project to finish, because the owner will be
            upset with the contractor and will be looking for any other company for
         c. One year labor and PM on new installation.
         d. Write up a contract and have then sign it. It is a $0 contract, but they still
            have signed a contract.
3.   Extended warranties?
         a. Only if asked
         b. Worked with carrier to negotiate another year parts warranty with
         c. Lifetime compressor warranty- replaces a compressor at no cost to the
            customer. Only if we maintain the equipment. The cost of the compressor
            is nothing compared to the maintenance agreement.
                  i. Service can feed construction, so getting customers in service can
                     help our construction departments.
         d. Lifetime- look at the assets of their system and price an all inclusive PM,
            replacement and repair. If the unit goes down, we replace it for free. It
            costs about 10% more than the usual PM.
4.   Auto renewals vs new renewals every year?
         a. Mostly autos – easier to increase by 3% every year and higher retention. If
            you are negotiating with customers, they want to negotiate down.
5.   Listening
         a. Do you do air compressors? Well sure we can do that. Same thing with
            training, when customers started asking for it, we developed it and it helps
            keep those customers for everything.
       b. Emergency generators are starting to become a need for customers.
       c. Smoke and fire dampers in nursing homes and hospitals.
       d. Smoke detectors are starting to be potential PM’s. Some fire marshals.
6. Energy services?
       a. Many are trying but without much luck (benchmarking, energy star
                i. Upsell to ESA (energy service agreement). Add an energy star
                   benchmark, a low cost no cost survey, its about $200 more a year.
                   Can be very easy to save the customer a lot of money which keeps
                   them as your customer.
                       1. List of 18 key points for an energy star benchmark,
                           available on MSCA website.
                       2. Really helps keep customers around. Show the customer
                           what their building is compared to the national average.
               ii. Challenge to kick our tires, try a service call.
7. Regulated objects database
       a. Backflow preventers- Use the website to look up when the preventers need
           to be inspected, and send a bid to the customer a few months before their
           required inspection dated. Commonly got signed contracts back. Can lead
           to hvac service.
8. Webviewing?
       a. Everything is online, reduces overhead. We don’t have any paper
           anymore. Service guy is quoting the compressor changeout before he
           leaves the roof on his blackberry. The customer is much more likely to
           sign if you have the contract right there.
9. Using a blackberry
       a. You can get a quote done instantly.
       b. Techs can quote up to $1800
       c. Techs are selling a lot, but you have to have the right tech with the right
10. We do a lot of things everyday that we don’t think about, but it is very
11. Give techs incentives for pull through work?
       a. Yes, helps sales a lot. But if they are working on commission, are they
           being honest?
12. Cold calling.
       a. Use an outside company to do your cold calling?
                i. Tried it, but stopped. Was pretty good at generating leads, but there
                   was always someone else already on the building
                ii. Yes very successful. Each sales person is getting 5 leads per week.
                    Not to be sexist, but this company only hires women to do the
                    calling. Each service tech is assigned to a sales person, and tells the
                    sales person who to call.
               iii. Probably depends a lot on company. Take a lot of time in the
                    interview process, you have to have the right kind of person to do
                    this type of work.
        b. Silly things, or going over the top (golf ball/ baby shoes) can really get
           peoples attention. People are tired of the same old thing, so getting their
           attention is huge.
13. Unique training for customers
        a. Bring all the customers together for a morning with breakfast and coffee,
           and do a presentation on energy savings or leed. Gets them talking about
           all the projects they are thinking about.
14. Newsletters
        a. A good way to show customers what their options are without having a
           dollar amount on it.
        b. Trivia with prizes.
15. Servicing alternative energy systems (solar, fuel cell)
        a. Some are doing solar.
        b. Roofers are doing solar themselves, and mechanicals are missing out.
        c. Solar is getting a lot more affordable with utilities incentives.
        d. Utilities now buy back excess power.
        e. Johnson controls- bundling, selling solar with lighting and combining the
           payback to make solar look a little cheaper.
        f. Solar heat? Systems have been around for a while, they are starting to
           need maintenance and no one out there can service them. No one in the
           room really had any experience.
16. Single contact for the customer so they know who to sell.
        a. Each account with have an account manager who handles everything for
           that one customer.
        b. Some keep construction and maintenance separate.
                 i. There are different levels of expertise, so you have to talk to
                    different people about it (a basic rooftop change out vs a chiller
                    change out)
17. Sales
        a. Sales are 100% commission. Worked very well for some.
        b. Spreadsheets comparing all salesmen. The management does not use it;
           it’s just a friendly competition between sales people. It is a great
           organizational tool, how you are doing in each category, which customers
            you need to call back, etc. Basically a score card, keeps everyone
            motivated and having fun.
        c. Bells you get to ring depending on what you sell, lets everyone in the
            office know how you are doing. Just a fun thing.
        d. With tech as well, show them how they are doing compared to the rest of
            the field. Not necessarily as incentive, but the more information they have
            about their performance, the better off they are.
18. Customer appreciation?
        a. Get together all the customers for a paddleboat ride down a river, just a
            fun night to get together with everyone.
        b. Oktoberfest for customers.
        c. Baseball game and golf outing.
        d. Some competitors go all out and have private suites at pro sporting events
19. Give techs information on sales to allow them to kind of sell the customer on
    ideas. Not necessarily actually selling, but just making the customer aware of
    other programs or money saving products that we offer.
20. Frequent customer
21. Referrals
        a. “I’m glad you liked our service, tell a friend.”
                                                                                Dave Feutz

Customer retention in a competitive economy
                              Thom Brazel, Jaimi Lomas

   1. More UA guys attending this conference than ever, they realize they need to
       respect and partner with the service guys if they want to survive this.
   2. How many people doing energy service?
           a. Many are.
                   i. Local utilities are financing projects.
                  ii. Lots of rebate money available
                 iii. Anything competition isn’t doing, just to stir up interest.
                 iv. Using case studies as marketing: can bring a lot of business to
                        your company.
   3. What are you doing differently (besides “thanks for your business”) to retain
           a. Getting more involved with the customer, more face time with the
                customer to show them you are interested in them.
           b. Raised prices before the recession hit, so that this year they did not have to
                raise prices, but could still make money (may be a little late to try this
           c. Using utility rebates to help existing customers is huge. Doing a very good
                job with the customers you have, they will tell other people if you find
                them big rebates and are very likely to tell others, resulting in new
                customers calling you.
   4. Margins are actually increasing in some companies, using the recession to maybe
       get rid of some inefficiency.
   5. GPS
           a. Use it as a selling point with the customers, “here are all of our trucks,
                we’ll find the closest one and get them to you.”
   6. How many have sales people?
           a. Yesterday many didn’t have sales, and in fact were fairly negative about
   7. Some owners are becoming their biggest tenants (not many people renting)
           a. Be proactive, “we know that you are losing tenants, maybe we should
                reduce your maintenance agreement”.
   8. Loyalty program.
           a. If a customer owns so many buildings we give him a reduced hourly rate
                as a loyal company.
           b. Will do a free energy audit.
           c. Free backflow preventer inspection.
   9. Energy audits
   10. Send out a letter a month before backflow preventer inspection is required. Very
       rare that the customer does not get back to you and give you the job. Fire
       dampers and filters as well.
         a. Some call it a call ahead agreement.
         b. Full maintenance backflow preventer contracts are very possible.
 11. Fire dampers, power actuators, and mold growth inspection are called “life
     safety inspections” (very effective wording).
 12. Immediate reporting for unhappy customers, service guys have to report to their
     supervisor immediately.
 13. Champion of customer service focus group.
 14. Service techs can write up small quotes on site.
         a. Some techs absolutely love it because they generate their own work.
         b. More convenient for the customer.
         c. Service manager reviews every quote; any discrepancy is taken up with
             the service techs afterwards.
         d. Techs have a limit on prices that they can quote.
         e. Some customers have contracts that allow the service tech to fix anything
             under $300 per unit without having to get permission.
 15. Having only one person in the office quoting all the small jobs. Anything from a
     compressor and up goes to sales people.
         a. Increased margins
 16. More value for our services
         a. Any job over $1000 get a follow up phone call or email to thank them and
             make sure everything is working right.
 17. Client Survey?
         a. Online
         b. Face time with the salesman or foreman
                i. What if they are unhappy with those people?
                         1. Sales and Foreman go out at different times and have
                              specific questions to set up a dialogue that tells if they are
                              happy or not.
         c. Personal performance objectives
         d. Simply have a personal relationship with the client. Talk to the customer
             about the guys you sent out to the job. Find the tech that the customer
             likes the best, and keep him on that job.
 18. Newsletter
         a. Constant contact email?
                i. A lot of people do not want emails.
         b. One company actually sends out a music CD quarterly (summer songs,
             winter songs), something you certainly would remember.
         c. Lottery tickets just to give them a little something to keep you on their
         d. One company actually sends out a music CD quarterly (summer songs,
             winter songs), something you certainly would remember.
19. Lunch and learns

       a. Either goes to the customer, or invites them to our office and teaches them
           a little about air conditioning or plumbing (or anything).
 20. How do we connect with customers that cannot accept any sort of gift?
        a. Facebook?
               i. Be careful, don’t go all out on facebook, as it is not the most
                    professional networking tool. It is not necessarily a bad idea, but
                    keep it simple. (Advice from the Ferris Student: Be careful not to
                    be invasive on facebook, for many people it is a personal
                    networking tool, so professional contacts on facebook may be
                    uncomfortable for some.)
        b. Schedule a lunch a few weeks in advance. Face time over lunch is a great
            way to make a personal connection. Go hit a bucket of balls or go
21. Advertising on the internet?
        a. Don’t use common words like “plumber”, be specific “backflow
        b. Pay per hit advertising on google, yahoo, and bing. Has worked very well
            for some.
        c. One budget is around $3000 per month
22. Get to know the client on a personal level, ask the questions, do not assume
    based on stereotypes. People can be offended when you automatically put them
    in a category.
23. Some of the best clients are owners/managers. How can we find more of them?
        a. Brokers may be a place to start.
        b. Developers sometimes own and manage their own buildings.
        c. Talk to those owners/managers to find out how to find more people like
24. How do you tell off site managers what work is done when the tech does work
    on their buildings?
        a. Send an email from the dispatcher.
25. Handhelds?
        a. Work well, sometimes can be hard to make a benefit for the customer.
        b. Use laptops.
               i. Bring up history on the building.
              ii. Have a signature pad
             iii. Better handwriting and spellchecking.
             iv. All the documents are instantaneous and electronic, much faster
                    and easier.
              v. Wireless aircard (group rate).
                        1. Coins is a product to look at.
        c. Use a PDA and a redfly
        d. Buy a fax machine or scanner, and have service guys send the tickets in
            every night that way.
                                                                           Andy Wiers

Best Practices in a Challenging Market

     Customer Service
       Every customer/job is different
       Customers want more for less
       It’s a fight for every job
       Have to get as many estimates as possible
       Contractors need to know their cost
          Bids to low to compete against
          Bidding to get the job but not making money on it

     Can’t efficiently run a company when employees have multiple job duties
     During tough times, find out who’s loyal to the company
     GPS in vehicles
       Big savings in fuel
       Angry employees can’t quit because there isn’t really anywhere to go
       If they do, there are a lot of good workers without a job and want a chance

     Takes away the “takers”
     Owners have the right to know where their vehicle is
     Need to have a policy in place for issues
     Disadvantage to GPS
       Treat them like children and they’re going to act like children
       Hire the right people to begin with

     Communication
       Have to keep moral up. Employees scared of layoffs are not very efficient.
       Communicate when things are both good and bad. Honesty.
       Weed out the poor workers
         They hurt everyone
       Don’t have to be their friends, just fair to employees

     Savings of diesel vehicles have dissipated
     Safety programs
       Prizes worth while
          Gets whole family involved
                                                                               Andy Wiers
                                                                                John Alvey
                                                                                   Jamie A
                                                                          Ryley Wentworth

Providing Energy Services to Grow Your Maintenance Base
These days you need to energize your service agreements. By doing this you differentiate
your offering, get the meeting, and change the buying criteria. A few ways to set you
apart from the rest are to hire better trained techs, build and maintain a positive
reputation, and have a competitive price. There are a few things to consider when getting
started in energy services. They are: treat as a sales initiative, start benchmarking, focus
on financial buyer, and integrate with service offering. Energy service agreements
establish a baseline of energy performance and also benchmark the energy performance.
Energy service agreements should have different service tiers based on the amount of
service the customer wants.
                                                                   Michael Chapman
                             Selling Energy Services

  I. Energy is a key cost saver for businesses:
        a. More energy efficient products help a business cut costs
                 i. Green, LEED certified, Energy Star
        b. More energy efficient buildings are being required before construction.
 II. Building owners and customers want better products for less:
        a. Customers are looking at how much they can save now with a less
            expensive, less efficient product instead of how another more energy
            efficient product will save them more money in the future.
III. Targeting customers:
        a. Set up an appointment with the potential customer(mail, telephone, service
        b. Get in the door with something important to say:
                 i. Energy savings and cost savings should be included in the sales
                ii. Show the customer how a company’s energy star ratings could
                    help them cut costs (up to 10-20% savings).
                        1. Energy benchmark reports
                        2. Age of Equipment reports
                                a. Show the customer when systems should be
        c. Service Agreement renewals:
                 i. Allows the business between the contractor and customer to
                                                                         Andy Wiers

Principles Focus – Lonely at the Top

     How involved do you get with employees?
       Employees appreciate involvement
       Hard to do with bigger organizations
       Can’t always be their friend. Decisions based on good of the company
       Get their respect and understanding
         Take out to dinner for special occasion. 1 on 1
         Personal phone call ex: birthdays, anniversaries, etc…
         Make it an individual action

     Family business’s – Succession Planning
       Family business’s have own unique challenges
       Lay everything on the table so all feelings are known
       Doesn’t have to be equal, just FAIR

     Lonely at the Top
       Who critiques the owner?
       No one to look over their shoulder
       Peer groups are a good idea
       Can only be 1 leader/president
          Co-presidents don’t work. Someone has to have the final say

     Grow a business for profit not volume
     Business is relationship related
       To stay successful during this economy you need strong relationships with
                                                                              Blake Allen
                                                                              Matt Salvati

GPS/field technology

Diagnostic Benefits:
 Fuel pressure
 Over heating
 Takes the mystery out of what’s wrong

Dispatching Benefits:
 No need to call techs; Know where your trucks are at all times
 Knowing = holds techs accountable
 Knowing the distance of truck from the job site = getting the most qualified techs the
   fastest to the costumer - can be used as a selling point to costumers

Other Benefits:
 If a tech gets a speeding ticket GPS allows you to go back and check his speed and/or
   speeding habits.
 If a costumer says the tech was only there for 4 hours - GPS can prove actual 8 hours
   of work

Pro Active Alerts- can be alerted immediately via texts and/or emails if-
 Truck leaves 20 mi radius of shop
 Truck crosses county lines
 When the truck starts
 Truck operating during odd hours
 Speeding
 Truck operating during the weekend
 Out of normal range miles

Fuel Saving benefits:
1. Set speed limit - light will go off if exceeded - causing techs to slow down which in
   return = saving in Miles Per Gallon.
2. If the truck idles for too long a sensor will go off.

Examples of success after installing GPS systems:
 10 hr jobs turned into 5 hr jobs
 Techs now telling you were he was at - no arguing
 Cleans everything up - guys realize fair is fair

 Soft sell to techs - Installing GPS systems for the safety alerts
                                Hand - Held Devices

 Much tighter
 Much cleaner
 Past service reports
 Special instructions
 Integrated with accounting/office

Assists the tech by providing info on:
 Costumer notes
 Who worked on the system previously
 Past problems
 Things to look out for (ex. Locked doors)
 New contacts

Costumer copy will include:
 Basic info
 Problem description
 Labor
 Description of work
 Material info
 Costumer signature
                                                          FSU Student: Jamie Ambeau

Best Practices in a Challenging Market
                       By: Scott Berger & Pattie Krippendorf

  1. Scott talked about how speaking to everyone can have a gain in all directions.
        a. Whether it is a big company or small company.
  2. How to overcome a big problem.
        a. Scott says that he had to reduce contract price.
                  i. Re-sell/Re-work contracts
                 ii. Had to reduce after hour calls.
        b. Another man said that a company said they wanted everything the same in
             level but with $20 less an hour.
                  i. They had to lose the contract.
                 ii. Why do the work for free?
                         1. Was a million dollar account.
                iii. Having a Journeyman or Intern would not fix the problem.
                iv. Call back in a year or so and see how things are going.
                         1. Or 6 months
                 v. Do things in house to help customer
                         1. Email, phone follow up
                                 a. They are very happy with this
                                 b. Believe that they are there
                         2. Keep in touch with them!
                                 a. Long term , things will get to where they once
        c. Some say need a reduction in contract.
                  i. How can you charge us 10% less now and not be able to do it
                         1. Trying to keep relationships going
                         2. Sometimes, you have to let them go.
                                 a. Can’t always lose money
                         3. When a unit comes to 20 years old, instead of replacing it,
                             service it for now
                                 a. Michael says that they market this approach
                                 b. There has been a decrease in repairs
  3. What are best practices doing to help customers?
        a. NICE BIKE!
        b. Communication, follow-ups, calls
                  i. Some places just don’t have the money
                         1. Plant the seed
         c. Trying to do a financial sell
                  i. Has had a couple jobs so far
                         1. More successful when shown a payback
4.   What’s EMCOR doing special?
         a. Find the rose for everything
                  i. Some just don’t have money
                 ii. Increase in competition
                         1. Weird bids coming in market place
                iii. OEMs in Boston are vulnerable
5.   Keep an open communication
         a. You will be one step ahead of them
                         1. For some reason, everyone’s level has dropped three
                 ii. Market your customers
                         1. Golf Outings
         b. Have to have a relationship with everyone
                  i. That way they aren’t on each other’s back
         c. Customers have told people that he would pay them twice to do a same
6.   EMCOR is trying to get away from Full Maintenance Agreements
         a. Very difficult to keep and maintain
         b. Some are the opposite
                  i. We know what’s being done properly
                         1. If it needs to be replaced, they would know sense that do
                 ii. The efficiency’s are where the savings are
                         1. The power is still the same
                iii. Customers want the one budget a month expense
                iv. Have a diversified portfolio
                         1. Summer has A/C
                         2. Fall has no A/C but Cooking goes up due to schooling
                            coming in
                         3. Winter has heating
7.   Trip fees
         a. Why an hour charge for 15 minutes of work?
                  i. Sometimes takes awhile to get there
         b. Some don’t have charge at all
                  i. A higher labor charge is in account for this
8.   Tickets
         a. Some have $4,000 in tickets and only pay $400
                i. In NYC, they have an agreement with NYC about ticket meters
9. Labor rates too high?
       a. Anybody having complaints?
       b. Listen to the ones who complain, that’s about it
                i. Didn’t need two guys
               ii. Didn’t fix the problem
       c. Well if I go to the grocery store and buy a steak for $20 will you cook it
          and give it to me for that instead of your price of $45?
                i. Problem fixed
               ii. Only due to the ones that are close
       d. Some lower theirs by $10 just to keep work
                i. Sometimes will not work
10. Anyone add GPS this year?
       a. Had an uproar with Union
       b. Had set expectations
       c. Managing the asset was how sold
                i. Techs. rolled theirs eyes at the ideas
               ii. Will notice within first 10 months
              iii. This is a great time to add these
       d. Some have an insurance adjustment
       e. Some GPS’s have a commercial route
       f. Can help with reporting stolen vehicles
                i. Wouldn’t solve everything but at least have a sooner idea
       g. If they leave (Techs.) there was something beforehand
       h. Some have to punch in and punch out on phone.
                i. Need to keep phone on.
                       1. Many phones have free night and weekends
                       2. This IS an incentive for THEM
       i. This can tell client exactly how far they are away.
                i. My guy will be there in exactly 6 minutes.
       j. Do all company trucks
                i. Don’t just do service
               ii. Put one or your own vehicle will help the matter
                i. Where is __________?
                       1. Oh they are at ___________.
       l. If it’s a company vehicle, do them all.
11. ALI
       a. A peer group on steroids
12. Communication with Tech.
       a. Very important
13. Customer challenges
       a. GCs are trying to take on more challenges
                i. Pre-purchasing of equipment
       b. Who handles warranty issues
       c. Some put warranties into bid
       d. Make sure to read the specs
                i. i.e. Sometimes it says you need to do maintenance for an entire
       e. Put a ceiling into your proposal
                i. This works sometimes
14. Has anyone doe any LEED projects
       a. EB from EMCOR
                i. Hard to estimate building for NC
15. Has anyone been involved in Energy Audits?
       a. In Midwest, LEED is not happening
                i. Nothing is even going on
               ii. LEED looks good on end of card
       b. In NY, there are two projects.
                i. Not sure if ever will be finished
       c. More windows will make less lighting
                i. Make higher cooling and heating with more windows
               ii. The bigger saver is in lighting
16. Anyone doing a Green PM?
       a. Anyone trying for more revenue?
       b. If you go to website, there are webinars that are available to download.
       c. Encourage everyone to go to STAR or GREEN STAR conference
17. Contract Growth
       a. Are you giving sales people a little more Leeway?
       b. Anything unique?
                i. Adjust service plan.
               ii. Compensated for Retention
              iii. Successful in retaining
              iv. Customer feedback
                        1. Email from Tech.
                               a. The minute they are done
                        2. Have two I.T. Tech full time for service
                        3. Customer can go online to view reports for themselves
               v. Some companies have a “report card” on how they did
                        1. Good job
                     2. On time
                     3. Etc.
18. What do they have that you want?
      a. Keep calling them until something happens
      b. Differentiate yourselves from your competition
      c. Here’s what we can do and this is our “laundry” list that we can do for you
                                                            FSU Student: Jamie Ambeau

Unique Sales Strategies
                         By: Jim Batolotta & Dave Bavisotto
  1. Anyone experience growth this year
         a. Technology route
                  i. Sharing of info
                 ii. Client web interface
                         1. Can see what is going on
                         2. See equipment history
                         3. Post quotes to customer
                                  a. Bothers customer to see all quotes
                                  b. They tend to sell them due to they don’t want to see
                                     them in their profile
                         4. A free option for the clients
                         5. Data basics
                         6. Costs roughly $1,000 a year
                         7. Aged based technology
                         8. “Perfect Were Solutions”
                iii. Filed Techs have wireless internet
                         1. Can do quotes on job site
                                  a. Call stores for pricing on equipment
                         2. Enables to train and invest the service techs into selling
                         3. Building a relationship
                         4. Odds are greater when they are at the site
                                  a. Owners ask questions to them and they can answer
  2. Contract Problems
         a. Come up with new ways to have lower prices
                  i. Made less maintenance
                 ii. Less filter changes
                iii. Not the best, but had to be done
         b. Automatic renewals weren’t coming as easy as they once were
         c. Come up with a reduction in price but tell customer that we want a 3 year
            extension on the contract
                  i. After 2 years say we have helped you out, go back to what once
         d. Do self renewal contracts
         e. In contracts, have it start and stop a certain day
                  i. Somewhere state that there is a 4% rise every year
  3. Differentiate yourselves from one another
         a. Building Information Modeling
               i. Provide this information to the client
              ii. Matches everything
             iii. Can click anywhere and the information of that unit will appear
                     1. What it is, when it is serviced
             iv. Can use in Existing Building and New Construction
      b. Anyone upgrading your PMA to ESA (Energy Savings Agreement)?
               i. Go to Air Advice on MSCA website ( and go to webinars)
                     1. Energy Service Agreement
                             a. Does an energy audit
                             b. Can Energy Star Benchmark their building
                             c. Has a three page handout which details everything
                     2. Its free to do and adds so much to the client
                     3. Don’t wait for them
                             a. Talk to them, plant that seed
      c. Have the right people to back you up
               i. The techs need to know what they are doing
                     1. One said that they went into a building and the other
                         company said they can do this, they can do that. He then
                         pointed out that they can’t fix this or that. With that, the
                         other company lost their contract and we gained one.
              ii. Make your techs stand out
                     1. May it be MSCA STAR or GREEN STAR
                             a. Lobby to certified as soon as you can
                             b. In proposal, you can say why it is so important
                             c. Can have time cut by 2/3 and save money
                             d. It shows on van that they are certified in something
                                     i. Puts you over the edge
                     2. Have all techs have cameras
                             a. Works well in proposals
                     3. Have them clean up after themselves
                             a. Slobs don’t stay employed
                             b. Clean the roof off!
                                     i. Pick up tanks, screws, belts, anything that’s
                                        not supposed to be there pick up and be neat
                                        about it.
                     4. One guy knew how to repair small engines, which led into
                         fixing zamboni’s. This led the company into the ice rink
                         and they now do everything for them.
                     5. Have them be well rounded in everything
4. Looking to grow
       a. Buying companies that are struggling right now
                i. Small medium range companies
5. Warranties?
       a. Provide a lifetime warranty on new compressor
                i. Does have conditions attached
               ii. Have to have PM agreements
              iii. IF does fail, we supply compressor, they pay labor to fix it
                       1. Pay also the crane, random maintenance
              iv. Only do it on unit that we install
       b. Provide a two year parts warranty instead of one
                i. Manufacturer throws this in at no additional charge
       c. Some have 5 year part warranty from carrier on all parts on compressor
                i. With no extra charge
6. Do inspections now on fire dampers
       a. Some have calls on air compressors or generators as well.
7. Regulated objects
       a. State requires back flow preventers
8. Sell possibly Plumbing Agreements
       a. Very profitable
       b. Sells possibly about $250,000 to almost $1,000,000 this year
9. E.P.A.C.T.
       a. Saves money
10. Solar energy ideas?
11. Reverse Auction
       a. Like EBay
                                                                        Michael Chapman

Field Productivity
   I. Margins: how productive/efficient each worker is
         a. Time and efficiency is a factor but productivity is essential (1 hr. vs. 3hrs.)
         b. Take your time and get the job done right.
  II. Track Callbacks
         a. Make sure the job is done right the first time.
 III. GPS with mileage/speed tracking and Zone Work
         a. GPS helps the technicians get to the job site quickly.
         b. GPS with mileage tracking can be used to compare the amount of miles to
             the job site to the miles driven by the technician.
         c. GPS with speed tracking can be used to track how fast the technician is
             driving to the job site.
         d. Zone work allows technicians work in an area close instead of driving to a
             call 100 miles away for example
                  i. Technicians work in their assigned areas making work more
 IV. Get Feedback from Employees
         a. Morale
         b. Feedback from employees can be used to make alterations in the system to
             help employees work more efficiently.
  V. Hire intelligently
         a. Hire the people who will get the job done.
         b. A friend or family member may not always be the best worker.
 VI. Keep Employees Informed
         a. Scheduling meetings every week or month helps keep technicians
         b. Meetings help keep employees informed about what is going on.
VII. Cell Phones
         a. Talking on the phone is acceptable when it applies to business.
                  i. Can help the technician find the answer to a mechanical question
         b. Excessive talking to friends, family, or other coworkers is sometimes
VIII. Paperless systems(Databasics, COINS)
         a. Information kept on programs such as Databasics or COINS is more
         b. Technicians can enter the information into these programs from a
             computer in their truck.
                                                                         Carlton Miller

New rules and new tools in HVACR
     First went around and introduced everyone where they were from and what
      they do
     Take test to become certified to become worth more to your company
     Technician process
          o 1st year – coil clean
          o 2nd year - inspection
          o 3rd year – call on water leaks and miner problems
          o 4th year – journeymen work
     Technicians need to stay learning. A lot of people were let go because they did
      not want to improve on new technologies.
     The main theme was that learning/ attitude is what it comes down too.
     Great term “Be a student of the game”
     Hiring for technicians
          o Good credit
          o Good car record for insurance
          o Back ground check
                                                                       Carlton Miller

Field Productivity
     What effects productive?
         o Personal phones calls and technology
     GPS- Get it. Makes things easier, faster, and quicker
         o Vehicle tracking- tells speed, where they are at, and cuts down on abuse
            for personal uses.
     Company’s methods
         o Guys come in a hour early every week and discuss the latest info, safety,
            and hand in reports
         o Laptops
                  Drop them a lot
                  Where can they store them because they are big
                  A lot of money upfront and they get stolen easily
         o Hand held GPS
                  Can be used as a phone
                  Can track equipment
                  Can see last 10 service calls
                  Online use
                  Fills out time in and out
     Some productivity methods
         o Work 40 hours a week they get 1 hour of paid leave time
         o Bonuses at the end of the year
         o Golf outing, painting, picnics and keeps work as a team
                                                                           Lester Hallberg

Selling Energy Service.
In the current market, there is a slow down in the construction of new buildings but there
is the need for servicing the current market. Why now, what is the opportunity, why me,
and how can we get started. Connect directly with the property owners of commercial
building and show them what you can do for them today. Show them that you can save
them money on their monthly operating cost of heating, cooling, lighting and air quality.
This also has the potential to open up to a capital cost upgrade. Over the next few years
the trend is going to show a slow growth in service contracts.
                                                                           Lester Hallbert

Principals Focus -- Lonely at the Top
This gave business owners in the heating and cooling industry to have an open forum to
discuss what ever they wanted to about their businesses with other business owners. One
owner talked about a business that he sold and ended up buying it back from the buyer
for 80% less because the business sales went down and most of the key people left and
when he bought back the business he was able to choose the right people to come back
into the company. Other business owners talked about the importance of staying healthy
to keep the business going and looking for the right options for future expansion, future
successors or possibly taking on other business owners.

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