Question: What continuing education do you recommend for technicians and sales reps?
Mike Treas; The HVAC Sales Coach:
Well, first of all, once a year I believe everybody, I don’t care how long they’ve been in the industry – whether you’re a service tech, a service selling tech, or a comfort advisor -- you should be in a class.
The EGIA classes, or having someone like one of the EGIA faculty come to your center and teach all of your people the sales process, go through it from beginning to end, and roleplay, roleplay, roleplay, one week every year. Everyone. And I believe that goes for customer service reps as well, they’re just not part of this question. And then, that curriculum needs to be carried through on your weekly meetings. So anytime someone goes to that training, their manager needs to go to that same training, so that their manager – or coach, or internal training person – can coach them every single week on those meetings that we have in the mornings at the shop.
So the other, of course, there’s a lot of other great opportunities out there. EGIA Contractor University is a great way to get ongoing education, and I believe that all of your techs and your comfort advisors should, once a week, pull up something from the EGIA website and just start working your way through the Contractor University curriculum from beginning to end. The beautiful thing about it is that after you finish each module, you are required to pass a test before you can move on to the next one, so they have to pay attention, which is a great thing.
Then of course there are others like Weldon Long’s HVAC Sales Academy, and again back to people like myself: we all do onsite training classes. For example, I’ll be traveling to a center next week and I will work with every one of their comfort advisors, every one of their technicians, to teach them a process. And again, even if they’ve gone through it before, and many of these people have, it’s a great refresher to do it live with other people in your organization, so that you’re all on the same page. And then the manager has, of course, the curriculum to manage you every day as you go in and out of customers’ homes.
James Leichter; President, Aptora Corporation & Mr. HVAC, LLC:
I would reiterate one thing, and Mike says it all the time, and I think it’s just worth underlining: The managers need to go to these things. Oftentimes managers, especially owners, we make the mistake of thinking that we can send our people to a seminar and they’ll come back fixed, right Mike?
You send them off to be fixed, like it was dog training, and you get your dog back and he’ll go fetch the bird. It just doesn’t work like that.
Even with us, we owners, we have to be constantly reminded of our education. So owners and managers – managers at a minimum – need to go to these training sessions to learn what is being taught, so they can reinforce it when they get back. I think that’s what Mike was saying, I just wanted to underline it.