Transcripts of Patrick Long Interview:
Patrick Long: BizPAL is a friend to your residential service business. I'm a problem solver by nature, so, whatever your problems or frustrations are, my intention is to work hand-in-hand with you to develop and implement solutions that effectively solve them. This may include Recruiting, Ride-Along Sales Coaching, Operational Coaching, and creating strategies to help you grow your business.
How to advertise your HVAC Business
Corey Brown: If you were starting a HVAC business, what is the first thing you would do to promote it?
Patrick Long: The first thing I would do would be to establish the business on social media. When you're starting a new company, it's important to remain as lean as possible, so networking would be a big part of my strategy to establish and build the business. I know networking can be time consuming, so I would use social media to accelerate the process.
That being said, I know a lot of business people who put very little effort into social media and try to get by on the bare minimum, mostly blank pages with no information, no posts, etc. My experience shows that's just not going to work.
There has to be plenty of information about the business on the pages. In addition, that information has to be consistent across all the social media profiles, and there have to be posts, likes, and other forms of engagement to make the profile credible and trustworthy.
My advice? Go out and “friend” some people (virtually and in real life) and get them to interact with you on your page, recommend you to their friends and family on their profiles, leave you reviews, etc.
Ways HVAC business owners can stand out from their competitors
Corey Brown: What do you recommend to HVAC business owners, when they are looking for ways to stand out from their competitors?
Patrick Long: If you really want to stand out from your competitors, ask homeowners what their experiences have been, what they look for, and how they feel about contractors and - most importantly - listen to their responses.
You’ll find they are not afraid to tell you about the bad experiences they've had in the past.
Trust me, I've travelled all across the United States and spent countless hours talking to hundreds, if not thousands, of homeowners about their experiences with residential contractors, their perceptions of contractors, and how this affects their expectations prior to dealing with a contractor.
The good news is that many of your "competitors" are out there making things easier for you by living up to homeowners’ low expectations.
As a result, with regard to a homeowner's perception and expectations about dealing with a contractor, the bar isn't being set very high for you to stand out from the rest of the crowd!
The fact of the matter is, telling someone how long you've been in business doesn't help you stand out at all, because the guy who tracked mud through their house told them the exact same thing.
I've found that the "little things" are what really matter the most. Homeowners want a contractor who:
- Respects their time.
- Respects the cleanliness of their home.
- Respects and listens to their wants and needs.
There is a statistic in sales that says something like 71% of people prefer to do business with people they like, trust, or respect.
And, we all know the old saying: "If you want respect, you have to earn it."
And, the best way to earn that respect, is to first give it!
The key is: Homeowners are looking for a contractor who makes them feel like the experience is all about them by showing them respect and consideration for their wants and needs.
The contractor who is able to do that the best is the one who will stand out in the end.
Ways HVAC business owners generate income during the slow season
Corey Brown: Can you provide some ways HVAC business owners generate income during the slow season?
Patrick Long: There are several things that HVAC contractors can do to generate income during the slow seasons.
One of the best ways is to create a group of preventative service customers who receive tune-up services during the contractor's slow season.
The important thing is that the contractor is organized enough to manage this program in a way that ensures the preventative services are specifically scheduled within the slow season and not during peak business periods.
Another way for an HVAC contractor to generate consistent income during their slow season is to follow up on repair and replacement opportunities that were discovered during service calls throughout the year.
This requires that you consistently track information on repairs that were declined or postponed.
Let's say you briefly spoke to a customer about resealing their ductwork when you saw them about a cooling problem during the summer. Maybe they went ahead with the A/C repair but declined having the ductwork resealed at the time.
Why not follow up with that customer during your next slow season and ask them if they've had that issue taken care of and if they'd be interested in having you come out to resolve it now?
I promise you, a certain percentage of customers will say yes. And an even larger percentage will appreciate that you thought of them!