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“When I’m wrong I say I’m wrong” who can forget that powerful quote from Dr. Houseman to Johnny in Dirty Dancing? What am I wrong about you ask? Well back in my former life as a plumbing contractor I believed that my plumbing knowledge and personality would be what set me and my company apart from the rest of my competitors.
So in a sense my arrogance and hardheadedness stood in the way of my success. You see most business owners who were once tradesmen believe that the only thing they are selling is their trade knowledge. It’s a big part to be sure but most owners and their service technicians neglect to ever educate themselves on how to sell, on how potential customers buy and what makes them tick.
But it Wasn’t Done This Way in Plumbing in the Past!!
Most dynamic business owners and or service technicians use some form of persuasion when selling their services but much of it is by accident. I am here to tell you this and I feel so strongly about it that I’m willing to yell it from the rooftop, if you own a professional service company of any kind and you don’t have all of your sales staff using a sales system you’re dying a slow death. That is correct, if you don’t have a company sales system in place be it one of your own design or one that an outside sales professional puts in place you are on borrowed time.
The Plumbing Industry has Changed so Must We.
How did I come to this epiphany you ask? Well life has a funny way of educating, it’s unforgiving but allows for some amount of redemption as well. You see I am a former plumbing contractor, you can probably come to that conclusion if you’ve read some of the other articles on theplumbinginfo.com. The downturn in the economy really took its toll on my company, as much as I thought I knew, it couldn’t save me.
So then began my quest to reinvent myself, to throw away some of the things I believed to be true. I began to work for a company that did some of the things I did in the past but was much more focused on consumer plumbing.
No Place for Egos Anymore
One day the owner came into my office and was very frank he said “Sean I don’t want to offend you because you did and do a lot of things well but are you willing to open up your mind a bit and take an intense class on sales and persuasion?” I checked my ego at the door several months before so I said “heck yes, I know my way wasn’t the right way or I’d still be in business. What have you got in mind?” He said “I’m sure you’ve seen some of the books laying around the office, they have “Total Immersion, Sales Summit on them?” I said yes I had in fact seen them. He said “I want you to go”. Well I went for to the 5 day sales summit and it was a life changing event for me. At the summit I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of contractorselling.com and Total Immersion Mr. Joe Crisara.
So how did a sales summit change my thinking? Well to put in Crisara speak it was a “paradigm shift”. It took everything I thought I knew and threw it out the window, but the key here is that you must let it be thrown out. I’ve seen far too many proud plumbing contractors and technicians not allow for any new thinking regardless of their successes or failures.
Its a Plumbing Paradigm Shift
If one were to ask me what I thought was the biggest keys to my paradigm shift it would be tough to answer but I would say that “knowing your true costs” would be at the top of my list. Once you admit to yourself you’re not quite sure how all of the costs fit into the business puzzle you are well on your way to achieving a breakthrough.
Another thing is you have to be completely honest with yourself and your business, being introspective is key. These concepts are easily transferred to the service technician as well. Most employees have no idea how much they cost to their employer and the Total Immersion Sales Summit does a great job in filling in those blanks.
Pick Some Sales System but Total Immersion is the Best I’ve Seen
Once again Joe is one of the most honest people you’ll ever meet but you absolutely must check your ego at the door. Believe me I know first hand how blunt he can be, but he has only the “purest motive” for all his madness. (He’ll get a kick out of that statement because it is a key component to his sales system.). After questioning one of the small aspects of the system he said and I quote “OK Sean you can just go back to “estimating”to put in toilets or the plumbing in a building and see how that goes.” Needless to say I took that bitter and swallowed it whole.
In the next part of this piece we will pick Joe’s brain a bit to see the why and how of what he does. Again we always try to bring you the very best products, people and concepts and we all feel very strongly about the message Joe brings to the plumbing/HVAC service contractor. Even if you aren’t a service contractor this is still a great business lesson.