Some rules are like un-forked fried chicken:
In Gainesville, Georgia, it’s illegal to eat fried chicken…
…with a fork. A confused tourist got arrested for that in 2009.
Here’s the point.
Some rules are made to be broken, or at least ignored.
Today we’ll focus on the unwritten rules that’ll slowly crush your profits unless you break them first.
This is how to bring your outbound system to the next level, by breaking foolish rules.
Rule-to-Break #1: “It’s Okay to Have a Slow Season.”
The most deadly company-killer is a poorly managed slow-season.
All but the best of your competitors have bored individuals filling in their time with brainless busy-work just to look productive during the slow season.
That’s a valuable opportunity for you, for obvious reasons.
Who wrote the unwritten rule that certain months should be a slow time for your company?
It’s a rule that needs be broken.
The slow season should be your fast season.
When the demand starts to fade, turn up your marketing, full force. Things should actually get faster.
Because this is the time to gain on your stronger competitors and overtake the weaker ones.
You need to drum up the demand that forces you to hire more techs, plumbers, and/or electricians.
That’s how you grow.
And what’s the best way to do that?
Transform your “slow season” mentality into a “fast season” mentality.
Now, here’s how to build more business even when you’re slow.
Rule-to-Break #2: “We Hire Normal CSRs Like Everybody.”
We’ve all heard about the legend of Achilles. He was an extraordinary hero; skilled, powerful, just about invincible.
That’s what we’re looking for.
But instead of fighting skill, we’re looking for modern day sales prowess. Heroic work ethic. Top of the line customer service, discipline, and communication.
Ultimately, a new breed.
I’ve never hired a customer service rep to answer the phone.
Instead, I hired outbound people.
Great outbound people are rare. They’re CSR workhorses who can hit the phones non-stop and sell like a machine.
Not many people can pound out 100+ calls a day while answering the phone just as good as anybody.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s very difficult to find people with that kind of personality and skill. But it pays off.
Because they’re the ones who’ll transform your slow season into a fast one.
Here’s another rule to break.
Rule-to-Break #3: “We Only Pursue Recruiting When We Really Need to.”
Push yourself, the owner – whoever recruits – push them to recruit harder.
Make your hiring process more efficient, and a much higher priority.
Here’s something to think about.
I’d definitely try this if I started over again – I’d acquire lead lists. Not for sales. For recruiting. I’d get lists of techs and have my team call them, non-stop. That could create a bottomless recruiting pool of talent.
Keeping your pipeline full is far from easy. For most people, it’s far from fun. But people are the lifeblood of your company.
If you’ve hired a strong team, you’re halfway there. Now you need to lead them.
Rule-to-Break #4: “My Team’s So Good, They Don’t Need Coaching.”
Outbound calling yields regular house visits. That’s good. But are they calling correctly? Are they pushing themselves?
What’s inspected is respected. Set your expectations and hold your people accountable to hitting their KPI’s.
► Their conversion rate on inbound; how many they made, how many they booked.
► How many emails they sent out.
► Total calls booked.
Focus on getting each individual to beat your company average instead of goals.
Always, always focus on your people. Steer them away from the “us vs the company” sort of mindset. That’s toxic. Treat them good and they’ll treat you good – if you’ve hired good.
And balance that with quality accountability, because even the best have low-performance stretches that you can coach them out of.
Here’s yet another rule to break.
We don’t do many service checks in the off season.
That’s lame in the sense that it literally cripples your company.
Let’s flip that around to create the #1 rule to keep.
#1 Rule-to-Keep: Hit Your Marketing Hard in the Off-Season.
Your techs don’t like it because they’ve adjusted to a poorly constructed system.
It’s up to you to lead them out of that system.
You should hit it hard during the “slow” season with both your outbound people and your techs, plumbers, and/or electricians.
Which brings us to system checks: Do your system checks in the slow season.*
Because you want to be fresh on your target market’s minds when things start picking up.
If you’re hitting the phones hard and making house visits in, say, March and April (the end of our off-season here in Kansas City), guess what?
When May and June roll around, and people start needing your services, who do you think they’re going to call? Yep. You, because your company has been freshly planted in their heads.
Throughout the year, keep your eye on plumbing and electrical system checks. As you grow, you’re going to have slow days. That’s just how it is. But you need to have them go out consistently so you can keep growing, and have less of those days.
QuickTip: February is a difficult month because you can’t check the freon. Just don’t check the freon on 5 years or younger. Give it the stamp of approval. Move on. Keep those system checks rolling. It’s also a good way to have new techs practice and learn through experience.
The same goes for the plumbing side of things, but you’re doing system checks in June and July, or whatever your slow season is.
*Always call it that. If you call AC checks, well, AC checks, in the cold season, people are going to think “why do I need to check the AC, it’s not even warm,” and they won’t do it. Instead, check everything at once and call it a system check.