Blaine Fox

Spring Checkup: How Healthy is Your Service Agreement Program?
It’s almost May. That means the hot weather is right around the corner for most contractors across the country. It’s a perfect time for you to be checking in on the health of your service agreement program. You’ve got a great opportunity when homeowners are calling in for tune-ups, and you’ll want to make sure your service agreement program is built to be profitable, is attractive to homeowners and that your team is prepared to sell them. A healthy plan base is also one of the most important and fundamental indicators in a valuation of your business. Read on for how you can do a quick self-evaluation to determine the health of your service agreement program.
Trends and Hot Topics: 2010 ACCA Convention Part 2
Last issue, I focused on “The Next Big Thing” – the home performance industry – that many contractors were planning for at the ACCA Convention. This issue, I’ll discuss what I observed regarding “The Big Shift” that many HVAC contractors are already involved in, and it’s changing the way they communicate, the way they sell, and the way they market their businesses. Chances are, you’re already partaking in “The Big Shift”. Read on for a glimpse into how other HVAC contractors are leveraging this shift.
Trends and Hot Topics: 2010 ACCA Convention
I just returned from the ACCA Convention last week and after getting 50 inches of snow in southern Pennsylvania last month, the trip to Tampa was a welcome one. The dose of good weather was reinvigorating, but spending time with some of the country’s top contractors was even more so. The Warm Thoughts team and I spent three days digging deep with these industry leaders, discussing their marketing plans, consulting with them on how to grow their business this year and listening to their strategies for 2010. For contractors who couldn’t make it to the ACCA show, I’m going to share some of the latest trends in the industry, which I’ll do in the next few issues. In this issue, I’ll focus on “The Next Big Thing.”
Customer Acquisition: Cold and Calculating is a Good Thing
It’s time to get focused about your marketing. The stakes are higher and your marketing needs to be very precise, especially when you are intent on customer acquisition. You need to know exactly who your customers are in your service area, and exactly which segments of your service area you should be focusing on. Not all prospects are created equal, and not all areas are of equal value to you. Read on to learn how to develop your Desirability Quotient (DQ) and employ market research to market smarter this spring.
Lead-Generating Strategies, Part 2
In a down economy, HVAC contractors can never have enough effective strategies to generate more qualified sales leads. Continuing our focus on this critical part of your business, I’m going to share with you the “referral secret” that all contractors should be aware of.
Lead Generating Strategies for the New Year
In the last article we spoke about what your New Year’s resolution should be, which is to track, measure and manage your sales leads. In this and the next few articles, I’m going to focus on some “outside the box” strategies that can help you generate more qualified leads throughout the year.
HVAC Contractors’ New Year’s Resolution
We’ve probably all made resolutions in the past—whether it’s exercising regularly, eating right, or spending more time with family and less time at the office—and have seen them last for a few days, maybe a few weeks. When it comes to their business goals, HVAC contractors can’t afford to fall short. With the new year right around the corner, it’s “game time.” I’d like to recommend a New Year’s Resolution that every contractor should commit to.
Proven Tactics to Generate More Revenue, Part 2
As we head into the new year, many HVAC contractors have already put plans in motion to generate increased leads and sales from a variety of sources, and I’m sure you’ve got certain expectations for what your website will deliver. Progressive HVAC contractors have high expectations for the leads they’ll generate online, and you should too. In case you missed our presentation at the 2009 HVAC Comfortech, read on for some insights to strengthen your online presence.
Proven Tactics to Generate More Revenue
In the last article, we spoke about the budgeting process and the HVAC Performance Bridge as a means to achieve the budgeted goals for the year. As a reminder, the HVAC Performance Bridge is comprised of the plans, strategies and actions you take to turn your budgeted goals into reality
The HVAC Performance Bridge
Hooray! It’s budget season. If you’re like most contractors, you’re working on next year’s budget right now. You’ve probably pulled your last three years’ sales numbers for review. You’re making educated assumptions about what your market will look like in 2010, based on the best information you can gather and how that information will affect your financial performance. You’re probably estimating which product lines will grow and which ones will shrink. This is all really critical to the health and success of your business next year, but it’s only as good as what I call the “HVAC Performance Bridge.”
Questions From the Field: Why Are My Customers More Demanding?
Thanks to all of the contractors who have sent questions to me. In this issue, I’m going to address one concern that came up in email after email – how to deliver superior service in a profitable way. It’s an issue that we should all be thinking about, and to their credit, the most progressive mechanical contractors focus on it every single day. But times change, attitudes shift, your customers think about you differently – a lot of times, you can’t figure out why. So here are some thoughts around the most popular question I received so far:
Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions at HVAC Comfortech 2009
Last week we presented 'Websites That Work' at the 2009 HVAC Comfortech in Nashville. Lots of contractors came, wanting to know how they could make their websites more profitable and customer-focused. There were a few questions that were asked repeatedly in each of the sessions, so I’d like to take the opportunity to share our answers to your most pressing issues.
Questions From the Field
Many good trainers and instructors have done a tremendous job in the past ten to twelve years educating service technicians about how they can bring a higher level of communication and salesmanship to their work. There is no doubt in my mind that today’s service technician is infinitely better prepared to handle more of the non-technical issues they face every day because of the excellent training that has been made available across the industry.
Customer newsletters – Just how critical are they?
Here is the truth: After your service department, newsletters can become your the No. 1 source of sales leads. They will outstrip direct mail campaigns. They will annihilate yellow page advertising. They will beat radio advertising too. The ROI on newsletters can be absolutely outstanding. Not to mention their value as a brand building vehicle and an excellent mechanism for retaining your existing customers. But it’s also true that a lot of newsletters can’t, and never will, deliver business for contractors.
Communicating After a Merger or Acquisition of an HVAC Contractor – Part 2
You might remember from the last article about the frightening statistic that 70% of acquisitions fail to reach their budgeted goals. Unfortunately, the truth can be painful. Your company can be part of the 30% that succeed by following the tried and true strategies for communicating after a merger or acquisition. Read on for a glimpse into what works best to ensure your merger communications are successful.




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