The 10 Commandments of Service Agreements

The"Ten commandments" in the Bible are a set of rules to live by.  It seems that the same set of rules show up all over the world, regardless of the belief system.  The concept of listing"ten commandments" can be applied to any aspect of life, aiding individuals and even entire companies in prioritizing their choices.

The ten commandments of service agreement sales in this article are written with service techs in electrical, plumbing and HVAC.  I hope you'll enjoy the "Shakespearean language" I wrote it in just for fun.

This article is excerpted from Charlie Greer's FREE Newsletter newsletter.  If you would like to get on the mailing list, please fill out our request form.

The"Ten Commandments" have often been called the"Thou shalt nots" of the Bible.  Listed below are ten"Thou Shalt Nots" for Preventive Maintenance Agreements.

There are also ten"Thou Shalts."  Whereas the Bible was able to direct our entire lives by laying down a mere ten commandments, I needed to an additional ten to direct service agreement sales.  I suppose I should have called this article"The 10 Commandments of Service Agreements," but that wasn't as good of a title.

"THOU SHALT NOTS":

1.  Thou shalt not yell at neither shalt thou humiliate service technicians who make mistakes whilst trying to increase thy business or thou wilt surely killeth all saleseth.  The more someone tryeth something new, the more mistakeths they maketh.  The service techs who tryeth the hardest will maketh the most mistakeths.  Praise any and all sales efforts.  Praise experimentation and innovation.

2.  Thou shalt not cheat thy service techs on the commissions thou hast promised them.   Thou shalt enclose a statement with each commission check specifying the customers' names, items sold, amounts sold and commissions earned.  Thou shalt clear up all discrepancies immediately or thou shalt experience dimished sales.  Thou shouldst check with thy attorney on the proper way to pay commissions to hourly employees to keep thyself out of trouble with the labor board.

3.  Thou shalt not rush thy service techs.  Number of calls run per day hath a dramatic effect on profitability, customer satisfaction, employee turnover and agreement sales.  Pressing techs to run as many calls per day as possible maketh them feel rushed.  Service techs who feel rushed maketh mistakes, do as little as possible on each call, have a lower average ticket, spend more time driving between calls, selleth fewer agreements, haveth a lower overall profit margin and lower job satisfaction than techs who worketh at a more reasonable pace and are allowed to placeth their focus on delivering"the ultimate service experience."

4.  Thou shalt not overwork thy service techs.  Techs are often overworked during the busy season because thou doesn't wanteth to lose customers.  That very thing can causeth thou to loseth thy customers!
Overworking thy techs causeth four undesirable situations:
Employee turnover.  Techs resenteth being overworked.  Thou hast often felt hate in thy heart after carrying a marginal service tech through the slow season, expectingeth some loyalty during the busy season, only to have him quiteth thy employment just when thou needest him the most! Lost business, for homeowners and business owners liketh havingeth the same tech every time and often grow suspicious (usually justifiably) of companies with high employee turnover.  Companies with high technician turnover are in a constant"training mode," and new service techs historically maketh more mistakeths than experienced techs. Tired techs maketh more mistakeths.  Mistakeths mean call-backs and call-backs cost money and customers. Technicians with too many calls to runneth don't selleth agreements.  If thou wilt only looketh into thy heart, thou wilt surely find that thy most productive techs have a higher conversion ratio of service calls to agreements when business is slower.  Thou shouldst abide by"The Law of Supply and Demand."  Whilst this couldst be considered heresy, thou shouldst consider taking care of fewer people this year with a higher average ticket at a higher hourly rate.  Thou wilt spendeth less money, haveth happier customers and happier service techs, less employee turnover and more profit. 5.  Thou shalt not take thy service techs for granted, neither shalt thou provoke thy employees to wrath, for happy, motivated employees who admire and love thee will do more to promote thy business than any amount of money thou spendest on advertising can do for thee.

6.  Thou shalt not advertise or"go after" new customers until thou art utilizing the ones thou hast already been blessed with.

7.  Thou shalt not spend the income from pre-paid services unwisely.  When thou collectest for a maintenance agreement, bank the money until all of the services have been rendered. 

HVAC contractors, hear me now--When thou performest the air conditioning preventive maintenance, withdraw one-half of the funds; when thou performest the heating maintenance, withdraw the other half.

 Thou certainly shalt not spend all of the income when thou hast performed only one-half of the services promised, for thou wilt surely go out of business and give HVAC contractors in general and pre-paid annual maintenance agreements in specific a bad reputation.

8.  Thou shalt not price thy preventive maintenance agreement so that it (the annual agreement) is more for an entire year of preventive maintenance (two precision tune-ups) than it would be to purchase two of thy"pre-season tune-up clean & check specials" separately, else there would be no savings and little reason to invest in thine agreement.

9.  Thou shalt not decide in advance that thy customers have no need nor desire for they service agreement.  Thy customers wanteth their things to be kept maintained and are willing to pay thee to doeth it, if thou wilt simply bring it to their attention.  Surely thy customer may balk or complain at first, but take heed, this is a normal reaction and will soon pass as the seasons do passeth.  Given a few moments, they will come to the truth and know that they shouldst do it, though they lament having to come up with the extra money.  Thy time spent explaining it whilst thou art on the call will save the next service technician a lot of trouble next year when the same questions arise.  This goes for any other repairs or additional adverse conditions thou seest on their equipment.  Give them the opportunity to get everything done whilst thou art in the home.  People are more willing to spend money than most service techs are aware of.

10.  Thou shalt not go into a big sales pitch when trying to acquire new agreements.  Let thy paperwork do the selling for thyself.  Thou shouldest set up thy paperwork so that it clearly shows thy customers a cost comparison between a year's worth of preventive maintenance plus today's repair, for agreement customers versus the price of those same services for"non-agreement" customers.

THOU SHALT'S:

1.  Thou shalt answer the telephone correctly, opening the door for thy service techs.  Whenever a caller inquires about service rates, availability, payment terms or anything pertaining to service calls, always answer first with,"Dost thou own one of our service agreements?" then answer the question in thy usual manner.  After booking the service call, but before hanging up the phone, say,"Make sure thou checkest with our service tech on how thou canst save money on this call with one of our service agreements."

2.  Thou shalt give thy service tech adequate information when dispatching the call.  The more thy service technician knows before running the call, the better impression he will make.  The better impression he maketh, the more likely he is to selleth an agreement.  The bare minimum a tech should be told before running the call for previous customers are:

  • The type of equipment Age of equipment Recent service history. Additionally, if headed to an agreement customer's home:
  • The type of agreement they own 
  • Its renewal date 
  • What maintenance has already been done this year. 

 3.  Thou shalt sit with thy dispatcher to make certain the two above-mentioned commandments are being followed.

4.  Thou shalt run service calls with thy service technicians, thereby practicing what thy preaches and instilling faith that thy sales techniques worketh and that thy customers loveth being giveneth the optioneth.

5.  Thou shalt meet with thy service technicians at least once per  week to make certain they understandeth that thou art serious about thy service agreement sales program.

6.  Thou shalt set goals with thy service techs and give them incentives to acheive these goals.  Thou shalt periodically run contests to motivate thy service techs to sell more agreements.  As it is better to give than to receive, thou shalt love to giveth them one of your"dealer incentive trips."  Giveth them a pair of free round-trip airline tickets to anywhere in the continental United States (certain restrictions apply).  Giveth them a $100 bill.  Giveth any service tech who sells more than twenty-five agreements during one month double commissions.

7.  Thou shalt educate thy service techs on the benefits of service agreements.  The only service techs lacking faith in preventive maintenance agreements are the ones who understandeth not the program.  This sales process worketh from the"inside-out," meaning thou musteth first believeth in thy product to have any success at selling it.

8.  Thou shalt always leave a completed copy of the agreement with the homeowner, whether they showedest an interest in thy agreement or not.  As it is one of the ten commandments, it is a law and should be presented unto thy service techs as a law, and they shouldst be required under penalty of termination to turn in a copy of the completed agreement form along with their service tickets, their time cards and the money they've collected.

9.  Thou shalt talk as little as possible on a service call.  Thou talkest thyself out of more sales than thy talkest thyself into.  Furthermore, thou shouldest perservere to worketh quietly to make a positive impression, for loud persons are a vexation to the soul.

10.  Thou shalt send thy service technicians to Charlie Greer's Sales Survival School.  Thy success is only as great as the success of thine employees in the field.  Thy success is dependant upon thine employees' success as salespeople, yet they are service technicians, not salespeople! 

Thous shouldst allow Charlie Greer to show them the way toward the serenity of acquiring a service agreement on nearly every call.

IN CONCLUSION:

You may have noticed that the"Thou shalt nots" and the"Thou shalts" can be divided into two subsets with 80% of each applying more to management and 20% applying more to the service technician responsibilities.
So, according to the"Thou shalt nots" and the"Thou shalts" of Service Agreements, even though it's ultimately up to the service tech to do the actual in-home selling, 80% of the responsibility of their success in the home lies with the owner/manager of the company.

If you really want to sell more HVAC service agreements: Check out Charlie Greer's ground breaking audio tape series, "Overnight Success in P.M."

If you really want to close more sales: Come to my four-day Sales Survival School for plumbing, electrical and HVAC techs and HVAC salespeople.
If you want ongoing service technician training:Check out "Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD."

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