I love this picture. It depicts a guy getting ready to dive into a lake after just finishing the book “How to Swim”. In today’s hi-tech world of HVAC, things are changing so fast that just when we learn it, they upgrade or modify it. I’m constantly amazed at my techs, installers and sales people and just how quickly they can educate themselves on new technology. They have to read the book just in time to jump in the water. I am not a technical guy and take great thrill in watching my employees do the things for which I have zero ability. As the business owner, I take the overall responsibility for marketing and advertising Goodco to our customers. This morning, I had the great fortune of working with Ron Musser and Don Lafferty, co-owners of Comfort Media out of Philadelphia. We have been working together to develop on-line consumer education for the past six months. This morning’s project was talking to our service technicians and installers about educating our customers about their options. This is different than teaching your techs to sell. Nobody likes to sell. In fact, people don’t really like to be sold but they do like to buy. The buyer’s journey has changed a lot over the years. Remember going to the car lot or appliance store to do your research on a vehicle or refrigerator? That doesn’t happen anymore. Most customers research major purchases like a new heat pump or furnace on the internet before contacting their local HVAC contractor. So, we’re no longer in the business of selling heating and air conditioning equipment. We’re now in the business of educating customers on what their options are and being there when they’re ready to make a decision. Today, we began the discussion of repair vs. replace. As a service tech, your job is to fix things and make them heat or cool or flow water. However, there comes a point when equipment has reached its useful life and the “adults in the room” need to make hard decisions. I oftentimes have customers ask me, “what would you do?” When I know the answer is replace, I make the analogy of putting new tires on the ’72 Datsun. Eventually, you will be “nickled and dimed to death” and you don’t want the customer to regret the short-sighted decision (and be mad at me). It’s really about options and having the experts help you make an educated decision. The second half of my morning was spent with Michelle Damiano and Kourtney Vermillion of Impressions WHQ. Impressions is my ad agency and trusted advisers in all things marketing and advertising. There is no better in the business. We are developing an online survey to send to our residential service customers. Our goal is to constantly improve the way we interact with our customers. We believe we have developed something that will provide that data to help us get better. Including my staff in these types of ongoing improvement efforts is exciting and fulfilling for me as they see some of their ideas turned into reality.It’s really cold today. The temp has been consistently dropping and is now around 14 degrees. This is what we’re in business for. If you’re cold, give us a call and we’ll give you options. We’ll try to have the book read before we jump in the lake!