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“Five Success Factors for Growing Commercial Service”
by James Graening

Are YOU ready to grow the commercial service portion of your contracting business or have you determined that there is an opportunity to develop a commercial service area? Maybe you have performed some light commercial/commercial industrial services and now want to know more about growth, profitability, leadership, planning and success factors for sustainable, high margin, profitable growth? Let’s look at Five Success Factors or components to consider for commercial growth and profit…Culture, Systems, Organizational Structure, Operational Model, and the People Resource.

1. Our first success factor is a Culture that understands the importance of service and service agreement sales; planning, marketing, contracts, delivery and systems. Many contractors do not develop sufficient systems and processes that support commercial service, most importantly, service agreements and they lack a willingness to invest the time and resources in them (maintenance contracts). Planned maintenance is the foundation of a commercial service business. This can be summarized by saying “a professional marketing and sales culture is critical”.

Incorporating suggestions and ideas from the entire service team is also extremely beneficial when discussing culture. A great culture is developed through involving or empowering employees to contribute to the plan, the marketing, the delivery mechanism, and — most importantly — the sale. Yes, this means more than just company meetings and a suggestion box; it’s daily management of the people resources for servant attitudes and customer-focused relationships. It means scheduling frequent staff and management planning meetings as well as regular service technician get-togethers.

2. Systems and processes supporting sales, delivery, and measuring performance are imperative. As entrepreneur and business improvement champion Dave Ramsey says in his book ‘EntreLeadership’; “If you want to create a company that is fun to work for, where productivity and creativity are high, and that you are actually glad to lead, you must create a culture of communication.” Strong communication of systems and processes provides integration and implementation for clear understanding of expectations, thus, happy employees. A proven B2B sales process and marketing approach will help to supply the system, tools and collateral that speak directly to the pain, needs, and business objectives of the customer for selling commercial maintenance and projects, including energy services.

In order to set expectations and to reach sales objectives for selling commercial service agreements and then deliver on the correct maintenance tasking, we need proven systems and “checklists” or standard operating procedures, policies, and technologies. Systems can survive and work correctly only through an organization and operations area that have job descriptions and understanding of the needed “hats” to be worn or functions that need to be performed. Which leads us to our next success factor.

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3. Success Factor three is Organizational Structure for problem solving and conflict resolution that embraces and encourages selling and delivery excellence. This will differentiate your contracting company. Without distinct leadership, accountability in specific areas of the business and fiscal responsibility the contracting business falters! We would be happy to share sample organizational charts and, roles and responsibilities surveys, job descriptions, for the asking (reference end of the article).

Yes, we’re talking about the correct organizational chart that defines roles and responsibilities (titles), communications protocols, or as I’ve heard, “where the buck stops.” Who will make critical decisions? How will you delegate that authority? Will that person take on the responsibilities willingly? How do I develop leaders? The books by Michael Gerber including The E-Myth and The E-Myth Revisited are great places to start, as well as, Good To Great by Jim Collins.

4. The daily interactions of the business (the details of daily operations) can be found in success factor four, the Operational Model. This area consists of the teams that work in critical processes, resolve customer issues, and provide sales and delivery, as well as, customer satisfaction and retention. Management becomes the “tie breaker” in the event a problem can’t be solved or a conflict can’t be resolved through the teams.

One way to improve the effectiveness of the operational model, or how well our teams function, would be the use of a full enterprise software program. As I learned from Art Divell from DataBasics; Rules-based management and defined processes are key to mapping our “flow charts” utilized by software programs, making the program highly efficient and effective. Technology plays a part of making many parts of our business more successful so that researching and performing due diligence on CRM, marketing and sales, delivery, accounting and technical software programs is essential.

5. The People Resource includes not only management of, and working within an operational model, but also includes recruiting, hiring, and training the right people: This is especially crucial for marketing and sales (revenue generation), combined with the best of compensation packages, rewards for performance, and comprehensive management. Recruiting can be done by networking in areas where competent commercial technicians and sales people congregate, as well as, researching career websites and making postings.

Interviewing, hiring and evaluating talent may include these areas; The Spoken Word (how articulate), Writing Skills or Detail Writing, Background or Experience, Communication Skills (good listening skills) and Personality Profile Testing and of course References. Training employees correctly is what I call “an Education & Training Journey”, meaning that training classes are wonderful and I facilitate many, yet, additional remote coaching and mentoring employees in the place of business are also very important for skill integration.

As a matter of fact; how strong a commitment to excellence, and integration of all of the success factors, will determine the level of success so that tracking and measuring the training, coaching and integrating of these success factors will greatly increase your probability of SUCCESS!

About the author:
James Graening, is a sales trainer, coach and consultant serving the HVAC/R industry. Educated at the University of Akron for business, HVAC and electronics, James has attended various HVAC/R industry schools and has a background in business management and sales, as well as, being a published author.

James Graening

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