A Surprisingly Simple Method of Scaling from $1M to $5M in One Year with Michael Cady

About this Episode



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We’re thrilled to announce the latest episode here in the HVAC Financial Freedom podcast. In this engaging discussion, we dive into how surprisingly a simple method of scaling from $1M to $5M in 1 year works for Michael Cady. Don’t miss it out!

👂 Tune in now and be part of the conversation. Let’s explore, learn, and grow together! 🎧🌟 #NewPodcastEpisode #PodcastRelease #TuneInNow

0:20 – Introduction

0:36 – Our guest is Denise Swafford

1:45 – Welcome Denise Swafford

2:10 – Background of Denise

4:50 – How did they start Six Sigma?

5:18 – Denise’s first project

5:45 – Denise as a Training Director

7:16 – Challenges in revenue of HVAC company

9:30 – Finding the right people

10:15 – Finding leaders to scale your business

10:50 – How are you going to modify and evaluate your process to scale your business

11:23 – When are you going to decide to sell the business?

13:30 – Coach and mentor as a business owner

14:45 – Everybody needs a coach

15:20 – How yo select the right mentor or coach?

16:42 – Changing or retaining mentors

18:39 – How does it feel when your business is scaling?

19:30 – Metrics in business is important

21:52 – Number will tell a story about your business

21:21 – Sample KPI for a business

21:40 – Proactive KPI and reactive KPI

23:20 – Ratios in the business

24:13 – Benchmark and targets

25:19 – Impact of Six Sigma in the business

26:27 – First project using Six Sigma

27:20 – Causing no money trips

30:04 – Talk to the customers

30:56 – Using Six Sigma every day in the business

32:03 – Day-to-day work as business coach

34:41 – P1’s goal and how they work

35:05 – How to bring, keep, and grow your people in your organization?

38:23 – Taking advantage of the technology for training your people

40:18 – Optimization tool

42:45 – Best to contact Denise Swafford

43:55 – Take away


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Sponsored by: Polianna.net


Audio Transcript

Welcome to the H VAC Financial Freedom podcast, a show to help you create more revenue, profit and freedom in your life. Now, your host, John Victoria. Hello and welcome everyone to the HVAC Financial Freedom Podcast. I am your host, John Victoria and I am very excited about the podcast. We have lined up for you today. Um Our upcoming guest is a traveling sales coach who builds high performance sales teams for growth minded, a track business owners. And I'm really excited because some of the stories that he shared with me of how fast some of the companies he's worked with and really scaled past that seven figure mark and beyond.

It's absolutely incredible and you'll have a lot to share with you all, but it's not just the top line revenue growth. It's, it's everything that comes with it, right? You know, we all know the struggles of starting and launching and trying to scale a business and sometimes we can get stuck in that place. We're in that limbo of not getting to the place where we want to go. But imagine you could build that life where you're taking the vacations that you want you're able to build the team that you absolutely love being around, you know, being able to give back to the community and really build a legacy.

This is what we're gonna be talking about today. You know, the pathway to get there. And our guest, Michael Katie will be um talking us the path on how to do that. So, welcome on board. How's it going, Michael? Good John John, thanks for uh for having me on the show. I really appreciate it. So, so, so excited to have you. So um yeah, just to kick things off for, for those that don't know you um I know you have a strong background and um sales and all the things you've done.

Love a quick briefer on like your background and, and some of the things you've been working on. Sure. Sure. Well, you know, I'm, I'm in my fifties now, so I've been been around a little bit. I kind of started off as a, as a career in, in, in the engineering side of the world. Got the opposite of sales. But um I found in home sales, you know, a while back and um really just the skill sets that I learned uh in those fields, whether it's, you know, the way you sell roofing, windows, siding, you know, kitchens, et cetera.

I just, I've had success taking those uh you know, proved formulas and applying them to HV ac love that. Absolutely love that. And um, and also before we really hop into things as well, I a fun fact about Michael. He, he was in radio for, was it eight years? Right. Oh, man. Gosh, it's a flashback. Yeah, I did. I used it, I had a AAA weekly one hour shows, mostly technology related kind of goofy. Um, but we didn't have this video screen nonsense which is really making me sweat. John.

Hey, man, I love to keep our guests on their feet. But um yeah, you have a, a radio voice and so absolutely love it. And some of it's left, I guess we'll see. Love it. And um so you transition from in home sales and so now you're a traveling sales consultant, you work with a number of H VAC companies all around the country. Um I guess how did that transition happen from doing in home sales to what you're doing now? Well, I, I just had the opportunity uh several years back.

Uh there was actually a consultant that hired me to help a company that needed a boost. They had been flat for many years. It was just very, you know, minimal growth and uh the consultant hired me and I came in and I didn't really, you know, at that time, I wish, I wish I knew I could have saved so much trouble if I'd known about organizations like EGI A and Practice 10 in Florida. Oh, they could save me. I didn't know about that stuff. And so I, I spent a while trying to translate what I learned in, in home sales to HEA C which is, you know, it's another kettle of fish, right?

Um But it took a little bit and attract, started moving and then we had just, you know, phenomenal amount of, of success there. And um I really enjoyed working with the company when they're really small. Uh when, when it really made a difference day to day and how that extra revenue allowed them to treat customers better, treat employees better to, to, to invest even in more growth. And so I'm at this point, really looking to work more with smaller family run businesses that, uh maybe don't have a lot of Children marketing experience, you know, that, that want to grow, want to work less hours.

And uh, I mean, it all comes down to money, right? Ch No, and I mean, as well, I got, I have this, I have a similar heart for the same types of companies. A lot of our listeners are contractors who are underneath that 3 million in revenue mark. Um You know, some of them might be just getting started out. Some of them might be at that, you know, half a million mark and they're really looking to grow and to scale and they use this podcast as a great resource for them.

Um And so, you know, I know some of the, the things you mentioned before, like some of their experience could be, you know, they're working 60 70 hours a week, you know, putting out fires, you know, it's just having trouble growing. Could you in those shoes before John? And when you're first getting a business going and like, I think most of us really, you know, I came from the IT world and I mean, I worked in that for a bit and when you get into business, then I realized I had to learn my business and in marketing and selling it was initially uh really a, a kind of a punch in the face.

And I think, you know, most of the companies I've talked to, they, they, they, they come into it with passion being more technical, um you know, having done an installation or maybe uh service and then all of a sudden they're a business owner and then the, you know, yourself, the incredible amount of hats you have to wear that you end up doing less and less of what you, your passion was and it's, it's all new to you if you haven't had the experience. So I think that's uh kind of my mission is to help those folks bridge that gap as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Love that. It's, yeah, it's wearing that technician hat initially because you, you have this passion, you have this expertise. But then how do we, now it's a different skill set to put on the business owner hat to be able to, you know, read a PNL to do your projections to really run and lead a sales department. These are skills that might not have been, you know, there, like when first starting the business you're saying, and I think they're rare to have those skills in one human. Yeah, most successful companies on earth, you know, there's usually, you know, some form of a technical person or a nerd and some form of a sales person.

So it really gets the marketplace as that combination that allows you to grow really quickly because I haven't met too many people that are gifted at both. You know, personally, the last thing you want me to do is try to fix your air conditioner. Yeah. Yeah, I like that. It's, it's, it's not, it's not that difficult frankly, it's just, you know, you need to get the right people in place and I understand that small companies, you know, uh it, it's, you just get beat up so bad.

I, I know when you're first coming into the marketplace, when there's people trying to show you this, that and the other forms of advertising and seo and marketing and it's overwhelming and you get excited so many times that you're gonna have some growth and these, these promises that you hear and, and then you fall on your face and you get disillusioned, you get distrustful, all the pitches start to sound the same. You don't know who's better, who's really gonna perform, who's gonna do, you know, good work for you and who's just gonna take your money as fast as they can and leave you flat.

So, I, I really empathize with that and it's really one of the reasons that when me and my wife put our business model together, we decided that there's no point in putting him through that. And if we could eliminate most, if not all of that risk and enjoy, uh, I don't know, it's maybe it sounds a little hippie but enjoy winning together, uh, celebrate winning together. And that's how we built the, the company so far as to be, uh, performance driven and, uh, take that, that fear away from, from the, uh, business owner.

I love that. And I remember you mentioned as well, like, uh, for the companies you work with, um, there's nothing really even paid upfront, which I thought was, you know, just mind boggling, right? Because something kind of new for us, but we figured, you know, we've got skin in the game being a little bit newer to the consulting world. Um, yeah, kind of show people what's up before, you know, before they pay us. And so far the response has been overwhelming. Um, and we're, we're just thrilled and we're eager to just help as many people as we, as we can.

And I think you touched on it earlier, but it's, the money is part of it, but it's just so much more about freedom, right about being able to run your company the way you want to be, run, be able to, uh, hire and lift people to give back to the community. You know, it's, it's not, it's not a money grab. It's, it's really about doing things the right way. And I don't know, maybe you're smiling once in a while you're at work, you know, may maybe enjoying talking about what you do, maybe sleeping well at night and, and, and not having to work yourself to death, you know, 60 hours a week.

That's the dream. I mean, when we all start that business, we don't, we don't dream of, you know, working ourselves to the bone. That's not the dream when we first launched the business. And I imagine most folks don't feel that way right. At least that, that initial, that year or two when you first get going. It's, uh, well, that's probably why most people don't, don't make it. Now, one thing I am curious about this because you, you've worked and seen so many different companies. There's companies that are able to successfully break through and some do it in very short order.

And then there's other companies that are not able to make that breakthrough even after 13, 10, 15, 20 years. Um I know some people must be scratching their head like, you know, I, I don't think they're any smarter than me or this or that. So I'm curious, like, from your perspective, what, what separates, like, why, why are those companies breaking through and then why are some other people now? Like, what's, what's, what separates, like, what, what's the difference you'd say? Is it locked or is it something else? No, it, it's a very simple word for it.

It's, it's processes or, or, or systems and, um, you know, for me, I just, I'm fortunate enough that I've been involved with enough organizations, small, big and, and corporate that do a similar type of, you know, in home selling technique that I've seen all the little pieces in play because it's not, not that straightforward frankly. Um It, it really requires so many uh individual things to come into play together, to really be able to scale quickly in that, you know, you can, you can use some sales process coaching and sales training and get your numbers up and, and, and grow pretty fast, but to really just bust ahead.

It, it takes the messaging and the branding and endorsements and strategic alliances and relentless training. And really, I think that the biggest thing is for a smaller company, you just don't have the resources, right? And when you don't have the resources, you know, you really need to be able to fine tune the, the, the sales process and the systems you use for marketing specifically to enhance the uh the strengths of, of the business and to downplay the weaknesses, which are many in the new business and there's lots of formulas and lots of books and lots of templates and they're all very logical and they make good sense and they're, they're all correct, but it's really hard for a small business that's just kind of making that first push to be able to do all those things at once and have the resources and the time to do all those things at once.

So it's trying to navigate that quickest path again, based on that particular company's strengths to get that momentum moving forward and then aligning with the branding and the marketing and the messaging and the offers and the community outreach and all these other things that over a period of a few months start to this momentum starts to happen and, and that, that's what I've seen is that you can really move the needle, I'd say probably about three months, maybe four months. They can, they can see something really magical start to happen.

And then within six months, you just, you know, or excuse the H Pac B but, but you're cooking with gas after you really get your legs underneath of you. And if those processes are repeatable, then you can really start to grow quickly. Because think technicians in, in general just the way their heart is is they want perfection. They get great pride in how they install things, how they repair things, they want it done. Exactly. Precisely. Right. And the thing is with, with marketing and selling and, and that, that scaling, it's not that precise.

It's much sloppier, it's much dirtier. There's a lot more, uh, imprecision. Um, and it's hard, I think for, for guys to trust that if they haven't seen it done before. And thats my advantages. Ive seen, oh, my gosh. You know, just a dozen companies go from this big to, to, to tens of millions a year. And I've seen that process, I've seen how long it takes. So, a good analogy we talked about this the other day is, uh, you're going to the gym, right. Yeah, it takes some investment there.

It's not just, you're going to gym one time and you're looking great and you're, you're happy and healthy and, and looking sharp in the mirror. It takes that work and relentless amount of work and dedication for, for weeks, months or, or longer before finally that effect starts to emerge. So I can imagine how terrifying it is for a smaller business to invest that much time, effort and money building, you know, this type of a system and not really knowing for sure if it's gonna work or, you know, it, it's who's gonna do that on their own, who's gonna put all that effort and know that it's, it's, that, that, that day is coming if you haven't done it before now, which reps do I do?

Which weights do? I lift. How many reps is it? I don't know. I'm just kind of winging it. And is it ever gonna show? So, having a trainer or a guide to take you down that path to eliminate most of that risk for you? I mean, still, I mean, still you got it. Most guys, usually it takes a certain amount of pain, uh, prior to, to be able to dedicate yourself to that, the kind of work required for those few months, uh to make something really magical happen of that.

So kind of what I'm taking from you, it's not hard, I mean, hard work is important and necessary, but it's also the right work. It's smart work. It's absolutely smart work more hours as, as most businesses always realize at some point you get in this trap that you work more and more and more hours and give up more of your white and where does it get? You? You know, you, you're, you're constantly kind of, you know, again, I've been in the shoes, you're, you're fighting and it doesn't feel like you're making as much progress as you should.

And whenever you try to take your hand kind of off the wheel. Yeah, the, the car is the beers for the, for the ditch, right? And they try to try to back up, try to put people in the, in the car beer. So the system is a process and I think it's something I learned and and, and was reminded of recently by Weldon Wong. One of, one of my heroes is that you have to, to scale, you have to do things in such a simple way, such a measurable, simple way that the average people can do it.

Mm. Right. Because just hiring the right guy and thinking he's gonna run things for you. Well, or we, what we talked about earlier, the, what was it? The, the sales ninja, right? That this magical mythical creature exists. They come in and, and pull up your numbers and make you rich. Well, that guy, first off, he don't need you. You probably can't afford him. And if you did bring that guy in and finally found him and he boosted you up to a certain level, he had all these new employees and then for some reason he bails um well, you just put 10 people out of work, you know.

So that's not a, that's not real scalable. It's dumbing down systems, dumbing down processes. Yeah, they go a bit sloppy. They're not technically perfect, but they're repeatable. And that goes for how you hire people, how you train people, what you say in the house. Um What sets you apart from your competition as far as your product offering and how you bundle things together. All of those things need to be easily repeatable. Hm. Yeah, repeatable. Um, documented trained, like you said. So there's consistency and not dependent on a key man.

Like, so you're saying if someone leaves, like that's, you don't, I mean, yeah, they're nice while you have them. But, you know, things change. Right. You know, maybe that person starts a family, maybe that person hits by a bus, you know, maybe, who knows? And you don't want something. They get tired of working for you and they're like, well, I'm doing all this. I, I'll just do it for myself. II, I know in my own experience and you're having several businesses that one of the things is that you get trapped and every time I tried to pull away from that trap, I give myself no more time, um, things would crash and, and it's obvious that that you can't find someone that's gonna care as much as you do about your business and your family and your community, it's just not gonna happen.

But if you have clear enough, simple enough systems process, you know, measurements. If you can't measure something, you certainly can't, you know, keep an eye on it or fix it. And sometimes it's really difficult to figure out how to do that, how to do it simply. But again, once you got all this groundwork in play, it takes a few months to get all this kind of stuff, you know, really dialed in, you know, it becomes repeatable and it gets easier and easier and easier. Not that. So I guess if we were to walk through a process, so let's say someone is sitting down, they're thinking, ok, I want to scale in that big way over the next 90 days.

I have to figure out what processes do I need to work on? Like how would you advise them to begin thinking about, you know, which would be the key levers that would move the needle in their business? Like how would you, how would somebody even begin to approach that? Why did this? It's really so specific to each company, but we talk really general vague terms say companies may be pushing that 1 million, 2 million first thing, they need foundation first and, and I, I can't say enough good things about organizations like EJ A or, or practice that.

That that is really because you've got to get your book straight. You, you've gotta get your systems, you gotta answer the phone a certain way. There's so many little things that matter, so much when every lead, every opportunity is so precious to you at that size that you can't afford to debauch a single opportunity. She need the foundation first. But what, what, what I bring to the table where I think people can, some people can do on their own or at least what would help is that you've got to first establish a very clear way of standing out in the marketplace to be able to attract leads.

You know, if you guys spend a dollar on marketing, do you wanna be do you wanna have a message or a logo or a name or a phone number? That's just as average and boring. As simple as everybody else out there. If you, if I, if I were to spend a dollar in me, don't, I want to almost shock people. Do, do I want them to go? What did you just say? Don't want them to talk about it, you know, so you have to start with a, a brand or a message you invest in that and really come up with something unique, whether it's based on, you know, female ownership or military vets or the fact that every vehicle you drive is purple.

Yeah, there's gotta be something first that's memorable and then you gotta go out of the marketplace and create a process to reliably get opportunities, right. That's the biggest thing I've seen in HV. AC that the problem is reliably and affordably getting opportunities or leads. That's fine. If you're an established company and you're trying to make that switch from fixing things and turning them over into uh into the sales realm. That's a good thing if you've got that luxury. So if you're a newer company, you've got to figure out how to find customers first and marketed leads.

As, you know, you know, there's enough h for us out there about things like Angie's List and, you know, thumb tack and people fighting over leads and they're incredibly difficult uh to manage. If you don't have a good message, a good offer, you know, a good way of answering the phone, a good way of contacting and getting those appointments set properly. You know, all of those little tiny things have, have to align to squeeze every penny out of what you're spending on leads and then you can afford to spend, you know, more money on leads.

Once you figure that out, once you can reliably track the amount of money you spend on an opportunity, knowing for a fact what that is gonna produce for you in revenue. Once you've got that formula tuned in and the numbers really need to be, then you can crank that marketing knob as hard and fast as you can possibly keep up with the, the capacity. And that's, that's really all there is to it. I mean, it, it's not that easy. Um I need to oversimplify it, but it's really just finding a customer creating that a good opportunity of the salesperson and then having that salesperson be able to reliably turn that into money while keeping the customer happy and producing top line, you know, results and the really good profit levels.

That's a, it's so different for every company. Some of the basics are the same. But to really find that advantage, you've got to dig deep into an individual company and their personality and what their goals are and what makes them special. That makes a lot of sense. So um So just that go back, it sounds like first to get the fundamental set. So you got EGI A or practice as an organization and there's other ones out there, I think there's a lot of other guys out there that are good and established folks, but those are really good organizations, you know, who's also affiliated with, uh, the practice.

I said, Jimmy Hiller, he does tours and things like that. It really can inspire you when you're starting out to see how much potential there really is. So it's a, yeah, they, the thing is that those organizations give you so many materials that you don't have to wing so much stuff on your own. And they give you ways to measure things and spreadsheets and they tell you what matters at first and we're getting started what, what cape guys Matter day and then when you get to that level and then then you know, where do we need to look next?

And where can we fine tune things? But I think it's important to have a foundation like that. And those organizations also provide uh training materials for, for your staff. So you have training materials for um for the people to answer the phone uh for the technicians, for the installers, uh for the sales team uh for, for the bookkeeper, you know, it's all there and you can use those tools to train your entire staff for really pennies on the dollar. I've heard of anything else that that's out there.

I, I'm more me personally, II I like to think that I'm, I'm there for after that phase when people, they've done that, they got the basics in place, theyre ready to grow quickly. They, they, they got their books straight. Um They, they kind of know how to run a business in general first. And at that point is when I, well, the perfect world, that's why I like to step in. Got it. And, and you mentioned like, you know, branding and positioning as one of the starts, then the lead acquisition process, then getting the sales process in place.

And then from there, it, it just builds right. You know, if you have that, you know, sales lead generation system in place, I could imagine like you could scale pretty quickly. Absolutely. But this all has to do with capacity though. So, you know, it's a real problem if a smaller company does not, you know, I'm my team or, and, and some of their, their team or they just trying to build the, the sales and marketing side and if for whatever reason, they're not doing the same thing with the technical side.

In other words, they're not investing the relentless, you know, amount of training required to, to do things really well. The first time, prevent go backs and mistakes and keep customers happy. If they're not building that infrastructure to keep up with the sales, then it's a real problem. So, and, and that's not my forte, that's something that things like, uh, me personally, at least there's a lot of coach stuff that they kind of handle the whole, the whole process from, you know, how to train installers, how to train, uh, office staff.

I'm, I'm really hyper focused on marketing and selling. Um, I would recommend a business owner to use something like, again, eg a practice or another organization like that to help them scale the uh to get the work done, to get the work done, right? And to be able to attract and find the talent to do that work, that's a whole another selling challenge in of itself is being able to, to, to bring in top talent. And I tell you that the the shortest path to that the lowest hanging fruit is, is usually money and opportunity.

And what remarkable level of revenue can do is give a company the resources to put the people in place and to invest in training, pay people more than their competition and give them more. I mean, slather them with benefits, you know, let let them work four days a week, let them get more money than anyone else in the industry, you know, champion that, you know, the, the folks that, that aren't champion and may make your, make your place that where, where people want to go, where they wanna work takes a little time.

But man, I tell you, I, I remember that's one of the toughest things in the business is trying to find reliable people. And I, I think the only way you have a chance of scaling the getting the work done is uh to be a place that people are really like clamoring to, to work for. Uh, so I see there's like competing things where you, you can build this sales and marketing engine, but you need the um the ability to fulfill and all that work. But to fulfill in all that work, you need the training.

Plus you need the culture of being able to attract good people who are willing to stay in order to maintain like a steady, you know, path upwards. Otherwise you'll, you know, the, the quality of work might not be at a high enough level. You start getting bad Google reviews as a salesperson. The worst thing ever you can do is, you know, spend all that time, you know, you're 23 hours in the house, you're bonding with people who are solving problems, you're connecting and if that person has a bad experience that, that, that doesn't feel good.

Yeah, it, it's really important that that person has a tremendous experience. And then of course, there's a whole another level of, you know, referrals that come from that as well. But yeah, there's a lot of pieces of the puzzle. The thing is, is that it's just not that big of a deal again. I've seen it happen to so many companies for a company to go from, I, I don't know what size you $100,103 a month, maybe uh in, in, in sales revenue for residential replacements, uh mostly from marketed leads, not, not from turnovers.

Maybe some of them are turno turnover to go from that level of revenue and to go to say four or $500,000 a month. it, it's absolute laws, there's not very much difficult with that. Now, when you wanna go to a million a month and 2 million a month and 3 million a month and that gets more and more challenging, but just going from, you know, 100,000 to 500,000, that's pretty easy to do with some good system. Mm And what, what's that cross? So what's the crossover point? So 500 a month, that's what 203 million a year?

Why, what's the difference past the 6 million mark? That makes it more challenging? Like what, what challenges would someone face? It's just that those, those processes we talked about earlier that they need to be really simple and repeatable and dumbed down. Um At, at that point, what I I feel is that after about five or so um that stuff gets more and more complicated, it gets more and more corporate, it gets to be more and more layered. Um It's, in my opinion, it's not as fun just to be a little bit over the top regimen and things get, uh, oh, you know, a lot of people say when companies get past a certain size they kind of lose their soul. Right. Mhm.

And I don't know that bad for some guys that might be 10 for some, might be 12 at some point. The money seems to take over. And, uh, yeah, I'm not a big fan of that. I really like working with the smaller family businesses that to want to make enough money just to be comfortable, uh, to give back the community to lift people up and, uh, you know, have some time to enjoy their life. That, that, that's the, that's what I like doing. Love it and have such quick order from what you're saying too.

It's, you know, it's, it, again, it's, it's, it's not me, man. You know, I'm just, I'm stealing stuff that I've, I've seen done at other companies. Uh, my only trick was applying for up to HD IC again. I wish I'd known about some of those other organizations before. I had to figure a lot of that stuff out on my own. But, um, it's all been done before. I've seen it done so many times I've seen it work almost every time. That, to me it's not risky, you know, and though I get, I get that a business owner, you know, that, that leap from 2100 to 2300 having that faith to go to the gym every day and not seeing anything happen for a while.

Yeah, it's nerve wracking nerve wracking doubt. I think there's a, you know, you had other success stories on this podcast and there's enough stories on the internet now that II, I think that people are getting inspired and realizing that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to make this stuff work. This isn't for some elite group of brainiacs that the cracks, some magical business mystery. This is pretty straightforward, simple stuff. You just have to do the work and, and track things and measure things and, you know, put systems in place.

It's, is just not that difficult. Love that and I'd love to transition. So, um, you know, in the next few months, we're moving into the shoulder season in many parts of the country. And uh yeah, so, so let's, let's couple that with, um, you know, there's, there's been, you know, talks in the industry of how it's, it's challenging, you know, leads are being more discerning. They're not, you know, they're not turning into business as easily. Um, you know, people are tied up with their wallets. Could you speak to some of these like macro trends and how, how, how an owner should be thinking about it as we're moving into the shoulder season?

Well, yeah, I, I, I definitely get some flak for this but I, I don't believe in the shoulders. See, II, I think it's actually kind of a joke. I think its a sellout. Um, in all the industries I've worked in, whether it's roofing site there, there, there's no, I mean, there's no shoulder season, the, the, there's, there's continual growth month, over month, over month period. If not, you're, you're, you're not doing something right. And there's strategies and systems that you can learn from a lot of places that will teach you how to, how to take advantage of your shoulder season, how to, how to stand out, how to help customers win if they're saving, you know, a little extra by doing something when it's not hot or cold, um, that you can organize yourself enough that you're doing all your maintenance calls and those times, you know, there's so many little techniques you can use to stay consistent because man, the worst thing ever, can you imagine the amount of work and training it takes, you know, relentless level of training, it takes to really build sales teams and install teams and server teams are good.

Can you imagine losing some of those guys? Yeah. Um, because it's a little slow. What, what are you kidding? That, that's a, that's a really dumb thing to let happen. Now, if you use that every year to kind of call the week and maybe to open up opportunities to hire some new people for the following season, you know, that's maybe that's one way of doing business. But to me, I say you get your hands on people when you're putting that much love and time and effort into them, you better do something to keep their pace ST stable year year round.

And so from what I just got from you, there's, there's um it sounds like pushing. I think one thing you mentioned before was, you know, let's say someone it's the summer, maybe, you know, their unit, it's, it's not like completely broken, Like they can wait a little bit, you can push that timeline forward. Like what are some other, several ways to do it? 23 is, of course, people like to save money, right? Everybody does. Everybody likes, there's a sale at, you know, whatever store, you know, one is your messaging, you know, be able to reach out to customers and say, hey, you know, it's not hot right now.

But, you know, that's, that's the time to buy. The other one is when you sell one of the things that I've used, it's been really successful. This is something that I think most people take away from this. If they're not, they're not doing it already is at the point of sale. When you're, you're getting ready to do the paperwork. You wanna ask your customer and Mr customer, hey, if uh you know, we've got a lot of people that are, they're eager to get this stuff installed if you might be willing to wait.

I don't know, 250 maybe 21 days to get this installed. I could pass some additional savings on to you in the form of a gift card today or, or something else. Um You'd be surprised how many people will wait, especially if it's not right in the peak of hot or cold or maybe the system is still kind of hanging in there, you know, maybe, maybe you got a window air on. It depends on what market you're in and how desperate they are. But you guys set yourself up for success there and do those installations, you know, later.

So you're not burdening your, your workforce and going from the end trucks to only needing bob trucks. Ridiculous. There's just, there's just poor, poor planning, but there's about five ways to attack and, and stay stable, but that's really important not to just accept that as fact that, oh, well, I guess it's just the Silver Sea, I guess we're just gonna suck for a while. That, that's, that's unfortunate that people think that way. And how about, um, a maintenance program? So, you know, some of the, I've, I've spoken to a few New York contractors like we don't have too many maintenance contracts.

We'd love to step it up to help with the shoulder season. Like, how would you advise someone who's looking to, to build more of that in their company? You know, it, it, that, that would not be a specialty of mine. I believe in making the dreams very much and they're super important um, on, on every sale. I would always include one, but at least at, at least the first year so that you can kind of lock them and get them ready to pay for the next year.

Um, but it's really important for a service department, um, in my opinion, to get as many of those as possible because it's just, it's that, that, that cash flow, it's having that steady money come, whether they're pay if they're paying monthly or just having that customer committed to you. It's not a real loyal business, John and people tend to flip and flop for, you know, this or that um which can be an advantage and, and a curse. But if you've got them in a, a decent maintenance agreement where they're getting some extra additional benefits, like maybe emergency service or some special pricing or opportunity, quicker installation, quicker service.

Um that provides a real benefit to the consumer and it really kind of bonds them to you. So I, I'm a big believer in those maintenance agreements and they should be selling mostly like, like hot cakes. Yeah, and especially scheduling smart and only doing those and a plot setting, the expectation properly uh with the Gusler to only do those in the slow seasons and that's why you're giving him a special price on it today or whatever it is. They, they gotta feel like they win. Right. Yeah. 210%. Yeah.

Of any, anything else, other strategies that someone could be thinking about for, for slow season and, you know, you know, the hype, you know, the, the mythical, right? You know, not the actual I say, just, just don't accept that it's real, don't allow yourself off the hook. Um, cross selling really good. Some companies have the ability to sell, you know, water heaters and, uh, generators, electrical jobs, things like that to their existing customer base, which you can keep your team kind of most of your team busy.

But II, I think you can do most of it just by proper planning and really just letting the customer make a choice to save a couple of extra bucks to put off installation for a couple three months if they can, if they can bear that, that's probably the easiest way to do it. Got it. Love that. Awesome. Um And so I'd love to transition to now mindset. You know, you've talked, you've spoken about, you know, having a relentless mindset, you know, in, in previous conversations, we, we've spoken about, you know, the importance of what you think and really also with the shoulder season, right?

Not even believing it, not, not, not buying into it. Um It's like, how do we, so what are some other things with the mindset that, that we could talk about that would be helpful for you to do that. But, you know, I mean, I think the person again, you know, they really distilled it down to the most simple concept for me is, is Weldon. So, um, it's, it's just don't overthink things, the things that you think. What do you think, whether it's, whether it's right or wrong, by the way, whether it's right or wrong, what you think is going to directly influence how you feel and what you feel is going to predict what your actions will be and that's gonna determine the results you get.

And then those results reinforce the thinking and it starts over and over, but it definitely starts with thoughts and you definitely have control over your thoughts. Not always everything else. Absolutely only you have control over your thoughts. So if you fix your mindset first, you know, then the feelings and emotions follow the actions and deeds follow and the results follow. I'll give you a really simple example and I don't know, it depends on who's, who's doing in here. But I've asked this question and I forgot who I heard this from.

But you just asked, you know, people in the industry, technicians, um owners, even sales, people themselves. John, what's the first three or four words that come to your mind when you hear the word salesman? That's the first thing you hear, you hear the word salesman. What word jumps to your mind immediately. I had in my head, I had car, car salesman. So I imagine like, you know, well, that's, that's a guy to pack your suit. Right. It's trying to swindle you. Right. It's not a real positive image and most people are honest.

I think that's how they look at it. And it took me a while to get over that myself. I was almost embarrassed early on in my career to tell people that I did sales. But then at large that you can sell with integrity and you can sell for the greater good, You can sell, build families and companies and communities and you can also sell products that you believe in and sell them to people that need them and not oversell not, you know, trip people up into things they don't really need to buy.

So you can sell with integrity. But you got, that's gotta be here first. I mean, if you don't believe that and think that you're not gonna feel it, you're not gonna act like it and people are gonna treat you like a scummy salesman if that's what you think you are. And that applies to so many things like shoulder season. It, it all comes with where your mind's at and listening to podcasts like this. And you know, there's a lot of books on the, on the internet, not just, not just HV AC, by the way, uh 503 Facebook page I can tune you into.

It's remarkable is uh in home sales professionals, the name of it is in home sales professionals and those guys are 250% spot on. You get so much insight from. There's at least 2100 contributors on that page, um, that are just remarkable thinkers that really understand the industry and you can apply whether they're in roofing or siding or whatever you can apply those principles to HJC. That's a, that's a real advantage. It has come a long way in the last few years in that selling mindset, but they're not where companies like, you know, Sears and you know, Renewal by Anderson and Hella.

And these companies have been doing these things for, for 21000 or 40 years and they've really gotten in home sales down to an absolute science and there's still room for the H AC world to grow. There's room for it to get better and better. The key is finding techniques and nuggets that work well for your particular business. It's not one size fit all. I know there's one piece of advice that worked really good for one company that would devastate another cup. So yeah, I had cherry pick that might work for me in my situation because I've got some extra capacity and II I don't wanna waste that extra capacity right now.

Someone else that can put you in a bind if you don't have capacity. So you really have to look at a fine tune these things down to, to, to the personal level uh of, of the company, uh personality of the company. And I, I think on the ads that as well. I'm, I'm remembering what you said earlier about, you know, these, these groups that people can attend. It's I think part of mindset is also the community you surround yourself with. So not only do you have the technical knowledge of growing and scaling, but it's like being surrounded by people who have the right mindset um who is, who are positive, who, you know, don't believe in the shoulder season.

And um and really just, just operating at a, at a higher level. Um Could you speak to that and like the importance of, you know, not just the technical knowledge, but I guess the community of people that you surround yourself with as you summed it up pretty well. I mean, it's in this podcast, you know, I, I mean, in my, in my opinion, sales itself is, is almost a lifestyle than a job. It's more of a lifestyle. It's just the way that you think and I surround myself with that.

I immerse myself in that. So get a podcast like this following people on, on either Facebook or Instagram or, you know, wherever they are reading books, listening to audible recordings of blank is one of my favorite tools ever. Um Because, you know, I've got a DH D at another level. So trying to keep me you into an entire book. Good luck unless I at least know what it is first. And what blinks does is it gives you kind of cliff notes of audio, like chapter one in one minute, chapter two and one minute there.

If you really think it's good, then you get the book. But I surround myself with so much of that stuff that it becomes kind, it kind of gets in your blood, it becomes kind of automatic and it's, it's in your subconscious, how you talk to people, how you present products to people, um how you keep yourself motivated. I mean, sales, it pays well for a reason, right? It is, it is a complete mind warp. Um And the vast majority of people that I've met cannot do it, certainly cannot do it at a high level.

It's, it's a rare gift. It's a comedy of gift. It's also something you have to practice and, and, and, and learn and get better at. But if you don't have your mind straight and, and it's one of the things I I recommend if the sales reps every day is that you've got to practice every day, not just your selling routine and your processes, but, but your mindset stuff because if not, he'll eat you alive. I mean, sales, you know, I've seen guys come in with a real great disposition, great personality, you know, good looking people like them and three months later they, you know, they're miserable.

So, yeah, you have to stay a lot of coaching and training is helping those, those team members stay productive. And, and I don't know, be proud of what they do. Um, not, and not let the negativity because people, people will tear you down. Like consumers are. The, they've been so mistreated by bad salespeople so many times they've been burned and sold faces. Yeah, they, out there as a curvy vacuum you're, you're part of the problem. Um, they've been so mistreated by so many sales reps that they're angry.

They don't want you to come to their house. They don't want you to spend two hours talking to, they want you to give a number on the phone. They don't wanna go through any of it, but it's your job as a rep to, to earn that respect, provide and overcome that and show them that there's a better way you could actually be an asset and, and, and not some sort of grab their money. But, um, when you're starting out in sales, especially when you're starting out, it's real easy to, to listen to people and especially when you're not, maybe as good at your craft as you could be.

And then people would not, that they're necessarily mean John. It's that people will lie to you. Mm. And no matter how honest you're being and, and, uh, genuine you're being, they'll, they'll lie to you about all kinds of things to basically get you to go away to, to get you to stop. And it's just your human nature to, to get hurt by that. No. And, and that happens enough times, especially when you're new, you take it to heart and, and, and it really can, can, can knock you out of the business even though.

But I'm a, I'm a firm believer that sales is a path for, for so many people, for so many people. It's a tremendous path to financial freedom and eventually, you know, to starting your own business. But most folks was first, you must get thrown off the tracks because of that, because of the negativity, because of the nose, the dejection, you know, it's like asking grow up, you know, on a date and being, you know, laughed at, um, it, it hurts, it really does. And in those first few months it's hard, it's hard to hold people through that.

It takes a lot of, uh, a lot of encouragement and it's all all up there all up there. Um, and it personally almost sounds like it's like if they, they didn't, they didn't reject my pitch, they rejected me as hot bes, that's 100% hot beats. And especially when you feel that it's going really well and you get to the end and then it goes sideways all of a sudden and then you're in the car, you're talking to yourself out loud during that freeway like a maniac. What when you say, I don't understand why, why did Bill do that to me?

You know, and it's a, well, it just takes time to get over that. But really what, what happens is you learn to fix your mind, not on the outcome but, but on how will you do your job? And if you get really good at your crap as a salesperson, when you leave the house, you said, you know what? I did my job. I did everything I could. I used all my tools. I was a good listener. I was patient. I dug deep. I tried genuinely in my heart, tried to help them.

I wasn't out. You know, I didn't have uh they call it mission breath. I wasn't trying to chase down money. I was really trying to help them and you walk away. You feel like you really did a good job, then you can hold your head up. You get to the point where you, you don't feel bad anymore. You don't feel hurt you, you feel like it's unfortunate I couldn't help these people. Let's move on to the next family that I can help and you can get to that point and it makes the job fun.

You know that you don't have to worry so much about the money. You can really fixate on one, their problems and solving them. But also, hey, pet the dog walk, let them show you around their garden that they're proud of. I've had people take me for a ride in the freaking DeLorean. You know, you can really bond with people. You get invited, the barbecues and things. You can really, it's a human connection. It's real e especially if you're trying to do the right thing for the customer.

They can, they can feel that. And so that's, I think the thrill of it for me was you get to the point that you're comfortable. You don't really care if you sell or not. You just want to meet people and, and discover new things. You know, somebody has a stamp collection, somebody has a gun collection every day. It makes the job fascinating and you're excited about who you're gonna get to meet. What you're gonna learn. Maybe what town you're gonna be in. We're gonna have lunch really becomes uh a rewarding profession if you can get past those first for a few brutal months, I guess that's the job of a sales manager.

Sales manager is not to cherry pick. Um You know, Madonna, a guru of sales people that promised the world that the job of, of a sales manager is to find good quality people with good attitudes and groom them to be successful in this business and in life. That's what the job really is. And that's what, that's the most rewarding thing I get from. It is seeing individuals and companies get to the point they're financially successful enough that they can relax. It's not about boats and fancy cars, helicopters.

It's about knowing that you and your family are safe and that if this next sale doesn't happen. Everything's fine. Yeah. And then you can really enjoy the job and the lifestyle. I love that. And we've talked about building companies up but if you take it down to the individual level, um, especially in HBO CH BC is notorious for this, but it's true in windows and roofing and all that. A lot of smaller companies that, the way that they haven't really received any train, they, they got thrown the sills because you know, hey, you're, you're handsome or you're, you're pretty.

Um and you speak well and here you go, here's the keys of the kingdom. Go sell and they're never really given the, the proper amount of investment, the proper amount of training to be truly successful. And what I see is guys that are very good at H DC, they're likable, you know, I'd hang out with them, you know, but using processes and techniques, they can double their money that that's not far fetched for a guy that makes $100,000 a year to make 200 to 2 1003. That's up to them. Hopefully they have, you know, manager that's gonna help lead them down that path and encourage them down that.

Yeah, I, I, I've worked with salespeople before but without the company, invest their own money in going to seminars and going to events and like, say Vegas to get hyped up, invest in books, invest in audio. I, I, I've known sales people that invest in their own personal coaches because it's, it's very similar to having your own company to be a salesperson, you can control your own destiny. And if you put the effort and work in smart, work in on a regular basis, there's a reason why one guy in the office makes double what the other guy does, you know, but they're all capable of it.

It's not because, again, that person is so charming, probably because that person has a system and, and they're probably insistent and that's what process does for you. That, that consistency. Oh I can go into a home. It's just, it's discipline though. It's not fun. It's not as fun. It's much more fun to wing it and just have a good time, meet people. But if you can stay on track through some order of, you know, 5, 10, 15, whatever step, you can isolate these things that you're doing in the home.

Then as you mature as a salesperson, after each opportunity, you can look back and zero in on what you need to improve. And so you improve this part and then you improve that art and you improve this part week after week, you focus on these individual little pieces of this consistent process. And next thing you know, that whole process is at a higher level and that's when the magic really kind of happens for a salesperson and they see that happen and realize it's real and they dedicate themselves to that, that discipline and consistency that I've seen guys that make 100 go to make 300 or 3 50.

And that, that's life changing money these days. It's not greedy money. It's, it's life changing enough to, to buy a home. It's not easy anymore, you know, to have money for your college, your kids, college retirement. So, it's, it's also impossible for most people. So, it's all within reach. It just takes that, uh, that relentless training, relentless training every day. Yeah. Love it by one thing I will. So, one of my good friends, Chris, he said this, um, we want education, not entertainment. So I, I wanna talk action steps.

So that's the difference, right? Entertainment. You know, we just watch it and then people go home and they're like, oh, that was great. That was, that was a great episode with Michael. Um, but like, but like, if someone wanted to turn into education and real life results, like, what would you say? I don't know. Number one, what's their next step? Like, what's one thing that they can do in their business, you know, or something to think about? Or, you know, what, what action step would that be to move?

What you said into reality for their business? For, for a business owner. Again, you need a foundation. You, you've got to get on board with, you don't have to re invent the wheel and figure this out for yourself. You know, immerse yourself in, in, in the selling side of things. Um You know, I understand all the owners they come from the technical world. You have to get your mind straight that the sales is, is, is noble. It's good and it can be done ethically. Um And you need to learn more about finding and selling to customers.

You've gotta have so much opportunity that it takes the stress away. There's enough customers, there's enough money. I, I can, I can afford to do things the right way and then build really build training systems. And, you know, I've, I've been inspired by so many companies again, iii I like to defer back to Hillard because they make such an impact and they built entire training school for, for technicians and installers and, and for plumbers and electricians. I think it's, I think it's called Total Tech. It's out of Nashville, but they're pulling people out of the military, you know, and, and giving them lifelong careers.

But they, they couldn't have ever done any of that if they didn't have the revenue to invest in it. So at some level, just to get the needle to lob, you gotta get some extra revenue, do some selling and then invest that into systems and processes to be able to scale. It was a little off the cuff, but that's about it. Love it. Yeah. So I could have had some, some more notes before something on this call. Hey, we take in pro too. Yeah, it is really about, you know, one thing, it's hard for some people to hear this because I, I, I've been down the path myself again, whether you're a roofing company when this guy, hi, I, you have to change your mindset from being an HV AC company, being a sales and marketing organization.

Mm. Literally everything that happens in that business on every level, on the service department in the office, um CS RS uh installs every single thing that every person in the company does must point back to sales, it needs to be considered and how every little thing impacts marketing and selling and branding and there's just hundreds of pieces there. But if you start thinking like a sales and marketing organization instead of, you know, I sell boxes, then that will come the first step I think in scaling is going from, I'm a HV AC contractor, I'm a sales and marketing organization.

And then the next leap to go to, you know, go go anywhere near where, where someone like Jimmy is is you have to become a training organization. Wow, it looks people and that's the only way to get you go from 1 to 10 million. Yeah. Become a sales marketing company. You go over to 20 or 50 or 100 million. You absolutely must become a training organization. I love that. That'll be a good sign that right. There. That's, that's amazing. That's why this is, you're too kind, John II. I feel like I, you know, probably Miss said everything I've said today.

No, definitely not. Probably, you know, Pollard would think for about 1000 more tries, but I do really appreciate coming on cycle and yeah, we're, we're coming up around the hour. So um yeah, any final words before we wrap up for the day? Oh gosh, I don't have any profound like that, man. Um, it's, it's really just companies seem to understand that they don't need to figure out on their own. You know, if you've got a good technical mind and you've got a good family business, you, you have a reputation between quality work.

You take care of people. You don't have to go out there and figure out sales and marketing from scratch. You just tell there's, there's enough people out there, me other coaches organizations that will help you do that. And I know that for my own mistakes, I've made my goodness, John. I, I've made a lot of mistakes in business and uh luckily I've learned from a few of them and myself, I'm, I'm good at a lot of things. I'm good at, at many things, but there's very, very few things I'm great at.

And that's where I focus my energy. I, I, I'm good at the marketing and selling side. I'm good at coaching and training people. I love it. I enjoy it. And I'm good at it. Not good. The, at the bookkeeping, I'm, I'm not good at inventory control. I'm not good at accounting or installation or technical matters. It's just not my forte. Then the reverse is true. Can mean that your technical ability is outstanding. That's great. Be proud of that. You don't have to be the salesperson. Yes, he, to find that person, partner of that person.

No, you don't have to do it yourself. I know because I've done it myself. I, I, my, my first business, I, I walked into it thinking just, hey, I do good work. I like people. I'm nice. I'm gonna make money. And then, you know, I got kicked in the face for about three years, Sean and those first three years I was getting kicked in the face. This is back in my late twenties. Those first years I was getting my, you know, butt handed to me. I, I figured out some basic business principles through, through desperation, you know, I, I put myself and my family through a lot of grief trying to figure things out, wasting a lot of money on this, on, on, on, on, on marketing or selling and how to find customers.

It, it was, it was trial by fire and it did a lot of damage. And I would just say to the companies are starting at maybe a year or two and a three. You don't have to go through that fire. There's, there's enough people out there and, and, and shows like this that will help you navigate. I love that. Yeah, we're not reinventing the wheel here. People like this has been done. It's been accomplished. It's just connecting the right people. And the thread of the show is, is processes, as you've said, Michael.

So get those, get those properly installed. Yes, sir. Oh, cool. Well, Michael, thank you so much like this is an incredible episode for anyone who's listening or is watching me on video. I have tons of notes on this other screen right here. I'm learning and my, my brain's expanding, hope everyone is taking notes as well. Uh Somebody walked away with something that's, that's the most I could hope for. But I again, thank you so much for the opportunity. A big, big fan and I'll be other than this, other than this episode, I'll, I'll be listening in the future, Michael.

Thank you so much. I appreciate it and um take care everyone. I appreciate it. Thank you, everyone. Thank you for joining us for the H VAC Financial Freedom Podcast. Follow us on stream yard Apple podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music and check out our main website www dot H vac financial freedom dot com to find out how you can also achieve financial freedom.

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