Chris Hunter: Add one position to your company to drive $1 million in sales

Mike PersingerMay 19th, 2020
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If you could add one position to your home or commercial services business and increase sales by $1 million a year or more, would you do it?

Chris Hunter, ServiceTitan’s new director of customer relations, founder of Hunter Super Techs and co-founder of the GoTime Success Group, knows the right answer, which he shared on a ServiceTitan webinar. 

And he knows what position you should add: A follow-up coordinator. 

He added the position at Hunter Super Techs, which was acquired by Turnpoint Services in 2018, with the intent of adding $1 million in sales by focusing on unsold estimates by leveraging the capabilities of ServiceTitan. 

And what happened? 

“She did it,” Hunter told attendees of the webinar, hosted by Jackie Aubel. “She actually exceeded the $1 million.” 

Other companies have been even more successful, “some with $3 million in sales, all from just being intentional about this position,” he said. 

Here’s what you need to know about adding a follow-up coordinator to your company in the trades, including:

  • Job description

  • Pay structure

  • Essential functions, and

  • Leveraging ServiceTitan in your efforts.

What’s a follow-up coordinator? 

In essence, a follow-up coordinator is in charge of additional touches with customers who have unsold estimates that are at least 48 hours old. 

“All of these jobs that were unsold, we’d just go to the next one, go to the next one,” Hunter said. “We’d all like to believe that our sales people are great at following up, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty tough. When it gets really busy, the follow-ups tend to tank.”

Making follow-ups a priority strengthens a company’s commitment to closing on as many leads as possible. 

Why? Because according to Hunter, quoting Jim Hinshaw of Service Roundtable, 48 percent of salespeople never follow up with a prospect, and 25 percent make a second contact, then quit. Just 12 percent make three contacts, and only 10 percent make more than three contacts. 

In contrast, only 2 percent of sales (in general, not in HVAC itself) are made on the first contact, and 80 percent on the fifth to 12th contact. 

“We spend so much money and time and effort to get leads,” Hunter said. “Leads are hard to get. Be very committed to following up, so you get the job.” 

“We spend so much money and time and effort to get leads. Leads are hard to get. Be very committed to following up, so you get the job.” 

Chris Hunter, Director of Customer Relations

Another big risk: By not following up, your company could be giving a big ticket to a competitor if a customer decides you don’t care. 

What is the job description for a follow-up coordinator?

Hunter said a follow-up coordinator fills several roles for a company. They: 

  • Coordinate all follow-up on unsold estimates.

  • Are the single point of contact for management with sales.

  • Act as a customer advocate, not strictly as a salesperson.

  • Coordinate all sales leads and dispatch them to the right salesperson.

In smaller companies, the duty could be given to a sales dispatcher or an install coordinator, Hunter said, if they have the capacity and aptitude. Larger companies could have more than one follow-up coordinator. 

But the bottom line is the same, no matter the size of the organization. “Somebody needs to wear this hat in the company,” Hunter said, “and it is your job as a leader to be committed to this position, and make sure it’s very clearly defined.”  

What makes a good follow-up coordinator?

Important traits for a follow-up coordinator, Hunter said, are a cross between sales strength and attention to detail. They include:

  • The ability to deal with rejection.

  • Emotional resilience.

  • Readiness to serve.

  • Organization and diligence.

  • Accurate record-keeping.

  • Team orientation.

  • Energy and friendliness.

  • Excellent communication skills. 

For the right person, Hunter said, the job could be a great step up. That was the case for the hire at Super Techs. 

How can a company make this position successful? 

As with anything, success for a follow-up coordinator depends on a well-defined process, Hunter said. Among the steps:

  • Set goals: It’s important to figure out what winning looks like, and keep modifying that model, Hunter said. The Covid-19 outbreak, for instance, required modifications.

  • Train across functions: It’s important to invest in training, including ServiceTitan in how to use the follow-up tab and in specialties such as Marketing Pro. Send the follow-up coordinator on ride-alongs with salespeople, installers and service technicians, etc. It helps the coordinator understand the terminology and the process. “If they see it, they can understand it,” Hunter said. “Then they can really relate to the customer.”

  • Set scripts: Technician leads should be followed up, and call scripts and training is critical in this area. “I’m a big fan of scripts and outlines, but not robo-reading the call script,” Hunter said. “But if you have guidelines and goals … “

  • Role play: This is critical before turning a follow-up coordinator loose — and beyond. 

  • Include them in sales meetings: That’s where everyone learns about promotions, rebates and financing, and gives feedback. And it’s where teamwork is built. 

What’s the job process?

Set up your follow-up coordinator as a customer advocate, Hunter said, and build everything on that premise. That starts from the incoming call, defining who gets that call and what the backup system will be. 

Hunter gave that job exclusively to the follow-up coordinator, to make a quick connection with the customer. From there, Hunter suggested following specific steps: 

  • Debrief the call.

  • Capture and log the information.

  • Understand how to relate to the customer.

  • Have a set follow-up process for selling technician leads, starting on the same day with a happy call. 

That process should include text messaging to the customer, because of the engagement rate that communication produces. 

“You know what the open rate is on texting?” Hunter asked. “Dang near 100 percent. If you’re not using the text-message feature, you better start because that’s how your customers are communicating.” 

Follow-up should start within 48 hours after the estimate is delivered, and not end until you get a yes or a no, Hunter said. There should also be a long-term follow-up plan, for customers who aren’t ready to commit immediately. Hunter Super Techs found lots of low-hanging fruit, including a $30,000 job that took one phone call to close, in those older estimates.

How do you structure the pay for a follow-up coordinator? 

This can be tricky, Hunter said, because the wrong compensation model can create competition instead of teamwork. 

His recommendation is an hourly wage equivalent to your top CSRs, plus a 2-percent commission on sold or assisted closed deals after 48 hours — without penalizing the selling technician by taking away their commission in the process. 

With comfort advisors, Hunter recommended shifting the commission to the follow-up coordinator, because they had their opportunity and someone else did the follow-up. 

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Hunter said. “I’m all about culture. Don’t punish the selling techs, don’t reduce their commission, and they’ll work really well together. We are one team and we have one mission.” 

Hunter adds the commission into the customer price, to cover the cost of doing business. ”You set the pricing,” Hunter said. “Increase your pricing just a little bit to be able to cover this position.”

How can a follow-up coordinator leverage ServiceTitan?

The follow-up tab for unsold estimates on ServiceTitan allows the follow-up coordinator to be proactive. They can choose the department and date range to see proposals that need to be followed up, and set reminders for calls. 

And with reminders of proposals sent through Marketing Pro, the coordinator can see when customers open the estimate and immediately text about questions or with a link to financing options. “You’ve got ‘em while it’s hot,” Hunter said. 

Those multiple points of contact raise the chance of success, Hunter said, and automation through Marketing Pro can raise it further. But no amount of automation can eliminate the need for the human touch of a follow-up coordinator at your company.  

MORE TIPS

  • Study the ServiceTitan data on lost sales, including call recordings, to figure out how not to lose them in the future. 

  • Remember that the gross profit on one install is the same as that on a whole week of service calls, raising the value of a followup coordinator. Focusing on bigger ticket items, including indoor air quality, is ideal, but service can be included if the bandwidth is there.  

  • Sending short videos in emails (or texts) increases understanding, engagement, and sales.  

  • If you want an employee to push unsold estimates, align the incentive with behavior you want driven.

  • Leverage text messages that feel personal between the coordinator and the customer through ServiceTitan two-way chat. 

  • Stagger the hours, or have a customer advocate available to respond when the need is there. 

  • Multiple touches, in different ways, lead to the best results. 

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help home service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.

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