“There’s a big difference between being ‘interested’ and being ‘committed’ to something.”
— Chris Crew
Chris Crew got his start in the trades as a 16-year-old electrician. Decades after observing and learning everything about being a tech, as well as owning a business, he’s now the president of The Blue Collar Success Group, a training and business development organization.
He talks here about management style, being committed to a job and breaking bad habits.
Here are Chris Crew’s top pieces of advice for anybody in the home services trades:
Key TakeawaysTreat your team well.Charge a fair price for a fair service.Add to your “toolbox” of knowledge. There’s no magic formula for sales.Get committed. Work hard at preparing your sales script. Break out of bad habits.Decide now how you want to be remembered.Recommend research and reading
Treat your team well.
When Crew was coming up in the trades, the older lead men motivated people by screaming and hollering at them. For a time, he assumed that’s just the way it was. Then he had a pivotal moment.
“I didn’t want to be treated that way,” he says. “I decided that when I got into the position of managing and leading people, I’d find better ways to get things done.”
Charge a fair price for a fair service.
As a tech, Crew was blown away when he discovered his company charged $49 to replace an outlet. “But I learned that it’s not about gouging—it’s about charging a fair price for a fair service,” he says.
Crew slowly discovered that it wasn’t just about the price of the part, it was about overhead and insurance and so many other business costs.
Add to your “toolbox” of knowledge.
Let each lesson stand on its own and build on what you already know, he says,
“Don’t try to do everything this trainer says, or all of a sudden throw out what he says and try to learn everything new from another one,” Crew says. “It’s a toolbox. You’re going to have to take a little bit from here and a little bit from there and put it all together in a way that’s comfortable to you.”
He adds that when you read a great sales book from outside your industry, try to find how the advice applies to your industry.
There’s no magic formula for sales.
Crew notes that iPads have replaced pieces of paper, but nothing has changed with the technical aspect of sales.
“Nobody in this industry has new selling tricks,” he says. “If somebody says they do, run for the hills.”
Don’t discredit sales trainers, he says, but realize that in the end the success in sales comes from a sum of many parts.
There’s a big difference between being “interested” and being “committed” to something, Crew says. Some people may look at big houses or big toys, and he says being interested in having those things is the easy part.
“The question is, are you committed to getting that stuff?” he says. “Are you willing to do what everybody else isn’t willing to do?”
Work hard at preparing your sales script.
Some people don’t want to be scripted, and that’s fine, Crew says. But he advocates writing things down, practicing them in a mirror and learning the script to the point that it becomes a conversation.
“I encourage everybody to have a process so that you can deal with any situation independently of just winging it,” he says. “When you wing it, you will not get predictable results.”
Break out of bad habits.
Breaking bad habits includes stepping away from people you’ve outgrown, Crew says. Ask yourself if you’re surrounded by the right people who will help you get to where you want to go.
“Too many of us never change or quit doing what we’ve always done,” he says. “We need to break our habits and change our thinking. And at every level. Service tech, call taker, dispatcher, manager and owner. We all get stuck in the stinking thinking trap.”
Decide now how you want to be remembered.
Nobody makes it out alive, Crew points out.
“That’s just a fact,” he says. “So, what would you want your eulogy to be? What would you want them to say about you? Because at the end of the day, that's all that gets left behind. All the money, all the fortune, all the fame, all that gets left behind. You'll be remembered by the experiences you created and the connections that you made along the way.”
Recommend research and reading
The Six Dimensions of Change 2.0, by Kenny Chapman