Dale Steele firmly believes authenticity and a positive mindset are the primary factors that elevate the tech and sales teams at Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
Goettl is definitely a heavyweight contender in the industry. Steele is vice president of sales for the company’s 1,000 employees in nine locations based in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas.
Steele doesn’t believe techs and salespeople have to unwaveringly follow a script when they’re on calls or in the homes of potential customers. He makes that point by referencing a quote credited to a legendary boxing champion.
“Mike Tyson said that everybody's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” Steele says. “If you have a script and then the customer says something completely off-script, well, now it's hand-to-hand combat. You better be able to think on your feet.”
Tradespeople need to learn all about their product and then figure out how to go with the flow when customers have unique questions, Steele says.
Sure, train with scripts, he says, but being out in the field can (figuratively) be like getting in the ring with Tyson.
“You need to take those scripts and make all that stuff your own,” Steele says. “We’ve all seen those scripts and all the same trainings. We try to teach people to make it authentic.”
Role playing helps with that, he says. Goettl managers often role play during morning meetings, so team members can practice the conversations and get comfortable with going off-script.
While employees are encouraged to improvise during sales presentations, Steele says the thing that keeps the large enterprise on track is its top-to-bottom alignment.
The company has a booklet called The Goettl Way, which outlines its culture and systems.
“We’re always expanding and looking for strong leadership,” Steele says. When we go out and acquire businesses in new locations, we're acquiring the equipment, the trucks, the location and all that. But really, we're acquiring the people.”
He says they focus on hiring certain types of people.
“Somebody that wants to get it done,” Steele says. “Someone not afraid of change. Nobody likes change, right? But our culture is a system. It's the way that we're going to conduct ourselves. It’s The Goettl Way.”
So far, the process is delivering knockout results.
Dale Steele recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 7 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Steele’s thoughts on:
The importance of authentic human connections. (14:28)
Training techs in impromptu sales. (17:50)
Avoiding distractions to stay focused. (20:32)
Maintaining team alignment and a positive mindset. (23:16)
Going back to the basics when struggling. (56:00)
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