“There’s no need to be intimidated by water.”
Rod Yoder has been with Kinetico Water Systems for 24 years. Currently serving as Director of North American Dealer Sales, he has decades worth of experience in the water treatment industry that spills over into all the trades.
Yoder talks about how to educate customers without scaring them, the importance of tech in the sales process, and how the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a factor in the future of home services.
Here are Rod Yoder’s top tips for the water treatment trade that apply to all home services companies:
Key TakeawaysIf you don’t know, ask. Then listen.Idea sharing helps everybody.You can educate customers without scaring them. Water treatment is a specialty, but it can be intermingled with other trades. Be strategic when offering upgrades for customers over the long-term. In-home presentations require impressive visuals and tech backup. Even with good tech, sales is still about relationships. Get acquainted with “Internet of Things.”
If you don’t know, ask. Then listen.
At the beginning of his career, Yoder found himself needing to interact with dealers who had superior technical knowledge.
“I’m not the smartest guy in the world but I’m very inquisitive,” he says. “I asked a lot of questions and listened. I’d meet with dealers and go on ride-alongs with them. I wanted to learn how they did things—so it was a lot of hands-on and a lot of questions.”
Idea sharing helps everybody.
One of Yoder’s favorite aspects of working with hundreds of dealers all over the country is the fact that they don’t compete with each other. In fact, there’s an overall sense of camaraderie.
“When we get together at meetings the dealers share ideas and it’s awesome to see,” he says. “It’s part of an entrepreneurial spirit and it really creates momentum.”
You can educate customers without scaring them.
Healthy drinking water in the home is critical, but Yoder isn’t a believer in fear-based marketing.
“There’s no need to scare customers,” he says. “One thing we can do is point people to third-party websites that gather information of water reports. We rely on things like that to educate customers rather than scare tactics.”
Water treatment is a specialty, but it can be intermingled with other trades.
Yoder notes that an overwhelming majority of his dealers (85 percent) work primarily in water treatment. It’s a specialty—just like other trades—but he says it is possible to expand into other fields.
“Most of our dealers will refer to plumbers in their areas,” Yoder says. “But there’s no need to be intimidated by water. About 15 percent of our deals do plumbing themselves. And we do have a dealer who started in water treatment and expanded into HVAC and plumbing.”
Be strategic when offering upgrades for customers over the long-term.
Kinetico products carry 10-year warranties and most of them last for 20, 30, or 40 years, Yoder says. So, the 15-year mark is when dealers go back to customers looking to do upgrades.
“They’ll say, ‘Hey, you’ve had this for 15 years, would you be interested in seeing something else?’’’ he says. “A lot of times, they can convert them. Even if what they have is working, people want something new, and a brand new warranty.”
In-home presentations require impressive visuals and tech backup.
The water treatment trade calls for visual presentations on the iPad. Hand in hand with that, Yoder says Kinetico also has a follow-up tool that he believes can be bolstered by partnering with ServiceTitan.
“We have teams that provide a lot of tools to our dealers,” he says. “It definitely enhances all aspects of training and sales.”
Even with good tech, sales is still about relationships.
Good sales techniques are the same in all trades, Yoder says.
“When we go into homes, we tell our salespeople to build rapport,” he says. “Remember their names. Be engaging. Look for talking points around the house. Have good conversations.”
A big key: Yoder says most of their salespeople actually use the products they’re selling, and can therefore give qualified testimonials about them.”
Get acquainted with the “Internet of Things.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system that allows products/machines/devices in your home to be connected and gives you automated control of them. It’s a growing trend—and it presented a challenge for a non-electric company such as Kinetico.
“We came out with a leak-detection product and we launched an app that gives you basic information about your system,” Yoder says. “Customers—and dealers—can get notifications. Dealers will be able to reach out and say, ‘Hey, Mr. Smith, I notice your salt’s down. Would you like us to deliver some?’ That gives us a big advantage we’ve never had before.”