The Sharpest Tool™

Give Your Home Services Business a Sales Strategy That Works

Cheryl McRae
Josh Smith
Steve Levitt heads up Scorpion's sales team and is passionate about the art and science behind successful sales strategies. In the home services industry, he shares how he often sees owners afraid to let go of the sales part of the business that they have been primarily responsible for. It seems easier to just continue doing it yourself, than training someone. However, investing in and training a strong team to fill that role is one of the best things you can do for your company.

Steve Levitt (00:03):


Josh Smith (00:03):

Hello and welcome to the sharpest tool. Or we take the sting out of marketing by bringing you all the things that we do on a day in and day out basis in the marketing space. My name is Josh, and I'll be leading the charge here today, but I brought somebody along with me that I'm really excited about. This is Steve Levitt, who is running our west coast sales team out here at scorpion. And he brings a lot of great background and advice. I'm just excited to pick his brain. So Steve welcome. Thank you. Yeah, you bet. So today we're talking about something that I think challenges a lot of home service professionals today that their sales cycle and the sales, organizational development, developing a sales team, that's actually going to work for them to help their business grow and scale. We know that the, the sales models of the different, the CSRs are constituted as salespeople. In some instances, the techs are sales people. They go into the home and they have to actually convert the ticket. It's not just about diagnosing the job. They got to actually make sure that they're getting paid for it. That's right. So I think there's a very interesting challenge that we face today. So, uh, give us a little, just a little bit of background in terms of what you've seen in your experience in your career, and that brings you to where you're at today and how small medium of businesses are really growing.

Steve Levitt (01:16):

Yeah, sure. Happy to. So typically sales seems to be the one thing that most people think they can do, but often is the least invested in and in many canes cases, the least trained in, yeah. I'm important to remember that there's a certain set of skills you need to have to be in sales and choose that lifestyle to live your life and your professional career studying the art and the science of sales. So oftentimes we want to, as owners do this ourselves, you know, not necessarily hand off the reins because it's scary, right? Yeah. Certainly is the lifeblood of the company. Typically in my experience, it's been the owner, who's been primarily the breadwinner, primarily the person that creates opportunities for the company. And it's scary to let go of that. So having a clear path to being able to do that and investing in it matters and is the key to success.

Josh Smith (02:11):

Sure. And how would you say you scale appropriately from a small medium business world?

Steve Levitt (02:17):

Yeah, I think that's a great question. And that, that is the number one thing that I have heard is when do I do it? How do I do it? So when is one of those things where you kind of just know, right? You just know my gosh, I'm spending way more time working in the business than on the business. And I have to start working on my business or we're not going to grow. And many customers that I've worked with are challenged because they don't have a good set of, to begin with really numbers or KPIs or goals. We can call them whatever we want. Whereby we say, we are trying to reach X number of jobs, tickets, revenue, whatever it happens to be. It's a great place to start. What do you want to do? I want to

Josh Smith (02:57):

Pull it back for a minute, because you mentioned that might be a little abstract for some of these business owners. And that's you, you mentioned working in the business versus working on the business. What's the distinction between the two

Steve Levitt (03:11):

Question? Think of it this way, Josh. I know that my differentiator, perhaps as a plumber, is that I know high pressure water systems better than anybody else. I'm making it up. I there's a certain amount of vocabulary and things that I know what to say and how to do on a call with a prospect or a client that I have to eventually get my team to be able to say, do and understand those things. It further multiplies by the number of questions to ask. When do you ask the right kind of questions around? What problems are you having? Are you having these other problems? And many people tend to just do the work rather than take the time. And that's called working in the business. Well, let me just go do it because oftentimes we get, oh my God, it's just easier if I go do it, rather than explain it to somebody else. I don't have time. Yeah. Well, carving out that time to say, wait a minute, what are those 10 key things that I really need to have any one of my texts, anyone, any one of my intake, people, whoever it might be in my small business, they need to know and ask these questions because it's going to lead me down the road of being able to position what we do in the right way. Yeah.

Josh Smith (04:19):

Right. A lot of sense that

Steve Levitt (04:21):

That documenting the process is more what I consider working on the business than actually doing the work.

Josh Smith (04:28):

Got it. I appreciate that distinction. I think that, yeah, that's a lot more approachable and the, it brings up a word that was kept popping in my head and this idea of duplication and this idea of replication, one of the biggest challenges for business owners today, it seems to me, my, this idea of replicating the process, replicating a person, you know, because it all rests in lies with that, the business owner and all of a sudden, you got to make an another person like you do exactly what to make us. What are some principles that business owners can apply to making that transition successful

Steve Levitt (05:00):

Is what lies between, uh, you know, a small business owner and a medium business owner, right. And running more, more crews, more trucks, more jobs than that terrible feeling of just, I can't get to the next thing I can't get to the next job. I can't find that person. So the question I think is really how do I go from me doing it, to finding someone else that can do it. And that's what I'm starting to talk about earlier is really knowing what it means. Okay. I need to have X number of jobs sold or revenue booked, and that's, that's what I'm searching for then breaking out. Well, what are the right types of accounts that I need to have that or ideal clients that we should or should not be working with? What sort of solutions or collateral material, or what do we want to say to them?

Steve Levitt (05:53):

Who should I have on my team who should be responsible for this? And then what do I want them to do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, right? And then how do I make sure they're doing, we could probably do a whole series of podcasts about each one of those things, right? Because they all get very deep, very quickly. But at the very level, if, if you can set goals, figure out who you want to work with. Right? Understand what you want to say to those ideal clients, right? Figure out who you should have doing it, what you want them to be doing regularly and measurably. And then how you can look into whether they're doing that or not. From a management perspective, we'll at least give you a roadmap to understand, okay, I need to get, I need to hire two more crews in order to do that.

Steve Levitt (06:38):

I need 50 more jobs per X period of time. And we're going to do that by focusing on these right types of clients that we know we can help. And here's what we're going to say to those kinds of clients as to why we're better or what our unique proposition is in the market, and then figure out, well, who's the right people to do it. Oftentimes it may be the tech. It may not be depending on the size of your firm. It may be someone in the office. Oftentimes as the owner, it's easy to just say, no, it's me. And that's the case for many reasons, one, the buck stops with you always, but you know, the business you've done every job, you know how to sell. And there's a certain level of accountability there. Yeah. Creating that culture on a sales team is important.

Steve Levitt (07:24):

I believe placing someone in charge of it, finding someone that has that responsibility as their primary focus in the company. It has to start there. And that's scary as heck because suddenly I'm now asking you to be the mini me and you're not there yet. So it requires investment in that person and helping them get up to speed. And what all the things I just mentioned, maybe having them shadow, you understand what you need to do, but also setting clear direction about here's where we're going. What's what's necessary. You mentioned sales culture, what's necessary for a thriving sales culture. Yeah. Um, so we tend to do a pretty good job of this as scorpion. I gotta say. Yeah. Um, well, to me, the most important thing that sales people really want to feel is that they are playing a game. They can win period in my career.

Steve Levitt (08:23):

You know, there's been times where I knew I can go hit my number and it was super easy. Then there were times where I was playing a game that even if I did everything right, I couldn't get there and no fun, bad for morale stretch goals, but Hey, we're crushing it. We're doing it. We're getting there. This isn't easy. I'm earning it to me is where it starts. So back to the first piece about setting goals, realistic goals, attainable goals for the business. You're not going to suddenly go from running one crew to 50 crews in a quarter or two. Maybe, maybe you are, but probably not. So let's have a meaningful game that we can play. And we, we share in the success and the victory of that and having that line of sight, get salespeople, engaged, excited, and focused, and also feeling like they're supported and have the other things I mentioned. Right. Hey, we do know how we talk to clients here is what you should say. Here is the right type of client. These, this is what you need to go get in the market. Oftentimes we'll put, we'll hire the cheapest resource we can find that has a good personality. Stick them on the phone and say, go do it. Sure.

Josh Smith (09:33):

What's your recommendation. What'd you say for companies who strictly deal with salespeople who are responsible for all aspects of the sales process versus having a supportive administrative staff, um, do you find one to be more successful than the other? If so, why?

Steve Levitt (09:52):

Yeah. Good question. Um, it's not a simple answer earlier. Um, earlier in this stage of a sales team, it's my opinion, easier and better to have one purpose, one person doing it all. As you want to grow and get larger and scale, we use that term around here. A lot scale can be tricky. You have to specialize. So if you're adding one or two sales people, as truly as individual professional sellers, start there, listen to them, ask them what they need to do more. But then when you feel like, Hey, they're consistently performing. Usually I suggest we recommend someone that can help set appointments for that person. Once that person is able to demonstrate that they can bring us more jobs, bring us more tickets, bring us more sales, whatever. However, we measure it in our goals. What we want to start to do is specialize. The next person I would typically hire would be an appointment setter or a cold caller to put that physician person in a position to sell more than add another salesperson. That ratio gets tricky, but you'll find that as you scale, you need to specialize. Yeah. Same thing goes for inbounds or referrals and making sure they're the right fit.

Josh Smith (11:12):

Yeah, definitely. You mentioned, uh, finding the right people, I think is always tricky in, in the sales world. So, um, obviously in the home services arena, a lot of the tax, they go into the house and then they diagnose and effectively sell on why they need to allow them to fix it. Right. So what do you think from that aspect of a text job? Um, what should be considered when, when hiring techs or what, if you have a tech already that maybe isn't strong in that area, what qualities should be considered in training those people in

Steve Levitt (11:48):

Great question. Um, good people are, are super hard to find. They don't come to you. You got to go find them. It's plain and simple. Um, we look for people that are already working most of the time. I think that ideally what you will start to notice is the same texts that are, that are rising to the top are probably doing a couple of things. They're probably doing a lot of listening and being a bit empathetic with whoever our clients are to really deeply understand, well, what, why is this a problem for you? Okay, I got it. And I am confident now that I'm going to solve this problem for you. I'm going to quote, kill the problem for you. And that gives me as a buyer, a level of trust and comfort that you're not here to just take my money and get out and come back in three months and do the same job over again.

Steve Levitt (12:45):

We have a saying here, no, listen, no trust, no trust, no sale. So your top techs are probably really going in listening to the client, talk about what's going on, understanding why that's a problem, and then adding their professional layer of problem solving and bringing their knowledge that to bear on the problem say, well, look, here's what you probably need to do. I know it's frustrating. Yeah. You could either bandaid this or you could kill the problem and that's going to cost substantially more. Yeah. Understanding that component may be another way to go scale. Right. So suddenly now you've got people in the field booking jobs and not necessarily turning ranches. Yeah. And that's how we can do it. It's scary. Cause I'm there. And now there's a cost to going back out again, back to the goals. If you've got goals that said we need to do X more jobs, is it, you know, is it realistic as you're starting out?

Steve Levitt (13:36):

It probably makes sense for you to have one person move into that role. Yeah, absolutely. I'm going to ask you the age old question, marketing and sales. What's the difference. Yeah. If anyone can let me know, that'd be great. Just kidding. Um, yeah. So, you know, it's been interesting over the last few years, especially I've tend to come from more of a B2B background, but I do know that sales and marketing now more than ever are so closely married together, that it's hard to separate them. Yeah. Consumers are showing up to all sorts of buying cycles with far more information with far more research comp you know, competitive analysis done, even for things as simple as finding electrician. Yeah. Solving my problem. They're more educated. The key component here is just making sure that when the sales person finally talks to a new client or prospect, they're saying the similar things that the marketing team has said to them.

Steve Levitt (14:38):

So if I tell you the cars costs X in my radio or TV commercial, but I show up and it's really why we start to road trust. Yeah, no, listen, no trust, no trust, no sale. So making sure there's that alignment between sales and marketing is so, so critical. Now make sure that who you're targeting what you're saying, how you're saying it is backed up by your salespeople. Yeah. Now where we get into trouble, oftentimes is companies is we want to grow. However, we haven't taken the time to make sure that what I said earlier about the solutions or the sales collateral is aligned all the way from marketing to sales. If we're not saying the same thing and the salespeople have goals that are different, suddenly you, you have an opportunity to create bad behavior. And we want to avoid that at all costs. It may seem like the right thing to do in the short term. It is not, it is a hundred percent not

Josh Smith (15:33):

Since he is the key for them making a miss sales of marketing working together.

Steve Levitt (15:38):

Absolutely because it's, there's no friction for me to just turn right back around and say, this didn't work for me as a customer. These, this is not the right firm. Therefore don't use them. Now. The next marketing and sales experience someone has with me is maybe a little more challenging. Let's leave it there.

Josh Smith (15:56):

That's awesome, Steve. Well, I want to wrap this up with a nice bow here. If there's one thing that you think would allow a home service business make a strong impact when it comes to their sales right now, what would you suggest that

Steve Levitt (16:10):

I would have to say the one thing they can do in order to make an impact with their sales efforts is to really set a goal for being where you want to be in at X period of time. And then, so we always say, start with the end in mind. I want to be at X number of jobs or trucks or crews or yeah, revenue, doesn't matter. Start there, work your way back into how, how are you going to do that from a sales perspective, from a marketing perspective, if you're driving demand in marketing, how are you going to answer that demand from a sales team? Yeah.

Josh Smith (16:47):

Awesome. Well, Steve, this has been great. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it. And if you're enjoying all of these awesome content, definitely hit that subscribe button wherever you might be. So you can get more of all the goodness we're bringing your way. Once again, my name's Josh, and this is the sharpest tool. We'll talk to you then.

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