Sunday, April 18, 2010

Where do you find Plumbers trained in sales?

One of the most common questions you hear today from plumbing business owners and managers is “Where do you find Plumbers/HVAC Technicians trained in sales?” I submit you are not going to find very many skilled plumbers, let alone those proficient in sales in today’s market, and the only answer is that you are going to have to train them yourself. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for plumbing and heating workers is projected to exceed the supply, and a general aging of the journeyman ranks will likely create job openings faster than they are filled. Their job opportunities are expected to be very good in the future, and employment in the field is projected to expand 10 percent between 2006 and 2016. However, as we all know, most employers in today’s market are having difficulty finding qualified trades people to do the work right now.

To me, the writing is on the wall, if we do not start recruiting young people into our industry and training them ourselves right now, we will be dealing with an even bigger problem in the future. The potential workforce is out there, we just have to recruit them. I volunteer at our local high school’s Construction Technical Class, which offers some 60 students exposure to some of the construction trades. It does this by having retired tradesmen come in and work with the students a couple of days a week. The volunteers consist of a carpenter, electrician, sheet metal worker, cabinetmaker, and plumber.

The students rotate between all of the trades during the first part of the year, and then they can pick out what trade they would like to finish out the rest of the year with. Due to budget cuts, as of now next year’s class is going to have to cut one class, which means some 50 students that have already signed up will not be able to attend this program. We are trying to raise some money to get the class reinstated, and hopefully we will succeed in doing so. The young people who attend these classes can go on to be trades people, we just have to get them on board. One way might be contacting the High Schools and seeing about a job shadowing or mentoring program.

I am a firm believer in that old saying “What goes around, comes around”, and I propose that we must go back to training apprentices from the git-go as we did for some 60 years during the strong union era. This process takes time and money, but it is proven to have worked for myself and thousands of others who received our training in this manner during the 50s, 60s & 70s.

As for as learning sales skills goes, if they are incorporated in the apprenticeship training process, it will be a very easy process as opposed to trying to teach an old dog new tricks even when you are lucky enough to find one. The reason being, sales is just a dirty word to many of the older generation of trades people. After all, it has taken over 20 years of overcoming huge resistance by the Service & Repair Industry before the Flat Rate Business System become accepted; let alone installing and using a sales program in conjunction with it.

For the sales training itself, we have discussed on the Service Roundtable many times the benefits of using Charlie Greer’s Tech Daddy DVD Series. It is inexpressive, and covers every aspect of what Service & Repair shop technicians will need to become proficient in sales. For management, I also highly recommend attending the Service Roundtable National meetings. You will come away from them being a much better informed businessperson, as well as a sales person. The main thing I have found in my sales training classes is that lack of confidence is what holds most people back. Simply put, if you think you can sell you will, if you think you can’t, you won’t. Roll playing is a great way to instill that confidence, and allow them to believe in themselves and their ability to sell anything. So there it is, just go for it.

Just my thoughts,

Gene B


  1. tecnically strong and expert in sales in plumbing...its a little bit difficult...It may be possible by recruiting young and fresh techinicians who r eager to learn new things...only then we can find the best...To get smthng more,get rush Santa Barbara Plumbing

  2. Excellent article. For sales training the answer is to find a strong affordable system. The best sale presentation training we have come across is at it is service specific and cost $49 a month with no contracts. We are also members of Nexstar which provides excellent training as well but may not be affordable for every contractor out there. Our shop does very well with training and closing the calls they are sent on but Apex gave our numbers a boot because it is so well produced and thought out. The lessons run about 20 mins and are interactive with the technicians. Our average ticket jumped $100 after implementing the Apex Training.
    Now into the development of new hires we have found finding an apprentice program and training new guys up in the way you want them to perform they will be top producers for you. Role play is extremely important but you have to start with a strong foundation. The best bang for your buck as it relates to creating better selling techs is unquestionably Apex Training.
    Julian Scadden
    Operations Manager

  3. this is sure going to help me in the related topic..Thanks a lot for the information

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