Secrets to success

Many installers are currently looking at their business practices to ensure they are running as efficiently as they can and many will even find opportunities to shine. David Barrett, Baxi’s Commercial Director, reveals his five step checklist towards achieving success as an installer.

Facts sell. Being able to quantify the savings that a homeowner could make with the installation of a new boiler can be the turning point as to whether they go ahead with the job.
Know your facts
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) estimates that a homeowner could save as much as £300 per year by replacing an old gas boiler with an A-rated high efficiency condensing boiler and improving heating controls. This represents a significant amount of money when added up over a number of years.
It is also worth following up previous installations to hear first-hand the differences that these customers have noticed – both in effectiveness of their heating system and a reduction in their bills. These can also be incredibly useful anecdotes to pass on to potential new customers as examples of the impact that improvements can have.
Recent research undertaken by Baxi confirmed that despite all the information outlets that homeowners have at their fingertips, installers remain the key decision maker when it comes to deciding which boiler is installed. Through being confident and forthcoming with the facts, knowing the features and benefits of the chosen boiler, the installer will instil confidence in the homeowner.
Keep on top of your training
The industry is certainly not sitting still and an installer cannot afford to either. There are plenty of training courses and trade events on offer that will interest even the most experienced heating engineers. As a brand, Baxi does not underestimate the importance of training and has invested in a thorough and comprehensive training programme. For manufacturers, it is important that any in-house programme is continually changing to keep up-to-date with new products, technologies and legislation.
The skills gained through industry-approved training will not only develop the installer’s confidence in their own skills and professional ability but will also ensure 100% customer satisfaction, which in turn results in repeat business and referrals.  In addition to this, undertaking  product-specific training will not only give an installer the knowledge to discuss the features and benefits of the chosen boiler, but  it should also put them in a stronger position to pick up additional work, such as installing controls or system filters.
Provide the ‘one stop shop’ service
Homeowners may well be counting their pennies at the moment, but what many are willing to pay for is peace of mind that the job will be done and done well, and that if problems do arise, the installer is their first port of call and will easily resolve the issues. If installers can demonstrate to customers this level of service, they will certainly improve their chances of picking up new business.
In order to offer this reassurance, installers also need to feel confident that support and back up is available for them.  Manufacturers are ideally placed to offer this support and many have now set up technical helplines solely aimed at assisting installers with any problems they are faced with.  A few, such as Baxi’s heateam, even go as far as to actively involve themselves in the query by working through the problem step-by-step with the installer.
Finally, it is important to remember that an installer’s job does not finish after the installation. Offering additional benefits to your customers such as servicing and maintenance contracts can provide guaranteed income and give extra reassurance to the homeowner. Regular servicing, of course, helps to extend the life of the boiler, maintain the efficiency and keep the customer happy.
Tidy up the paperwork
Very few installers, if any, entered the trade because of a love of paperwork and admin; nevertheless, it plays a critical role in the running of an efficient and successful business. Hours wasted in the office are in turn hours that an installer is not out on a job earning money.
Thankfully computers and mobile devices have made this side of the business much easier than it used to be, and, while there are endless programmes that can be purchased to help with the smooth running of a business, their role can be as simple as:

  • Keeping a clear database of your customers. This allows an installer to easily see when servicing reminders are due, send out seasonal promotions when relevant and keep track of previous work undertaken.
  • Managing your calendar in a clear manner.
  • Produce standard templates for all communication (quotes, invoices etc).

Manufacturers recognise the importance of a ‘tidy office’ to an installer’s business and many have invested in programmes to help in this area. For example, installers can register with the Baxi online loyalty scheme, works, and opt for Baxi sending out annual service reminders to their customers on their behalf, saving them both time and money. The works loyalty scheme also allows installers to complete their Gas Safe notifications at the same time as they register the boiler’s warranty – this again helps to save precious time as well as £2.20 for each notification.
Get networking
Social media is now too big to ignore – Facebook alone is slated to have over 30million users in the UK. It is a leading way to promote a business, and those who think it is not for them are mistaken. Not only is it easy to use, but it offers an inexpensive and quick way to communicate with a vast number of people.
Installers should be visiting sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to see how they can work for their individual businesses – all sites offer setting up advice for new users and businesses, helping to eliminate any fear of the unknown.
In short though, when used in the right way, social networking sites can help to:

  • Quickly update followers on special offers and services.
  • Stay abreast of industry news by following the larger manufacturers and industry publications.
  • Keep up-to-date on competitor activity.
  • Generate traffic to your website.

[author image=”” ]David Barrett joined BDR Thermea as Commercial Director in Nov 2010. He holds responsibility for all the UK domestic boiler sales teams, including Baxi, Potterton, Main and Remeha. Prior to working at BDR Thermea, David held senior positions at Mobil, BP, Burger King and Rosebys.[/author]