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How To Keep Salesmen Busy During The Winter Season

By | Contractors | No Comments

For a large part of the country, it gets cold, wet, and unpleasant during the winter months of the year. Here in Colorado we feel it for sure; as do the contractors in Wisconsin, Iowa, Washington, and Montana among others; all you lucky people who live in Florida don’t know what we’re talking about, so you might need to skip this one.

During winter, when it is cold constantly and dark at 4:30, work tends to slow down. It is hard to do some things in freezing temps and it takes twice as long to finish projects when you have so little daylight to work with. This trend leaves your salesmen bored, for lack of a better word. There are no projects building, no storms creating new business for them to find, and the holidays make it easy to slack off even more. So what do you do? You aren’t paying them to just sit around and take up space in your office, so you find useful tasks to keep them busy. Below we dive into some of our favorite tasks to keep the salesmen busy when it’s cold out.

Training

There is no such thing as too much training. Even your most seasoned salesmen can always learn something new. Use the down time to do different kinds of training with your guys. Work with manufacturers to get updated installation techniques or to learn about new products or warranties they are offering. You can also use training’s to talk about stress and time management when it is busy at work; work with the team to come up with methods to combat stress that everyone can use when everyone is crazy busy. New sales methods are coming out every day as well, so take this time to make sure all of your salesmen are up-to-date and evolving their methods for the current sales market. No matter what type of training you choose to do, it can’t do any harm. It keeps your salesmen minds on their jobs, and, hopefully, will get them thinking creatively for how to get more business when things start to pick up again.

Planning

Similar to training, down time can be used for planning. Sit down with each of your salesmen and set goals for the next storm season. Or brainstorm as a group the best ways to find new business; see who has good connections and where other connections can be built. Get the salesmen to work together to plan sales tactics for specific areas that you know you want. The down time can be used to prepare for when things get busy and to find the best ways to tackle everything. It allows you, as an owner, to set standards and practices for how you want things to go in the next season.

Prospecting

Just because they can’t necessarily be out in the field selling, doesn’t mean the salesmen can’t still be making sales and bringing future business into the company. Slow season gives them the opportunity to sit down and look at what connections they have to get business, and where they can improve those connections and try to get more. Depending on your specific sphere, there are a number of other businesses that can be great partners for bringing business into to your company. Use the down time to have your salesmen try and connect with people from those businesses; have them call, offer an introduction, see if they would be willing to sit down with your company. Doing this gives your company the opportunity to grow even when things are slow. Plus, this also gives the salesmen a chance to test out new selling techniques that you have taught them during this time as well!

Slow doesn’t have to mean stopped. See what works best for your company, your people, and your goals and find ways to keep everyone busy year round.

The Benefits Of Being Cloud Based

By | Tech | No Comments

Gone are the days of documents being printed and filed by hand, and it seems that soon, the days of filling up your computer storage with those same files will be gone as well. More and more companies are moving document storage to the cloud, along with many of their other operations. With programs like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Mail becoming more user friendly and easier to manage, many companies are moving all of their online operations to cloud-based sites.

Moving operations to the cloud can be a big change, and take some time to transfer and adjust when it is done, but in the long run it can make a big difference for companies. When email, documents, and software programs are all on the cloud it allows your company to expand its capabilities and reap the benefits of doing so. Keep reading to check out the biggest benefits of being cloud-based.

Mobility

Any more it is unlikely that someone has to sit in an office all day to get their work done. With smart phones basically turning into small computers and flexible schedules becoming more popular, people can work from anywhere. The cloud is doing its part to make that even more possible. When all of a company’s work is in the cloud it can be accessed from anywhere; so beyond being able to respond to emails and stay connected, people can actually solve problems and finish work while they are working at home, from a coffee shop, or their kid’s baseball game. Mobility means that people can get more done, and be more efficient even when they can’t be in the office, but also get to maintain a work life balance a little easier. When work can be done anywhere, it makes it possible for people to be a part of events and work their day around kid’s activities and other obligations outside of work.

Accessibility

You know that feeling when you’re traveling for work and someone needs something that is done but it’s on your computer in another state? Or you took a few days off, but something big comes up and you don’t have access to jump on and help really quick? The cloud can help fix that. When everything is stored and organized on the cloud, no matter where you are you will have access to your email and all your files so that you can help solve problems or put in work if you have a little extra time. Having access to everything whenever you need it gives you the opportunity to be more efficient with your work and more effective in helping your coworkers and clients whenever they need it.

Organization

No matter your job, you always have stuff. Paperwork, office supplies, files, folders, the list goes on and on of the stuff that sits in your office that you have to spend time trying to keep organized. Again, this is where the cloud comes to save the day. When your whole operation is stored in the cloud, it means all the paperwork and files and folders are too. It takes a lot less time to scan in documents and organize them in folders on the computer than it does when everything is physically in your hand. It also makes it a lot easier to find files when you need them, because you know exactly where they are. Using a cloud-based system can help keep you more organized in a more efficient matter; you don’t have to routinely destroy your office to get it organized again and it is easy to make changes to your filing system when you need to.

Customer Service: The Make Or Break Differentiator For Contractors

By | Contractors | No Comments

Let’s face it, most contractors are basically the same. Within the sphere of work you do (roofing, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) you and your competition look a whole lot a alike. You offer similar services, for similar prices, with the same end result for the customer. So how do you make your business stand out over others? We have two words for you: customer service. Customer service is the one way that you can totally distinguish yourself from your competition; it allows you to create a specific identity for your company that no other company can replicate.

Regardless of the type of work you do, almost any other contractor in your field can properly repair or install. They can all make sure it is done to manufacturer specifications and in line with city ordinances, so there is little you can do besides tout your expertise (even though everyone else is also doing that). Next step would be to potentially offer deals or discounts, but similarly to installing, there are only so many different things you can offer; between the legal restrictions and your own costs, you can typically do free inspections or sometimes discounted materials, but unfortunately, the other guys can do that too. So what can you do to make your company different? Make your customer service better. When it comes down to it, people aren’t really going to remember the installation and the actual work that got done. They are going to remember if you were helpful, efficient, and communicative.

Making your customer service better doesn’t need to mean big changes within your company. Often it is the little, helpful things that customers remember and that can help you differentiate from other contractors. It can start at the very beginning before you even have a signed contract. Make the most of your initial contact, answer all their questions and address concerns, and follow-up with them after to make sure nothing else came-up after you left. This shows the potential customers that you care, and are invested in the project from the start.

Communication is another big way to build your customer service reputation. In addition to following-up when you are trying to win business, stay in contact once you have the business. Over-communicating can actually be helpful; keep homeowners updated with how the project is progressing, let them know if there are problems with materials, keep them in the loop when work is happening and what that entails for their daily lives. This goes both ways as well, the more you communicate with them, the more they will feel like they can communicate with you. You want them to be comfortable enough with you and your company to call with any questions or concerns as the project goes on. Taking those calls, and taking the time to address those concerns can be the turning point for you over other contractors.

You can also make them aware of product specifications, warranties, and what to look for in case something happens again. If the product has tell-tale signs that something is about to go wrong, let the homeowner know what those signs are and what to do when it happens to make the process smoother. If there are warranties or rewards available from either your company or manufacturers, make sure the homeowner is aware of them and help them get registered so that they won’t face more costs down the road. Going the extra mile to give them helpful extra information makes you look really good, and makes homeowners trust you more.

Making homeowners feel heard, understood, and secure during a project makes a difference. It makes them more likely to come back you for more work, recommend you to people who need the same work done, and give your company good reviews. All of these things help to set you apart from your competition; if they aren’t taking the time to listen to their customers, than that puts you a step above them and when the race is tight, that can make all the difference.

Warming Up Cold Leads: Best Practices

By | Contractors | No Comments

As much as we wish they were, not every job you’ll get will be a home run. You know the kind, where the homeowners sign the contract right away, the insurance company approves your estimate, and the work goes off without a hitch. For every ten jobs, you might get one that goes that nicely, and the rest, well, they require a little more legwork.

One of the most difficult parts of selling for contractors is getting the contract signed. Some homeowners like to take their time making a decision, or are unsure of what work they need done, or they just think they know more than you do. These are the homeowners that are typically deemed as cold leads; they didn’t slam the door, they let you explain what you do, and they may have even had you do an inspection, but then they want to wait to sign a contract. It can be frustrating dealing with these types of homeowners because you want the work and you want to get started. You might even think it would be easier to move on to the next house who is ready to sign the contract and forget about the hesitant people all together. But, taking the time to warm-up these cold leads can pay off big time if you do it right. In this post, we will go into detail about some of the best practices to warm-up cold leads and get contracts signed.

Don’t Push Too Hard Too Fast

One of the easiest ways to scare off cold leads for good is to push too hard too fast. Having to make changes or repairs to a home is big, big deal and some people need more time to process that than others. When you push too much, it can overwhelm the homeowners and make them run to another contractor with more patience, and it can also seem a little sketchy; like you just want to get the work done and get paid. Most of the time you can tell which homeowners are going to be a little harder to convince, so have a sales plan specific to those kinds of customers. Try your normal sales process at half speed if they seem skittish; do your inspection and give them all the information, but don’t bring up a contract or moving forward until the next time you speak. Give them time to process all the information one bit at a time, and let them become comfortable with you before the ball really starts to roll.

Stay In Touch

Another great way to warm-up cold leads is to stay in touch with homeowners while they are in the process of picking a contractor. Even if you are moving slower, as mentioned above, communicate with them; call and see if they have questions after looking over your damage assessment, ask if they have any questions about the insurance process, or if they need help navigating HOA requirements. Try and speak with them at least once per week while they are in the decision-making process. Not only will it keep you in their minds as an option to do the work, it will also help you build rapport and display your full expertise, which will hopefully bolster their confidence in you.

Find Hesitations

Typically, the people who take the longest to process and decide have specific concerns that are holding them back, and these concerns are typically easy to find. All you have to do is ask. Ask them if they have any specific questions or if there is anything they are worried about and, usually, that answer will let you know what they are worried about so you can address it. Finding out why they are hesitant to move forward gives you the opportunity to display your knowledge of the process and the repairs, and make the homeowner more comfortable with you; similar to staying in touch, it allows you to build rapport with them before other contractors can. Addressing their concerns, and pointing out how you can help negate them, can be a big step in getting a contract signed.

Success Through Simplicity: Why Customizability Matters

By | Contractors, Public Adjusters | No Comments

At Scoperite, we don’t believe that you need a software with a bunch of features to make your business better. We believe that you need a software that can bend to your needs and that can make your company more effective at what they do.

So many of the software options on the market for contractors and public adjusters right now do their best to showcase the wide variety of things that it can do, from tracking everyone’s calendars to creating graphs showing how many leads you’ve closed, but not every company needs all those features. That is where Scoperite aims to be different. We stand by our motto “Success Through Simplicity” because we don’t have a thousand different features in our system; we don’t think you need them. Instead we have a few different features, that we found to be the most useful for contractors and public adjusters, that are customizable to you and your business.

We believe it is more important for the features to function the way you need them to, rather than having (and paying for) a bunch of features for the sake of having a lot of them. Each company operates differently, with different systems in place so being able to customize the software you use to those systems makes the most sense. For example, Scoperite allows users to create documents like invoices and estimates from a template. That template is created by the owner of the company so that it fits your company’s methods for those documents. The same can be said for the custom email templates that can be created as well; users can create templates of emails they send frequently to save time, effort, and confusion and the templates are available from each claim page.

We could go on, but we won’t. Our point is, there is nothing wrong with simple when it gets the job done. If you want to learn more about our features and their customization, head over to our main page and sign-up for a demo today!

The Importance of Communication in Autonomous Roles

By | Contractors, Public Adjusters | No Comments

Contractors and public adjusters do a lot of work on their own. Whether it is scoping houses, supervising projects, or cranking out paperwork, it isn’t uncommon that they do all of it with little to no guidance or input from others. Autonomy is what helps many of these businesses run successfully; when the employees know what needs to be done, and get it done without needing to be told, it makes the whole company more productive and profitable.

However, just because someone can do something without input from others, doesn’t always mean they should. Communication is essential in the workplace, even when it isn’t necessarily needed. In autonomous roles, such as public adjusting or project management, communication can improve both individual and company performance in a lot of ways. Below we talk about some of the most important reasons to keep the lines of communication open at your company.

Keeps Everyone Connected

While it seems like an obvious point, communication keeps everyone connected. That may seem like a “well-duh” kind of statement, but in autonomous roles, people tend to only communicate with the other people that they need to get their projects done instead of communicating with everyone. When people take the time to communicate with all their coworkers, it fosters the culture of the company, which can sometimes get lost when there are lots of singular roles in a business. Even just asking about someone’s day in passing in the parking lot counts as communication that can help build a culture. When employees like the culture they work in and feel comfortable with their coworkers, they are more likely to stay at that job and enjoy doing their work.

Decreases Problems And Confusion

From scheduling crews, to ordering materials, to keeping property owners properly informed there is a mass amount of information and tasks that keep every project moving forward. For the most part, each person is focused on their projects and the tasks that they need to accomplish, which works, it’s how the work gets done. But when everyone is focusing only on their projects, things can get lost. If project managers aren’t communicating crews might get doubled booked, materials might get dropped and there’s no one there to unload it. If salesmen aren’t communicating they may knock too many of the same doors, call the same property managers, and make no progress. But if everyone communicates on at least a base level, it can eliminate a lot of that confusion. Talking with other project managers and planning schedules together can make sure there are always crews available. Coordinating with the other salesmen on the best way to attack a neighborhood can mean you’ll get more jobs, and not bother people by knocking on their door twice. Keeping yourself up-to-date with what is happening with other projects and other employees can solve problems before they start, and keep the company running flawlessly.

Improves Customer Service

Similar to communicating to avoid confusion, communicating with other coworkers can help improve company customer service as whole. If a project manager is on vacation, and the insurance company calls, someone else can help them if they have been talking with their coworkers and keeping tabs on their projects. If more people know what is happening with certain projects, anyone can help when problems arise. The more people that can help with problems, the better your customer service will be, which is likely to lead to referrals and good reviews from happy clients.

Fuels Accountability

Autonomy is awesome because it means making your own schedule and having more control over how you do your work. But it can also be easy to get behind, put things off, and let things slip through the cracks when you are the only one responsible for you. Communicating with coworkers and managers frequently fuels accountability; if you know someone is going to be checking-up, you want to have everything done. Whether it is asking about scheduling, following-up on a question, or passing on paperwork, if someone else is going to be asking you about your projects, you want to be prepared to answer them. Communicating doesn’t mean tracking schedules and taking away autonomy, but is a way to make sure that the people working alone are still doing all the work that they need to do.

Best Practices For Training New Hires

By | Contractors | No Comments

Having a good system for training new employees is essential to keeping them at a company. Training new hires helps them embrace the culture, methods, and goals of the company so that they can be highly effective in their new role. A lot of companies, especially in the construction sector, train quickly; with the goal being for the new employee to be on their own as soon as possible, but taking the time to slow down and train them properly will be more effective for both you and the new employee in the end. Below we will dive into a few tried and true best practices for training new hires that, if used, will help your company and your new employees thrive.

Have A System

One of the biggest ways to make your training effective is to have a system; take the time to sit down with relevant parties to new hires and let everyone give their input on what needs to be taught for each department. This information can then be compiled and organized into a system for training new hires that will allow them to gain the most training and knowledge necessary to do their job well. Having a system means that each and every new employee gets all the information that they need without it being extra work for current employees; the system sets everyone up for success by ensuring all relevant information is given to new hires as soon as they start.  Using a set system also makes it easier for you to identify gaps in training, and allows you see where changes can be made to make new and current employees more effective at their jobs.

Use The Right People

Some people are good teachers, and some people just aren’t. Even people who are really good at their jobs aren’t always awesome at explaining it to others. When you are deciding who will be training new hires, you want to pick the people who are good teachers and who don’t mind taking the time to show someone how everything works. You want to use the people who can thoroughly explain and outline how task works, but also someone who makes the trainee feel welcome and understands that there will be a learning curve. Questions are essential in the learning process, so having people who can and are willing to answer questions is important because it will help the new hire learn faster and ensure that they are fully understanding all the tasks required of them in their new position.

Three Tips For Handling Stress At The Busiest Times Of The Year

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

Depending on the region you live in work can ebb and flow based on the weather. For the most part, summer and fall are the busiest times of year for most contractors and public adjusters because the weather is best for building, and storms are usually the most damaging. That also means that you are your busiest during those times as well, and things can get crazy in a hurry.

Regardless of when your company is at its busiest, it can get difficult to get everything accomplished and not feel like your hair is on fire 99% of the time. Handling stress when almost everything you’re working on needed to be done yesterday, and you have more and more tasks coming in daily can be difficult, which is why we compiled our top three tips for handling stress at the busiest times of the year.

Take Little Breaks)

When you are really stressed taking a break can seem like a waste of time that is only going to make your day harder, but more often than not, taking even a small break can make your day a lot easier. Giving yourself even five minutes to step away from work and clear your head will help you to re-focus and feel more capable when you sit back down at your desk or head to your next inspection.

Some of the ways that our employees take little breaks are:

  • Going to fill-up their water bottle and taking a lap around the office
  • Focused deep breathing your car
  • Having a snack or actively taking a quick lunch break
  • Stepping out to get a coffee or tea

Most of these things take only a few minutes but they give you a chance to step away from work a few times each day, and remind yourself that you will be able to get everything done.

Find Time For You)

For a lot people, work isn’t the only thing that demands your attention. Family, friends, and other plans are there as well, pulling you in different directions and adding to your workload. When work gets stressful, it can make your other obligations seem more stressful as well (and make it easier to take your stress out on them). One good way to combat all that stress, is to find time for you when things get crazy.

While it might seem like that means doing more things, taking even 10 or 15 minutes for yourself can be a game changer. Some of the things Scoperite employees like to do for themselves are:

  • Get up early to have time drink your coffee by yourself
  • Stay up a little later than your family to read, watch TV, etc.
  • Meditate or deep breathe using a guided app
  • Pick a household chore that you don’t mind doing to do by yourself and focus only on that

You know what works best for you, what puts you in the best mood, so find the time to do it every day. You will thank yourself later.

Don’t Over-Plan)

When there is a lot to do, it is easy to over-plan your days and over-estimate your ability to get things done. During busy times of the year, new tasks pop-up and demand your time every single day, despite the tasks you already had planned for the day.

For every day, plan out the few things that absolutely have to get done; whether it is appointments with homeowners, sending out invoices, or getting an estimate written, plan what has to be done that day and nothing else. That way if other things come up you still have time for them, and if nothing else happens, you can add a few more things to your list and knock those out early. When things get crazy, it is easier to go with the flow rather than feel overwhelmed with each new task that gets added to your to-do list.

Best Practices For Upselling

By | Contractors | No Comments

When it comes to construction, one of the best ways to increase profits is to upsell customers. Whether it is for better products, better warranties, or just more peace of mind for them, it is good for you when your employees can get customers to make improvements and upgrades beyond the original scope of work.

Upselling, however, isn’t always easy. Whether your salesmen are new and timid or homeowners are a tough sell, it can take a lot of convincing to get a commitment to a better product, service, warranty, etc. There are a few things that you, as a leader in your company, can do to make your team more effective in their upselling efforts.

Take The Time To Train)

Some guys are just good at selling, and upselling, they can get contracts signed and warranty upgrades agreed to without hardly any work at all on their end, but some guys just aren’t; they struggle to create a good relationship with the homeowner and to get contracts signed, much less get product upgrades in the mix.

Taking the time to train all your guys on good tactics for upselling can hugely benefit your company. Helping them to have rebuttals for denials, tools to explain the value added, and tactics to open the upgrading conversation will make them more effective at upselling, but also at selling in general. Have them practice on each other, role play the scenario so that they can get used to fending off excuses and working the benefits into the conversation; the more they practice on each other, the easier it will come when they try with real homeowners. It also gives the salesmen an opportunity to help one another out. That great salesman can show your new guys how he goes about selling, convincing, and getting the deal done. The new or timid salesmen can ask questions, and clarify things they are unsure of. Getting all of your guys together in one room gives them the opportunity to teach each other and collaborate amongst themselves the best ways to upsell homeowners.

Use Your Resources)

Part of being able to upsell is to know what it is you are persuading the homeowner to add to their project. Whether it is a product like an impact resistant shingle or anti-wear paint, or a better warranty for using only one company’s products, your guys need to know everything about it so that they can ensure the homeowner that it is the right thing for them do to.

This is where having good, strong relationships with manufacturer reps is essential. The manufacturer representatives are a wealth of knowledge, and it is their job to get your company to use more of their products. Many reps will be more than happy to sit down with you and your salesmen to go in depth into how certain products work, how they are better than others, and even ways to sell them to the homeowners. Similar to the training, working with the reps gives your guys the opportunity to ask questions, see demos, and become experts on the products and services they sell. Being able to understand exactly what they are selling and how it will be a benefit to the homeowner will make you salesmen exponentially better at gaining the homeowner’s trust, and convincing them to upgrade their project.

Why It’s Important To Unplug From Work

By | Health and Wellness | No Comments

How frequently have you included that you will “still have your phone on you” in your out-of-office message? Or checked emails when you get home from a Saturday night out with friends? When was the last time you actually unplugged from work entirely?

Phones, tablets, and mobile technologies have made work easier in a lot of ways; you can work from home rather than the office, get calls when you’re away from your desk, and make sure you don’t forget about that Saturday at 8AM phone meeting your boss scheduled you for. But all the technology has also made it a lot harder to unplug from work and walk away every once in a while.

Taking the time to truly unplug from work is becoming more and more important as people’s lives continue to get busier and more stressful. Being constantly connected means work is happening when you are at dinner with your friends, watching a movie with your family, and at 2AM when you get up to respond to a note you received earlier that day. It makes work the most present thing in your life, which can wear you down really fast. Even if you greatly enjoy your work, when it consumes most of your time you start to miss out on other things you enjoy, and sometimes, you stop liking your work as much as well.

Unplugging, and we mean really unplugging, can help you get back to enjoying work and enjoying your life. Whether that means turning off your notifications on Friday at 5 and having your weekend to yourself, or going all the way out-of-office with no emails and no phone calls that can be received. Taking the time away isn’t going to end your career or set you years behind, but it will make you more motivated when you return; when you haven’t spent all weekend thinking about problems you need to solve on Monday, the problems are easier to solve because you are approaching them with fresh eyes.

Disconnecting lets you get back to being just you, and giving work you a break; take advantage of that. Let yourself do what you love when you have the time off, so that you can you enjoy your work when you are doing that.