To the Point Home Services Podcast

The Home Services Podcast That Gives Back

Episode 40: Raw Contractor Consulting with Real Results

October 20, 2020

Episode 40: Raw Contractor Consulting with Real Results

With over two decades of consulting success, Frank Besednjak has helped thousands of both small and giant businesses including Lennox, Carrier, ACCA, and many HVAC contractors with his real, raw approach to changing the way you do business. From dealing with team motivation issues to reimagining how you structure your company with systems, processes, and motivation to grow, Frank utilizes unique techniques to make your business the best it can be.

Born in a refugee camp in Salerno, Italy, Frank and his family moved to the United States when he was still a small child. Later in life, Frank accepted a position as a service manager at RCA in a union setting. The position had been experiencing extremely high turnover, with more than 11 managers in the past three years. Under the leadership of Frank, his shop went from the second-worst performing in the county out of 138 locations to #2 in the country. After GE took over for RCA, he was promoted to lead the GE Consumer Service Division in Cleveland. Finally, Frank was promoted to oversee GE’s Appliances Service, Training, and Technical Support division globally, locating to Louisville where he still resides today.

After years of success, special recognition, and many awards and achievements, Frank set out to work for himself and help other businesses find greater success.

Service Manager to Master Consultant

Frank’s first customer was Sears, who wanted to change the way they did business with people and how they did their job in the field. Frank developed a training program that Sears implemented for their field service technicians across the country. He eventually started doing speaking engagements for small and large businesses around the country. Carrier even hired him to develop a customer service program that they implemented across the country. Now, Frank is well-known for his personal coaching, workshops, software programs and business tune-ups.

What you’ll quickly learn about Frank is that he isn’t your typical consultant. He isn’t a sales guy, he’s an operations guy. He’s a service and people guy. When he goes into a company to consult, he isn’t carrying a handbook, he’s looking at what you’re doing, what you’re doing wrong, and what he can do to help. His plan of action isn’t some one-size-fits-all strategy he gives to every company. Frank custom designs his advice based on the unique needs of each client, and ensures that his plan is going to have the ability to integrate into a businesses’ existing culture. As Frank points out, it’s not his business—it’s your business! You should have the autonomy to things your way, but Frank will help things go smoothly.

Common Problems for Business

Frank works with everyone from one-man operations to some of the largest service companies in North America. He’s in touch with the unique workforce environment of today, something that eludes many business owners. There are unique skills and needs in the modern workforce, and this results in some common issues that Frank discovers regardless of the size of a company.

Motivation

It’s not uncommon to see leadership struggling to get employees to care about things like upselling and working harder. The fact is, people aren’t going to do anything unless they see there’s some value in it for them. Oftentimes, employees don’t really care, and don’t have any reason to want to do more for the company. It’s a matter of culture, structure, incentives, and understanding the needs of people today. The whole world is changing, from the way we go to work and shop to what people expect from a company or an employer.

It’s important to recognize that you can’t train someone to do something that they already know how to do if they simply don’t want to do it. It’s not always a knowledge issue, or a training issue, it’s a motivation issue. There need to be incentives, and systems and processes in place to encourage and reward action. Otherwise you’re going to just keep spinning your wheels wishing your employees cared as much as you do!

Path for Growth

So, how can we incentivize employees if employment isn’t enough of a motivator? First of all, there needs to be a clear future and a way to move up in the company. Frank often encourages his clients to set up “levels” of employees. For example, instead of just “installer”, you could have Apprentice Installer, Junior Installer, Senior Installer, Master Installer, and so forth. You can implement this strategy with your technicians, CSR representatives, and every other division in your business. With each specific level, there should be a pay grade increase, or some other incentive that will give employees something to work towards. That way there’s a clear path to growth. Then, you need to set up guidelines and prerequisites to get there. What do they need to do to earn their new status? It should be clear how to achieve the next step, and a process should be set in place so there’s no confusion about it. At the same time, the employer has to provide the means and methods for employees to learn more and have a good change at moving up and achieving those prerequisites. If you aren’t supporting your employees in their growth, this strategy is going to fall flat.

Systems and Processes

When it comes to systems and process, Frank is on the same page as many of our previous guests. You have to leave nothing to chance, and have a system in place for everything. Each process in your business should be planned out, from getting a customer to the first call, first service, customer retention, and beyond. You need systems and processes for everything.

You also can’t really hold your team accountable if there aren’t guidelines and rules for behavior, and systems and processes for how things should be done. Expecting your employees to follow some unwritten rules that only you know isn’t going to breed success!

Modernizing the HVAC Industry

A testament to Frank’s unique insights is how he views the HVAC industry today. From his decades of experience, he offers up some great points about two areas that the trades simply isn’t capitalizing the way we should be.

Sales

As he looks at the typical customer and their shopping trends, as well as the trends in global markets and economies, Frank sees the HVAC industry lagging behind. Everything is moving online, and we are still forcing our technicians to be the spearhead of our sales. Frank points out that people don’t want to buy from people who are selling things! We should be evolving our sales strategies to accommodate the trends and needs of the consumer, and we’re not.

The greatest strength that contractors have is that they’re able to fix, and troubleshoot, and make recommendations to help people become safe, comfortable, and save energy. Technicians should certainly have some degree of sales experience, but people don’t want to just hear a pitch. Customers will buy from people who respond to their need to be comfortable, so our focus should be on creating a system and process for meeting the customer’s needs no matter what they are instead of pushing sales.

Marketing

The service industry is still operating like they work for the manufactures. They aren’t! The contractor of the future should be working on marketing themselves, not marketing products. Of course, many contractors are loyal to manufacturers and proudly display patches and vehicle wraps with manufacturer logos. The HVAC industry is the only place where you still see a focus on the products and not marketing the brand. Frank envisions a future for the HVAC industry where companies are focused on marketing their brand and not the products they offer.

Get in Touch With Frank for Growth

Frank is dedicated to helping business grow, and if you think he can help you do just that we encourage you to reach out! If he can’t help you, he’s always ready to recommend someone who can. Get in touch with Frank by emailing for business advice or learn more about his services by visiting his website.

Exclusive Gift for To The Point Listeners!

Frank is giving away free seats to a 3-hour leadership webinar on December 3rd! Interactive seats are limited to 100 people, but there are plenty of additional slots to watch the webinar live. Register for Frank’s leadership webinar and use the code “PODCAST2020”. If you’re one of the first 30 spots, you’ll get in completely free. Even if you don’t get in the first 30 spots, Frank still has your back. Enter the code “FRANK2020” for 50% off the first 100 viewing slots available. Both coupons require advanced registration and expire on November 15th, so get your spot now!