To introduce our exciting new offering for the trades, we’ve brought on Tom “TJ” Hartnett, Director of Coaching and Training at RYNO to To The Point! Tom has decades of experience in the trades, and will be using his coaching and training expertise to spearhead Traxion, RYNO’s new coaching and training service for home service industry businesses.
As a child, TJ wanted to either be a racecar driver like his older brothers or a mechanic like his dad. After high school, he decided to pursue a college education to become an elementary school teacher, but wanted something to fall back on. His dad suggested that he learn a trade, and TJ of course wanted to be a mechanic, but his dad strongly encouraged him to learn something else.
TJ’s next-door neighbor had a heating and cooling company, so 17-year-old TJ went to the service manager to get a foot in the door. He was transparent about knowing absolutely nothing, but promised to show up on time and work harder than anyone else if they would teach him the ropes. That’s the story of how TJ got his start in the trades, beginning as an oil burner apprentice and working his way up over the years. TJ has been just about everything from service tech and installer to working in sales, management, and even owning his own business.
What TJ learned in those years is that he owned a business before he ever had any business owning a business. That’s why he went back to the management side of things, and focused on helping businesses grow. In 2015, he transitioned to full-time coaching and never looked back!
As TJ served in the industry, different things became important to him. One of the key values he gained was wanting to leave a positive impact on the industry that had done so much for him and his family, and to do so in more than just one location. That’s why he fully committed to the coaching and training side of things. He is incredibly passionate about coaching and training, and has put a ton of time into figuring out how to best help businesses grow. Helping others makes him happy!
TJ notes that there are a lot of options for contractors looking for coaching, training, and consulting. What makes TJ unique is pretty simple— there’s only one TJ! What works for one person is not necessarily going to work for another, and one sales trainer’s methods might work wonders for one business and not for the next.
Personality, belief system, past experiences, and goals all matter when you’re considering bringing on a coach. If your coach doesn’t share some of those things, you might find yourself conflicted. Do you change who you believe yourself to be in order to fit that specific coach’s system? TJ believes you should talk to several options, and figure out who you connect with the best that shares your core beliefs and vision, and is willing to be a partner rather than someone who just talks to you once a month.
At the end of the day, having a coach is valuable because it allows you to gain an outside perspective of things. You’re working in your business every single day, and it can be easy to struggle to see a better way when you’re busy just keeping things afloat. TJ himself has had coaches, which is part of why he believes so strongly about it. He knows firsthand the difference a good coach can make!
Not sure if you need coaching? TJ believes the best indicator that you need a coach is that you own a business. He points out that there are two types of leaders. There are those that surround themselves with people just like them, and those who surround themselves with people that compliment them but bring things to the table that they don’t have strengths in. A coach is very similar. Some people may want a coach that thinks just like them, and that’s a perfectly fine strategy if you’re more interested in masterminding things together. Others prefer a coach that challenges them and pushes them to think differently.
No matter which type of leader you are, you’re missing out if you don’t have at least some type of coaching or best practice groups to give you that outside perspective on your business. TJ recommends interviewing coaches to find one that best fits your goals and preferences.
Perhaps you’re an owner who isn’t necessarily looking for coaching for yourself, but you know you have a department that could use it. It could be your sales team, leadership team, or most often, your CSRs. CSRs are the number one profit center in the business, and where the most profit is made or lost.
TJ points out that companies will spend tens of thousands of dollars on marketing and branding to get their name out there and then not adequately train the people answering the phones! If you’re struggling to grow your business, it may not be spending more money on marketing that’s needed—it could just be training your CSRs to maximize the opportunities that ARE there.
When your phone rings or that chat comes through, your CSRs should be handling that conversation in a way that is welcoming, memorable, and that leads the next person in line to be successful. You might be booking a lead, but leaving the homeowner feeling not so great. Wouldn’t you rather book the lead and have a customer who feels confident and comfortable with your company already, giving the technician or comfort advisor a leg up? That way, when you do enter their home, you already have the foundation needed for a fully successful service interaction.
The same goes for every department in your business. Are they maximizing the opportunities they have available? TJ approaches training in a way that will allow for the business to function even when he is removed from the equation.
What got you here won’t get you there. If you’re finding yourself spinning your wheels year after year, doing the same things won’t get you out of the situation. You have to find a different method, and oftentimes we’re not able to see things from a different perspective on our own. It might be coaching and training, an organizational shift, new employees, or some combination of that all, but you have to make a change.
Traxion will be slowly rolled out to a handful of contractors, but will be widely available soon. TJ isn’t someone who just read a book or had flashpan success for a year, he’s been in the industry for many years and knows what it takes to grow a successful home services business. His approach to a genuine relationship and true partnership is what sets his coaching apart, and he is excited to help give back to the trades.
If you’d like to get in touch with TJ, he’s all ears! Email him at [email protected].