Don’t Look At The Trees Because You’ll Run Into Them If You Do



I was reminded the other day about this quote from Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.


Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What do I want?
  2. Am I making progress?
  3. If I’m not making progress, what can I change or do different? Who can I talk to for help? What book can I read to get some wisdom, knowledge, or understanding about my situation?

When I teach and coach clients, I ask them if they are getting their desired outcome, why change?  Keep doing what you are doing if it’s working.  The challenge that most have is it’s hard for them to formulate what they want.  The default mindset is verbalizing what they don’t want.

Thinking about, talking about, and dwelling upon that which you don’t want will help bring it into reality.  The Law of Cognition tells us that we become what we think about, and we think about what we are most exposed to.  Decide what you want and read about others that have already achieved it.

I like to ski at Wolf Creek Pass because it has a lot of glade skiing.  The trees are not too close, but close enough together to be a challenge for me.  If I look at the trees, I can’t get through them.  I tense up, fall, and feel paralyzed with fear.  However, if I look and focus my eyes on where I want to go, I relax and ski down with no problems.  Even though the trees are there, I do not ski into them because I put something else in my mind. That something else is the clear areas ahead.  I see them, focus on them, and my unconscious mind does the rest.  The trees are still there; I do not look at them.

The lesson here is to focus on what you want.  I want to ski through the clear areas, so I look at them.  As I make turns, I am honing-in on the clear path ahead. Race car drivers are the same.  When they spin, they look at the infield so they have a higher probability of going there as apposed to hitting the wall.  If they focus on the wall, that’s where they’ll wind up.

Things get better in business if you look at them by measuring results. So what should you measure? Salespeople should always know their conversion rate and average order. It’s also a good idea to measure technician leads separate because that conversion rate should be very high (70%). Most HVAC companies don’t have a clue about what these numbers mean.

Should technicians sell systems or set appointments?  Well, that depends on what the technician’s average ticket and conversion rate on sales presentations is. Most of the time, we don’t measure any of this and really don’t even know when a tech presents a system.

So what results should we measure with technicians?  We should measure conversion rate, or the percentage of time they get a repair in addition to just a diagnostic. We should also measure average ticket.  And we don’t want this to be too high with an HVAC tech.  Why? It could be an indication that we are fixing things that could be replaced. We should also measure conversion rate on service agreement sales. I also like to measure something I call acuity rate.  This is the percentage of the time that a technician sets an appointment for a replacement system as apposed to repairing it.

You’ll be amazed at the number of customers and clients who are willing to replace an old system when they really don’t need too.  But then that begs another question: Should we sell systems to people who don’t need them? Hint: how many pairs of shoes does your wife have?

The bottom line for business is to know where you want to go, measure results, and be flexible to change when results are not achieved. Remember, there is no failure, only feedback.  Are you providing a safe environment for your employee’s to get it wrong?

Coach Chandler always encouraged me not to focus on the turnovers that I had, but to focus on the assists.  I was really good at finding an open teammate who could get a good shot and make the basket.  I also had the most turnovers, but he praised me for the assists.  If he had scolded me for all the turnovers, I would have shut down and not risked the throws, and we would have lost some games.

Facilitate a safe environment for people to allow negative feedback to facilitate their growth. Praise in public and admonish in private. Remove things gently from others as you coach them. Treat them with kindness and patience, but hold them accountable to the numbers.  Expect that they will make mistakes but also expect that they will make reasonable progress in reasonable time.  After all, this is a business and we must make a profit.








About the author, Roger Daviston

Roger Daviston is a personal growth consultant who gets measurable results. He facilitates and encourages individuals to change behavior and make different choices to achieve better outcomes.

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