Why New Behaviors Don’t Last



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There are 4 pieces to lasting behavioral change.

1. Expectation drives the behavioral change.
2. The new behavior gradually changes ones identity.
3. The new identity sets a new standard for performance.
4. Measuring behavior facilitates that the behavior happens.

Let me give you an example in the HVAC world. The first step in the sales process is selling an appointment for free. It’s a qualifier. If a person is willing to schedule a day and time to sit down and talk about replacing his or her system wth a new one, he/she is a prospect worth seeing. We have just sold an appointment. Without an appointment no sale happens.

When a technician asks a customer if the office could give them a call about setting up an appointment, the technician is simply building a prospecting list for someone to make warm calls to. This is an activity that can produce appointments and I have no problem with it.

However, people are willing to set appointments while the technician is in the home if we simply teach the technician this simple behavioral change, which is to ask the question.

This one simple behavioral change in a company with four or five technicians is usually worth about $500,000 to $700,000 per year in additional replacement revenue and much of this replacement revenue happens during the slow times when we are doing service agreements and losing money.

How to make this happen

Establish the boundary and set the expectation. Simply set the rule in place and communicate it to the team. Then you have to hire someone like me to teach the guys how to ask for what they want. The training is a process built on the concept of incremental change over time supported by repetition through practice, reinforcement and coaching. My job is to teach this new behavioral skill but it’s your job as leader of the team to set the standard.

The new behavior among the team members begins to form a new identity with the technicians who grow first. Weekly online coaching sessions, where we focus on the success of the new behavior, begins to form a new identity with the technicians who don’t get it yet, and they learn from the ones who have already formed the new identity.

However, we must always have a system of accountability that measures and ensures that the new behavior happens. It is a simple spreadsheet that measures how many appointments a tech sets vs. how many leads he turns into the office. This is the same reason Weight Watchers works. The weekly weigh-ins help to ensure that the behavior happens through the week.

Accountability always leads us back to the expectation. I can assure you that when the accountability process is neglected, behavior tends to seek out its old self.

I have a client who I have worked with for about three years and he took a break from the weekly meetings and lost his focus. The technicians’ average ticket has sagged back to the old level. They measure results and have a beautiful spread sheet but they don’t look at it anymore. I noticed average tickets were lower because I am part of a GroupMe text and could see a pattern based on repair coded. In other words, we had a lot of quick fix repairs vs’ quick fix repairs + add on tasks that would prevent future problems.

I’ll be doing virtual ride alongs with each technician starting next week and then we’ll have a group coaching session with the technicians in about two weeks and I bet we get the average ticket back up to where it was last summer. This will mean an extra $25,000 in revenue based on 400 service calls.

What’s the bottom line?

Ongoing training supported by repetition and reinforced by coaching and accountability ensures that the expectation is achieved. When you stop the process the results suffer. All great athletes have coaches. Why do we think our team does not need one after they grow and achieve results?

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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