Outdoor University:
Teach your Techs to Soar

by Bill Kinnard, President

Every once in a while you come across a program that is a game-changer. Every time I hear our Planning For Profit Workshop described this way, it gives me a sense of thankfulness. It’s always our goal to help contractors with their businesses and, in the process, change lives. When it comes to your role in the leadership process of your company, it’s up to you to lay out the vision and instill it into your team. This can be tough.

Recently I posted the following on the Grandy Facebook page:
The enthusiasm of your customers can never rise higher than the enthusiasm of your employees!

If you really think about this statement and are honest with yourself, you know it’s true. You also may realize that this is a weak spot for you. It is for most contractors. Just like you, your technicians likely got into this business because they like working with their hands and fixing things. If they were masters at paying attention to the needs of the customer, they would likely be in a different field. This can be a challenge. Well, here comes another game changer!

Outdoor University

Instead of leading a program, I had the opportunity to attend a program that truly is a real game-changer called Outdoor University. It was a real treat for me to just attend, observe and participate in this program instead of teaching. I was able to watch lives change in front of me. I was able to watch technicians gain a new appreciation for taking care of the customer, the importance of offering the customer options, selling add-ons and upgrades and becoming fully engaged in what they do. Outdoor University consists of highly focused, two-day sessions for Service Technicians, Installation Technicians, Maintenance Technicians and Managers.

Each session works with the techs and helps them to really understand what their role is within the company. They learn how to take advantage of the credibility that the customer places on their shoulders. You can teach them how to install it or fix it, but Outdoor University will teach them how to do it in a way that will develop the customer experience and create raving fans that are so critical to a company’s referrals and future success.

A Different Kind of Classroom

I have conducted contractor training for almost 30 years, and I have attended more classes and meetings than I can even remember. Even when I am teaching classes, I know I need to be very aware that our students are not normally accustomed to sitting in a classroom every day. As a result, the old adage of “The mind can absorb only what the butt can endure” really kicks in. The walls start closing in and learning stops.

Outdoor University is different. The classroom is outdoors. In fact, it’s around a campfire. Even if you or your guys are not outdoors-loving, camping, fishing, hunting, country-living kind of guys, they will love this setting. The outdoor classroom is so disarming that they can’t help but learn. There was something about being outside around the campfire with the manual in hand and engaging in conversation with other techs that really pulled these guys in. They weren’t just sitting there listening or daydreaming. They were engaging and changing.

Lives Changed

I watched several groups of men go from being the typical “Let’s fix it and get on to the next one,” techs to guys who really understood what it means to care for and provide for the needs of your customers. I watched guys come to the realization that the boss isn’t just out to get rich on the backs of the hard-working tech. That he truly cares and is just trying to do his best to run a company and provide for employees and their families that work for him or her.

The Proof is in the Return Rate

The return rate of contractors who have sent techs to Outdoor University is over 90%. Think about that. Over 90% of companies who have sent a tech to Outdoor University have either sent more techs to subsequent classes or allowed techs to return for another go around. You don’t find that kind of response with a program that is just ok.

The guys may be camping, but they are definitely taken care of. The Outdoor U team provides all the camping accommodations, with one man per each tent. They provide meals that are all homemade and incredible. Even if the guys aren’t campers, they will enjoy this one, and they will come back as a new person, a changed person.

Outdoor U gets your techs thinking about the customer and reminds them that it’s not about them. You will see increased sales, increased add-ons, increased maintenance agreement sales, happier customers and happier techs. You better hurry if you’re considering attending -- sessions are booking now. Classes are only held in the spring and the fall with each session being two days.

I believe in this program and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. Get your techs registered in this program before it fills up. You won’t regret it. It’s a game changer and you’re going to love the new game.

Learn more about Outdoor U. If you have questions, give them a call at 706.888.0815. It’s a unique way to teach your techs to soar.

Bill Kinnard
Grandy & Associates

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