Greg Wells is Director of Sales at Williams Comfort Air, a thriving heating, cooling and plumbing company headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, with two additional locations in Cincinnati, OH, and Louisville, KY. Prior to joining the Pearl Contractor Network, the Williams team struggled to compete in the “race to the bottom” pricing environment that many contractors face. They knew if they wanted to reach their business goals, they needed to differentiate themselves in the market and change the conversation at the kitchen table. Once they began integrating Pearl into their business process, these issues naturally faded, making way for the well-deserved unrivaled growth and success for this team of top-notch contracting professionals.
In an industry where winning contracts often comes down to price, getting caught in the “race to the bottom” is all too common. But when you’re a high-quality contractor committed to providing only the best service possible, competing on price alone is a losing game. “We’ve always struggled with communicating our value and justifying our higher prices,” Wells said. “Many customers are searching for the cheapest price out there—and while we know our work is much higher quality and well worth the price, it can be difficult to convey that with authority when you’re talking about your own company,” he added.
Williams’ team also found it especially difficult to convince customers who were planning to sell their home in the near future that the high-quality, energy-efficient improvements they would make to their home were worth the investment. No matter how hard they tried, ultimately, they often wound up competing solely on price. “That was a battle we couldn’t (and didn’t want to) win,” Wells said.
The Power of the Pearl Product
Williams Comfort Air joined the Pearl Contractor Network in the fall of 2019. Since then they’ve been increasingly integrating Pearl into their entire business process—from marketing to sales to customer service. “The more we use Pearl, the more results we see for our business,” Wells said.
For example, the Williams team worked with Pearl to automate all their reports. Williams was already using ServiceTitan software for their business operations, so Pearl’s team helped them identify what they needed to integrate and automate with Pearl’s certification process. “Because we did this in the beginning, there’s very little we have to do on our end to produce the certifications now—so we get maximum benefit for minimal work,” Wells said. “For a company that prioritizes efficiency, this is a huge win,” he added.
Additionally, Wells explains, “One of the best things we did to set ourselves up for success was deciding to include Pearl Certifications with every job we complete.” This approach increased efficiencies and effectiveness even more because Pearl became an integral part of their business process right away.
Winning Conversations, Winning Deals
Perhaps the biggest game-changer of all has been the way integrating Pearl into Williams’ marketing, sales, and service processes has helped transform the conversation with customers—from one focused solely on price to communicating value.
How did they do it? According to Wells, the key is to look at the entire customer journey. Rather than waiting until the salesperson is sitting at the customer’s kitchen table, Williams introduces the topic of Pearl Certification to their customers every chance they get.
“We try to do whatever we can to prompt the discussion of Pearl early on—from the Pearl landing page on our website, to when our call center staff talks to new leads, to adding an “Ask me about Pearl” line to the standard text messages we send out before every sales person goes out to a home.”
This approach not only primes the customer for a conversation about Pearl, it also makes it easier for the entire Williams team to shift from talking about price to talking about quality and value. “It’s been a huge benefit for our team when having those kitchen-table conversations with clients,” Wells said.
One of the biggest reasons Williams Comfort joined Pearl was that it just made good financial sense. “It was many things, but ultimately it was the math,” Wells said. In looking at the numbers, Wells’ team estimated Pearl would increase their close rate by at least 3 percent or more – and that was a very conservative estimate, he explained.
Additionally, they knew Pearl would help them increase leads and sales opportunities overall, so the cost-benefit analysis was a bit of a no-brainer. “It was a major investment, but we knew it would pay for itself eventually,” Wells said. And that prediction is already coming true.
“Pearl is a huge market differentiator for us—something we can offer to demonstrate why it’s worth the investment to go with us over the other guys,” Wells said.
Pearl helps communicate this value in many ways. In cases where customers are planning to sell or refinance, Pearl provides proof that the energy efficient improvements Williams makes will increase the value of their home.
Pearl also helps Williams differentiate itself in terms of quality. “Being able to tell customers we’re a member of Pearl’s elite Contractor Network speaks volumes because rather than asking them to take our word for it, we have an outside, third-party that says it for us,” Wells said.
As a result, Pearl gives homeowners the additional reassurance they need to feel good about hiring Williams Comfort over the low-priced (and low-quality) competition. “That increased level of customers’ trust and understanding of the value we provide is priceless,” Wells explained.
And yet one of the most important benefits they get from Pearl was both unanticipated and difficult to quantify: the powerful support of Pearl’s people. “Working with Pearl has been a great experience for us. They’ve continuously gone above and beyond our expectations and have proven to be an invaluable partner for our business,” Wells said.
Given the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one can say with certainty what tomorrow will bring. However, despite these difficult times, Williams Comfort is still a thriving company with an optimistic outlook for the future, including their long-term focus on growth and expansion to new markets.
Additionally, Williams is adapting to these challenging times by exploring other ways to grow their business and brand. “We have a lot of opportunities to grow within our current market and existing client base, so the next year or so will be focused on maximizing those opportunities and getting back to some kind of normalcy. Then over the next couple of years we will start looking at new opportunities for growth,” he said.
Whatever the future may bring, there’s one thing Wells does know for certain: “We’re going to be with Pearl for the long-term. Our company has ambitious growth goals, and Pearl will help us reach them. Our business strategy is focused on building our brand, differentiating ourselves in the market, demonstrating our value, and creating a consistent customer experience. And Pearl is one of the easiest and best ways for us to do all those things,” he said.
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