Facts Vs. Feelings: Recruiting Technicians

Facts Vs. Feelings: Recruiting Technicians

Guest writer Isaac Rollor highlights the importance of building relationships with your communications at your business in “Facts Vs. Feelings: Recruiting Technicians.”

I do not know the exact source of the statement “Facts don’t care about your feelings” but it’s a statement I have heard many times recently. This statement as I heard it was not applied directly to the heavy equipment industry, but I do feel it warrants some reflection. The heavy equipment industry is really invested in facts. Hard evidence. Data. Not a bad thing. In fact, it is a source of certainty that is lacking in many other industries. Technicians are one of the most factual focused working groups in our industry and rightfully so. To be successful, technicians must focus on facts pertaining to safety, quality of work, billing etc. Facts are important. The problem with facts is that facts alone do not cause someone to act. In my experience emotions cause action. 

My hypothesis. One reason technicians are not entering the heavy equipment workforce at a fast enough rate is because OEM’s and dealers are focused on facts during recruiting and rarely focused on emotion. Industry hardened professionals love facts because these facts have led them to remarkable success. Here is a splendid example, if a technician masters the repair manual’s process of replacing, diagnosing, and repairing a certain OEM’s machines they will be considered successful, receive promotions, and make more money. All they had to do was follow the facts, such as processes, procedures, torque specs etc. and they achieved success. When I speak with technicians who have 20-30 years logged repairing heavy equipment, I like to ask them why they started and stayed in the industry. The answer is usually rooted in emotion. This may be related to their family, or even their own internal desire but it is typically a love of something that moved them to become a technician and eventually become an expert technician, service manager etc. The feeling or emotion motivates someone to come to terms with the facts. 

When I hear recruiters speak to potential technicians and lead off with statics or data and facts about the industry/job I always cringe a little bit. Starting a career or even changing jobs within the industry is a crucial decision for most people. If you dig deep enough, you are highly likely to discover that this decision is rooted in emotion. An OEM or dealer competing for a scarce resource such as technicians should carefully examine the strategy being used to attract and retain top talent. Let’s make a quick comparison of facts-based messaging and feelings-based messaging. How would you respond if you were a capable technician just out of trade school and you were making a career decision based on the following job discussion with a recruiter?

Facts based job discussion:

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians at ABC company typically do the following:

  • Consult equipment operating manuals, blueprints, and drawings.
  • Perform scheduled maintenance, such as cleaning and lubricating parts.
  • Diagnose and identify malfunctions, using computerized tools and equipment.
  • Inspect, repair, and replace defective or worn parts, such as bearings, pistons, and gears.
  • Overhaul and test major components, such as engines, hydraulic systems, and electrical systems
  • Disassemble and reassemble heavy equipment and components.
  • Travel to worksites to repair large equipment, such as cranes.
  • Maintain logs of equipment condition and work performed.

Heavy vehicles and mobile equipment are critical to many industrial activities, including construction and railroad transportation. Several types of equipment, such as tractors, cranes, and bulldozers, are used to haul materials, till land, lift beams, and dig earth to pave the way for development and construction.

Heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians repair and maintain engines, hydraulic systems, transmissions, and electrical systems of agricultural, industrial, construction, and rail equipment. They ensure the performance and safety of fuel lines, brakes, and other systems.

These service technicians use diagnostic computers and equipment to identify problems and make adjustments or repairs. For example, they may use an oscilloscope to observe the signals produced by electronic components. Service technicians also use many different power and machine tools, including pneumatic wrenches, lathes, and welding equipment. A pneumatic tool, such as an impact wrench, is a tool powered by compressed air.

Service technicians also use many different hand tools, such as screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches, to work on small parts and in hard-to-reach areas. They generally purchase these tools over the course of their careers, often investing thousands of dollars in their inventory.

After identifying malfunctioning equipment, service technicians repair, replace, and recalibrate components such as hydraulic pumps and spark plugs. Doing this may involve disassembling and reassembling major equipment or adjusting through an onboard computer program.

Feelings based job discussion:

Many heavy equipment technicians at ABC company report feeling a sense of freedom because they are responsible for their own service truck, tools, and schedule. How would it feel to have control over your own schedule and work experience? Is this something that is important to you?

Notice the difference? Facts based discussion leaves little room for tactical questioning of the candidate. To the contrary a feeling-based discussion can easily omit many of the hard facts and cut directly to the emotional reasoning for being interested in a technician position. The great part about leading with feelings is that facts can still be presented but these facts can now be hand-picked to support the feeling the technician wants to have.

Here is my challenge to you, lead with feelings instead of leading with facts. See how many times you can get your potential technicians to “feel” a certain way about the job. Once the feelings are identified use your facts to support their feelings and allow them to arrive at a career decision that they “feel” most comfortable with. I think the results may surprise you.

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Does your team have a relationship with your product?

Does your team have a relationship with your product?

Does your team have a relationship with your product? If not, don’t you think they should? Guest writer Isaac Rollor brings back the personal side of service with this week’s blog post.

Boeing recently delivered the last 747 aircraft. Boeing coined the name “Queen of these skies” for this plane. It’s a fitting nick name, this plane has allowed millions of people worldwide to fly at an affordable price, assisted NASA missions, humanitarian relief efforts and many more great accomplishments. The final delivery of the last 747 to be produced was a momentous occasion. A national news network streamed the delivery on live TV. It was a legitimate ceremony with flags and speeches and honorable mentions. As I watched this spectacle, I heard another onlooker make a comment “What’s the big deal? It’s just a plane.”

This comment was surprising to me, how could someone not understand how many engineers worked long days to perfect the design of this plane? How could someone not understand the many hours technical troubleshooting teams worked to keep this fleet of planes in the sky? How could someone not realize that there are thousands of aircraft mechanics, pilots, and a legion of support personnel who have a personal relationship with this product?

As I thought more deeply about this impossibly insensitive comment, I realized that some people don’t have relationships with products, most professionals will never have an actual relationship with any product. As a technical trainer for many years, I built relationships with Dozers, Loaders, Excavators and Trucks.  Maybe this sounds silly but I don’t think I am alone in this feeling. I knew the products so well that I could troubleshoot and fix them when it was not operating correctly. I could teach others about the product, I could write articles about these products, I could operate these products and see the results of my machine’s labor at the end of the day. There were many other technical people that I worked with who felt a strong connection to the products our OEM was building. We even identified ourselves as “The dozer guy” The Truck guy” or the “Excavator guy” based on our expertise. Our professional identity was directly related to a product or several products. 

Over the years I have spoken to equipment buyers who told me that their final decision came down to product support and total cost of ownership. I know from experience that the best product support can only be delivered when your team has a relationship with the product you sell. A team whose identity is attached to the success of a product will work tirelessly to see it succeed. Think about this, if your flagship product was being retired from production, what would your team think and say about this?  

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It’s not okay to choose a career in heavy equipment

It’s not okay to choose a career in heavy equipment

Guest writer Isaac Rollor certainly gets our attention this week with his blog post, “It’s not okay to choose a career in heavy equipment.”

Recently out of curiosity I used Indeed.com and searched “Heavy Equipment Mechanic.” For location I specified “USA.” Immediately there were 30,000 opportunities that populated my screen. Pretty amazing. Many of these job postings were urgently hiring. I saw many job openings for technicians at heavy equipment dealers. I recognized these dealer brands and knew that they were great employers who valued their people. This is truly an exciting time to start a career in this industry, there are many open positions providing great pay, great benefits and great opportunities to see things like mine sites, and construction sites that most college age employees would really enjoy. I would have no problem encouraging my children to start a career in heavy equipment and have the same experiences that I have had in this industry. It’s a rewarding career and it’s especially fun when you develop a connection with the machines though repairing or operating equipment. 

As I sat in my own little bubble thinking about how great this career choice would be for a college aged employee, I realized that I may be seeing things differently than most. When I see a job posting for a mechanic at a dealership, I have fond memories of repairing and operating machines. I remember feeling accomplished when a broken piece of equipment was brought back to life and placed back in production. These experiences make it “okay” for me to promote this career as a valid option for anyone. I suddenly realized that for most college aged workers it is “not okay” to choose this career path. Its “not okay” to work outside, its “not okay” to work in a dangerous mine etc.  It is “okay” to pursue 100 other, indoor, office based job titles. Why? Because there is a great deal of social evidence that this is a viable career choice. Parents, relatives, and friends all work downtown in an office, they share stories about their work. They make it “okay” to work in an office.

As a technical college graduate, I remember attending an OEM event where I had the opportunity to operate the machines and speak with other professionals who worked in the industry. I was hooked because not only did I make a connection with the product by operating it I also saw social proof that many other people had made this career choice. At that moment it was “okay” for me to choose this career path over all other alternatives. I walked away from that recruiting event with a group photo, several personal cell phone numbers of professionals I could call with questions and a memory that would forever anchor me to the brand. The event was successful and I became an employee along with several others who attended that day. 

If you observe carefully, you will see that certain industries are making it “okay” for college age workers to choose their industry as a primary career path.

How will you make it “okay” for great talent to join your team?

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Get Scripted

Get Scripted

Guest writer Isaac Rollor walks us through scripted conversations in this week’s blog post: “Get Scripted.”

Think of the last Hollywood action movie you attended. Have you ever noticed what moviegoers say when they walk out of a movie theatre? Typically, they talk about how the movie made them feel or reenact their favorite scenes Have you ever heard moviegoers say that the movie wasn’t any good because all the actors were “using a script”? Probably not. A great script is a key component of a great movie.  

Here is something most people don’t think about, as a consumer you are part of scripted conversations and interactions more often than you may realize. Have you ever dialed 911? I can guarantee the 911 dispatcher was reading questions from a script. Did you order the special from your favorite restaurant based on the waitress’s wonderful description?  Your waitress used a script that was powerful enough for you to abandon your usual choice and upgrade your dinner to something that you have never experienced. Here is my point. A script is a tool that once mastered can allow the user to experience powerful and repeatable results. The best part about mastering a script is that if you don’t tell customers that you are using a script they probably will never know. 

My first experience with scripting came from my work as a technical training instructor and course developer. I am grateful to have spent a great deal of time with some excellent course creators. I quickly learned that the best course creators were masters of scripting. During my first few years as a mechanic, I never thought about the painstaking work that went into creating the diagnostic and troubleshooting information I was referencing in the OEM’s service manual, and technical training videos. I never realized that technical trainers and course creators spent weeks or even months creating scripts related to print, video and instructor led training content for product launches and other important initiatives. It wasn’t until I was hunched over a keyboard typing the process for reprogramming a controller or replacing a component that I fully realized the power of the words used to guide thousands of service technicians through a complicated process. When service personnel are troubleshooting components or replacing warranty items, they are executing a script. The wrong choice of words can easily create confusion and frustration for service and technical personnel, resulting in inefficiency and additional costs. The best technical trainers and course developers always tested their instructor led commentary, video content and technical writings on a pilot group before publishing. Typically, this pilot group was comprised of master technicians or fellow trainers who could help provide expert consulting on how best to make alterations, edits or improvements.  Not only does this pilot process provide mastery of the script but it also confirms that the word choices and patterns achieve the desired result. 

If you are in sales your mastery of scripted responses to known objections can provide a noticeable advantage. A clear, concise description of the highly technical product or service you are selling will certainly allow your buyer to better understand the unique advantages of your product. An effective selling script should be delivered in a way that feels organic and natural to both the seller and the buyer. A product demonstration is a perfect example of how a script can be implemented in construction equipment sales. A well-choreographed and scripted product demonstration can provide undeniable evidence of your products superiority in comparison against the competition. Maybe you are reading this blog right now and agree that a script can be implemented in sales and training but you feel that your area of expertise or job function cannot be contained within a script? I would encourage you to think about the high frequency tasks you complete and the conversations that you have in relation to these tasks. Do you provide a monthly presentation on the same topic? Do you type a weekly report? Do you wish your team was all on the same page after your morning meetings? If you answered yes to any of these questions then a script will most likely provide you with an efficiency boost. Here are a few things to keep in mind while creating your script. Think about what you are already saying. Write down verbatim the words that you find to be most effective. When writing the first version of your script don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or capitalization, simply write the words in the best possible order and complete a beta version of your script.  Once version 1.0 is complete, read it aloud and see how it sounds. If you are moderately happy with version 1.0 then make any corrections or adjustments needed for punctuation and rename your script version 2.0. Find a peer to review version 2.0 of your script, only allow them to read it or listen to your presentation of the script one time. Once they have consumed the content, ask them for feedback and be specific with your questions. This will allow you learn if the words and word patterns you chose were effective or still need work. Take the feedback you receive and adjust the script then rename it version 3.0. Once you have renamed to version 3.0, its time to master your script. Don’t be alarmed. Mastering your script doesn’t mean you can recite it blindfolded but it does mean that you can recite key sentences of the script within a moment’s notice. The best way I have found to master a script is to record yourself reading the script and then listen to your recorded voice after each reading. When you have mastery over your script you will be amazed at how you can command a room during a sales presentation or quickly get everyone on the same page during a monthly meeting. Your confidence and process will actually help you feel comfortable or maybe even enjoy interactions that were formerly dreaded due to a lack of process and a struggle to communicate effectively.

Here is my challenge for you: pick one interaction in your work life that could be smoother if you created a script. Follow the simple steps provided for creating your script. Once you feel you have mastered your script, execute the script and take notice of the results you achieve. Don’t be afraid to keep editing your script after version 3.0, remember that the words you choose are important to the success of your script.

Need some extra guidance on scripting or want to share a success story involving one of your scripts? Please reach out to me: https://www.linkedin.com/in/isaac-rollor-335b6876/ 

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Are You Unleashed?

Are You Unleashed?

Learning Without Scars is pleased to introduce our new guest writer, Isaac Rollor. For his first post, he is asking, “are you unleashed?” 

Isaac Rollor is a lifelong gearhead, mechanic, and training content creator/instructor. Isaac got started in the heavy equipment business as a mechanic maintaining and repairing his father’s equipment fleet and eventually received formal training in the Diesel Equipment Technology Program at Chattahoochee Technical College in Acworth Georgia. Isaac’s enthusiasm for lifelong learning led him to complete his MBA at Reinhardt University in Waleska Georgia. 

Isaac has enjoyed many technical roles over the course of his career, most notably as the Automotive Program Technical Instructor at Chattahoochee Technical College, Corporate Technical Trainer with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and Technical Instructor/Developer (Dozers) while working with Komatsu America.

Isaac also has extensive experience in sales, holding the title of Sales Instructor/Developer, District Manager and National Account Manager with Komatsu America. Today Isaac works with Forrest Performance Group and specializes in sales training and sales recruiting. 

Isaac enjoys writing articles, developing training course content, and appearing at public speaking events. Isaac is actively involved in educating and recruiting high school and college age students to pursue careers with OEM’s and heavy equipment dealers. 

You can contact Isaac directly by connecting with him on Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/isaac-rollor-335b6876/

If you would like to learn more about sales training and sales recruiting, please visit: https://www.fpg.com/ 

Early in my career I realized that some inexperienced salespeople with entry-level subject matter knowledge were having more success than other highly experienced and highly knowledgeable salespeople in the industry. What I was witnessing is a phenomenon that is often flatly overlooked or described as “beginners’ luck” without any further investigation or question. Maybe you have noticed something like this?  This phenomenon is most visible in sales but exists in all professions to some extent. We have all seen salespeople who have worked in the industry for decades and they are not closing sales. We have also watched brand new salespeople who are in the president’s club 3 months after they start selling. This new salesperson didn’t make the presidents club because of their huge knowledge base, meanwhile the veteran is struggling to meet sales targets despite having a deep knowledge of the industry and an intimate knowledge the product they are supposed to be selling. 

In education we are told to believe that someone’s performance should be equal to their knowledge base. I started to question this paradigm while I was developing product sales training content for North American sales teams. At this time my mission was to develop cutting edge product sales training content and deliver this content to salespeople through web based and instructor led training. This is exactly what I did. The training content was excellent by all standards, and I successfully delivered hundreds of training offerings that received excellent reviews. I focused all my attention towards ensuring that the North American sales team had access to all the knowledge required to educate customers and help them make a purchasing decision. My efforts were successful, and salespeople soon had all the knowledge they could possibly desire at their fingertips. I felt that our training group had finally evened the playing field for all salespeople within the organization, and I was certain that massive increases in sales market share would be the result of these efforts. 

I soon witnessed something very interesting. Some sales teams flourished with access to this increased knowledge and some sales teams saw no noticeable difference. This was concerning to me. How can two groups be exposed to the exact same resources but have completely different results? This question caused me to read many books and download many podcasts related to developing successful training programs. I soon learned that even the so called “experts” in sales training were slow to guarantee any results from the training experiences they provided.  It was at this time that I stumbled across a book written by Jason Forrest called WTF: Why Training Fails. This book acknowledged something profound “164.2 billion is spent annually on training in North America, yet 70% of this training fails to produce ROI. “

I was shocked by this. Even more shocking was that the WTF book even promoted a trademarked performance formula: Performance=Knowledge-Leashes

 As described in WTF, a “leash” is the limiting beliefs that prevent us from acting on our knowledge. Basically a “leash” is an arbitrary rule or reluctance that salespeople have created because of past experiences and programming. Here are some examples of rules that you may hear salespeople verbalize: “You must make a friend before you make a sale” or “you must always ask for the sale in person” or even, “you can’t sell our products over a zoom video call it just won’t work”.

These are all examples of rules that will limit the success of a salesperson. The more rules a salesperson creates the harder it is to overcome those rules and make a sale. I came to the difficult realization that the training I had developed was based completely on knowledge and did not in any way remove the leashes or previous programming of the salespeople who consumed the content. 

This realization prompted me to start researching how salespeople can overcome and sell through leashes. I discovered that everyone has leashes to some extent and to overcome a leash requires continued training and coaching. A salespersons leash must first be identified then a coaching program must be created that allows the salesperson to overcome and sell through the leash, essentially reprogramming the salespersons brain to think differently.

If you want your child to excel in sports, do you just drop them off at the sports complex, let them participate without any formal instruction and then pick them up a few hours later? Or do you hire the best coach and get involved? The answer is obvious, but our industry rarely applies this same thinking to professional selling. It is common to see sales reps with multi-million-dollar territories who have never received a selling script, and never been trained or coached on a selling process. A common practice is to condense sales training into a short period. This allows the salesperson to rapidly complete sales training, frame a nice certificate, and get right to work. This scenario sounds great to most sales managers and has become the industry norm. 

Would you board an airplane if you knew the pilot skipped flight school and only attended a two-day seminar? I suspect not. Your customers feel the same way when they are making purchasing decisions. 

I would urge you to think about your company’s existing sales training. Is this training focused solely on knowledge? What leashes might the sales team have adopted that currently limits their success? How often is the sales team receiving coaching that will help them overcome existing leashes? Is the sales team being continually coached and held accountable to a script or a proven process pattern or strategy?

When salespeople are trained and coached, they will perform at the top of their game, win market share, impress your buyer, and provide a massive ROI. 

If you would like to learn more about the WTF book please visit: https://shopfpg.com/product/wtf-why-training-fails Forrest, J. (2017). Why Training Fails. MJS Press. 

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