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Cracking the Code on the Human Connection

HTSA looks to helps their members grow by teaching the science of the sale.

If I had to sum up the HTSA Spring Conference in a single word (which I know is an ironic way to start off a near 700-word summary of the event), it would be “connection.” Certainly there were lots of connections to be had on-site at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort in Chandler, AZ — connections occurred across three days between HTSA members, the event’s sponsoring vendors, and the group’s leadership, but the theme went beyond networking and sharing ideas.

The occasion was used to formerly welcome Keith Esterly, chief learning architect, to the group and to introduce him to members and partners. In his introduction to the event, HTSA executive director Jon Robbins said the association was looking into how to help their members continue to grow, even with the concerns over the future of the housing market and economy. The solution came in the form of psychographics, which is the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria, especially in market research.

Related: HTSA Hires Keith Esterly To Spearhead Training And Education

“Dealers have lost of the science of the sale,” said Robbins. “We are really good specifiers, but Keith will be cracking the code on the human connection.”

The connections whose “codes will be cracked” applies to trade partners such as builders, designers, and architects; client representatives; and individual clients. According to Robbins, the HTSA is the first group to address this problem by brining on its own expert in Esterly.

Keith Esterly delivers his “Zooming in on Influence” presentation at the HTSA Spring Conference.

Esterly provided a taste of what he is bringing to the association and its members with a presentation named “Zooming in on Influence,” where he covered the “6 Shortcuts to Yes” from persuasion scientist Robert B. Cialdini’s book, Influence.

The key to the 6 Shortcuts, according to Esterly, “is ethical influence — getting a yes without changing a thing about your service or offer. We use these skills not to trick people, but to get us to help them reach their success.”

The 6 Shortcuts are:

  • Reciprocity – Creating a win/win situation
  • Scarcity – The less there is, the more it is wanted
  • Authority – Customers want to follow people who know what they are doing
  • Consistency – Be consistent with the statements we’ve made
  • Liking – People work with the people they like
  • Consensus – Clients like to see what everyone else is doing before they make a decision

Esterly went over each Shortcut in great detail, using his experience to tie each one directly to the custom installers and managers in the room. He also mentioned two other key areas from Influence: Moments of Power and Agents of Influence.

“Moments of Power occur in an interaction where an opportunity to leverage influence exists,” said Esterly. “Sometimes they just happen and you have to lunge at them, and other times you make them happen. A ‘thank you’ is a huge Moment of Power. What they are telling you is they want to be partners with you. The true response is not, ‘We do this for everyone,’ but ‘You are welcome. This is how we treat partners.’”

Even in an error there can be a Moment of Power. “Claim a strength after admitting a weakness,” said Esterly. “After a ‘no,’ we need to be prepared to make concessions. Retreat in the conversation, not from the conversation.”

As for Agents of Influence, Esterly explained how they notice Moments of Power, can create them when they don’t arise, and act on them to everyone’s benefit.

“We are all Agents of Influence,” he said.

On the technology side, the association who championed lighting as a big profit center for integrators now have 55 members who are ALA Lighting Specialists, with 34 members having gone through ALA Level II Master Class training.

Related: Follow the Light — A practical guide to adding lighting to your offered services. By Tom Doherty

With lighting firmly established for HTSA members, they are looking toward what’s next. According to Tom Doherty, director of new technology initiatives, group leadership is looking to energy management and storing power as the next big growth area, along with health and wellness.

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