The most important challenge facing HVAC contractors is deciding which group to serve. Sell equipment or comfort?
Equipment buyers typically buy price. Companies that make any money on equipment jobs usually have the lowest costs. If you're a contractor with a real office; new, well-stocked trucks; highly trained, clean-cut people; and a full range of employee benefits, selling equipment in this manner in the 13 SEER world may not be right for you.
Fortunately, when given all the facts, a large number of buyers will gladly pay for superior comfort. The highest comfort comes from benefits only available on top-of-the-line systems and accessories. Selling superior comfort at two or three times entry-level equipment prices requires in-depth understanding of what I call Max-ComfortÂ© selling skills and sales strategy.
What makes sense is helping technicians recognize Max-Comfort sales opportunities that can be referred to the sales team. Training should discuss buying behaviors of Max-Comfort customers and allow techs to identify dissatisfied customers interested in improving their homes and lives with better comfort - regardless the age or operating condition of their current HVAC equipment.
If the comfort consultant has non-sales responsibilities, it's likely the individual won't spend the time necessary to complete an accurate heat load calculation, properly inspect the air distribution system, or help buyers custom-design their ideal comfort system.
Step 1: Discover current discomfort. The first step in the Max-Comfort selling process is simply a conversation with new friends. Smart questions are used to allow buyers to detail their current situation; visualize ultimate comfort, and build desire to invest in Max-Comfort now.
Step 2: Discuss life-enhancing benefits. A Max-Comfort system does much more than keep people warm and cool; it enhances their emotional and physical life. Tell customers how they'll receive peace of mind with superior equipment, installation, and people. Detail unique features their friends will be excited to see. Help them visualize what living in a Max-Comfort home is going to be like.
Step 3: Create desire for Max-Comfort now. Price is the first obstacle to change. Near the end of your presentation, show how estimated energy savings and long-term financing makes Max-Comfort an extremely wise investment.
The buyer's confidence steadily improves as the person sees firsthand the comfort consultant is genuinely working in the buyer's best interest. After giving homeowners an opportunity to buy, expect questions, concerns, and objections. The confidence gained is rapidly lost if the consultant uses manipulation, pressure, or worn-out sales phrases.
The best way to deal with hard questions is to review the buyer's expectations and assure the homeowners they're making a wise, life-enhancing decision. The sale is closed when the Max-Comfort benefits outweigh the price.
The three most important processes to be managed are lead generation, selling price, and closing ratio. Every lead must be tracked by source, cost-per-sale, and percentage of goals met. Average selling price allows management to tell, at a glance, how well Max-Comfort selling is working. Closing ratio reveals the effectiveness of each consultant and indicates which lead generation methods produce the best results.
If you refuse to accept average, don't want to compete with the crowd, and feel you should be rewarded for the value you provide, then Max-Comfort selling is your ticket to an exciting and profitable future.
Steve Howard is president of The ACT Group, Inc. He can be reached at 800-515-0034 or Steve@NoPressureSelling.com.
Publication date: 09/12/2005