The Secret to Selling Comfort

September 18, 2006
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Higher equipment costs and less buyer disposable income are pulling HVAC contractors into a low-price swamp in record numbers. As contractors with poor sales skills scramble to sell cold air at the lowest price, consumers who want to be comfortable are being underserved and undersold. This supply and demand imbalance creates an amazing opportunity for contractors willing to change what they sell and how they sell it.

SELL COMFORT FOR PEOPLE

Most contractors sell heating and cooling for houses because they don't know how to sell comfort for people. Comfort is one quarter each product, service, experience and expectations. Total comfort can't be sold using low price and logic, it requires emotional selling that builds desire and eliminates fear.

Emotional selling starts at the kitchen table, not the equipment. The focus isn't on mechanical things, it's on people and their comfort-related problems. The emphasis isn't on features and functions, it's on the physical and emotional feelings of each family member.

DISCOVER YOUR CUSTOMER THROUGH QUESTIONS

Desire is a strong want fueled by emotions.

Because buying a replacement comfort system is an infrequent, unplanned, technical purchase, most buyers don't know what they want. Helping people discover their wants, then transforming wants into desires is the secret to selling comfort.

Uncover opportunities with logical questions. Never tell when you can ask. Logical questions put buyers at ease and help you discover life-enhancing opportunities: "Does anyone in your family suffer from airborne allergens or asthma?"

Most comfort consultants miss a huge opportunity to build desire because they rush to the next question on their list instead of pausing to ask emotional questions that arise from logical answers.

Increase desire with emotional questions. Questions are more emotionally powerful than statements. Spontaneous emotional questions build desire and skyrocket sales. Smart spontaneous questions focus on who is affected. Then, when, why, where, and how are they affected?

"What time of year are Johnny's allergies to pollen the worst? ... Do his allergies affect the way he sleeps, or his school work or study habits?"

Once buyers discover how comfort problems directly affect their family's health, safety, and welfare, most of them realize they must have much more than the low-cost solution.

Eliminate objections with priority questions. Each unwanted feature is a potential objection.

Most objections can be eliminated when you allow buyers to prioritize their wants, needs, and desires. Albert Einstein said, "My talent lies in my ability to ask very simple, yet very powerful questions like, ‘What if ... ?' "

"If we could significantly reduce the airborne pollen in your home that is affecting Johnny's allergies, would that be a high, medium, or low priority?"

Buyers' high and medium priorities are sign posts that direct your emotional presentations to profitable conclusions.

STIMULATE DESIRE

People don't measure comfort, they experience it. The more you help buyers see themselves using and enjoying their new comfort system, the larger, more likely, and profitable the sale. Emotional selling isn't done by telling. Words tell - word pictures sell. Visual images shortcut the learning process and create irresistible emotional feelings. Look at your sales literature, the front page probably shows people in a warm emotional situation, not a cut away of an air conditioner. A properly designed presentation guide helps you paint mental pictures and helps buyers see themselves enjoying premium comfort long into the future.

"Because Johnny's allergies are worse in spring and fall when your comfort system runs the least, let me show you the variable-speed fan and how it continuously filters the air for pennies per day."

Your customer can never be more enthusiastic or excited about comfort than you are. Before addressing each priority, get both you and the buyer fired-up and emotionally charged by using phrases like: "This is exciting" - "You're going to love this" - "This is one of my favorite parts."

ELIMINATE FEAR

FEAR: Future Events Appearing Real. Fear is an unpleasant feeling of real or imagined risk. If unchecked, it overshadows desires and kills sales. The key to eliminating fear is eliminating risk. The risks every buyer experiences consciously or subconsciously are:

  • Physical risk - Will my family and home be safe?

  • Functional risk - How reliable is the company and the products they offer?

  • Monetary risk - Will higher energy savings really pay for higher comfort?

  • Social Risk - Is this the Edsel of air conditioning?

  • Psychological risk - Will I regret it?

    A properly designed presentation manual makes addressing potential risks easy and eliminating fears a snap. Your competition doesn't have a chance when you eliminate more fears than they do.

    ATTAIN AGREEMENT

    It's not overpriced, it's under-desired.

    Most objections are money objections. The price buyers are willing to pay is determined by desire, not money. Priorities are more important than price. Aristotle gave us the key to closing comfort sales 2,400 years ago when he said, "The fool tells me his reasons, the wise man persuades me with my own."

    "You said reducing Johnny's allergy symptoms is a top priority ... That's why we've included the best air purification system available ... the price reflects all the benefits you wanted."

    When you give buyers an opportunity to review their priorities - they will either buy or tell you why not. If, after reviewing their priorities and financing - price is still too high, consider removing benefits to reduce price.

    "You could reduce the price $900 by going with a standard-speed fan. ... It would still filter air in spring and fall ... however, due to its higher speed, the filter wouldn't be as quiet ... and would cost about $35 a month more to run."

    People buy comfort to feel good, both physically and emotionally. Fortunately for you, less than 20 percent of your competitors understand how to offer emotional comfort and less than 10 percent do it consistently. When emotional comfort is high, people will either find the money or spend less in other areas to enjoy the premium comfort they've helped themselves to desire.

    Publication date:09/18/2006

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