IAQ analysis is the HVAC equivalent of filtration replacements in the plumbing industry. If you fail to meet the need of this huge market, you may as well hold the door open for your competition.

So, don’t cheat yourself out of leads, sales, and new customers. And, if you’re helping your customers live longer and healthier, that’s a benefit for everyone. Here’s how you can crush your competition and reign over IAQ in your market:

Target Your Market

Adams HudsonTrue or false: Because you’re marketing indoor air, your target should be everyone that breathes. (Hint: please say “false.”)

Even though you would like to be able to expand your marketing budget to every breathing person in sight, you’ve got a limited supply of time and resources. So, you’ll need to choose your targets carefully and launch your message with precision.

First, target nearby allergy sufferers. That’s a great target, filled with people who’d rather suffer less.

Next, examine newer neighborhoods, which are often filled with young children whose parents may be concerned about asthma and allergies. Additionally, these are the areas where modern airtight homes tend to recycle indoor air pollution over and over. Let your message reflect that.

Fine tune your target with older neighborhoods for a couple of reasons: They could have a higher percentage of elderly occupants developing breathing issues. Additionally, the homes’ ventilation systems might be older and ineffective, so you’ve got an area where you could include indoor air testing with your replacement offers.

You can also offer it with every tune-up you market for massive results. When you do this, your tune-ups move beyond the el cheapo price because they’re more valuable.

Differentiate Your Message

Your goal in message development is to position yourself so that your value proposition to prospects and customers exceeds that of the competition.

So, do everything you can to deliver outstanding, unexpected, “make-‘em-say-‘wow’” service with every touch, every placed call, every service call, and every envelope you drop in their mailboxes. Put miles of differentiation between you and your competitors.

Fortunately, very few of your competitors will even offer IAQ, so when you do, make sure that your techs and salespeople tout this as a difference with your company. If you wait for customers to ask you about it, you’re in for a long wait. No matter what, as you get out front with IAQ, you’ll have competitors attempt to catch up (and only a few will). They’ll be seen as imitators, not the innovator. That’s another reason to be fast, and be loud.

Choose Your Ad Type and Media

You can’t beat Direct Response for targetability and lead generation. But it’s never a good idea to put all of your marketing eggs in one basket. Choose a balance of Direct Response, All Purpose, Image, TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness), and Retention. Marketing cloud software can help you attain quality leads and convert them into sales.

Do the same with your media. Direct mail can be extremely lucrative by drawing leads and sales. Newspaper and radio can be fantastic for TOMA or image campaigns. Internet and social media can be a great way to spread your message to a younger demographic for practically free. Remember, match the media to your message in the market you want. You’ll generate more upsells when your receptionist says to every caller, “And would you like to receive a completely free IAQ survey?”

When choosing social media and online marketing, remember your message must be transparent and honest. Clearly communicate offers, giving conditions and guarantees openly. Testimonials (FTC ruling here) must announce that atypical results are not typical and/or what the average results might be. Every now and then, it is sheer genius to admit a flaw in a product of yours. Credibility soars.

Timing Is Everything

Spring and fall are the two big allergy seasons. You want $100 million of research for free? Have your ads ready to run and, the first day you see an Allegra allergy ad, start your push.

Waiting too late to run your ads means missing the wave, and running them too soon means they’re irrelevant. Be aware of your area’s peak allergy months and be ready to offer solutions to a problem that over 40 million Americans endure.

Closing the Deal

Now, to capitalize on building a nice income stream from this rich HVAC sector, please know that IAQ sales are typically two-step sales, generally from one of four sources:

Incoming repair — Using an IAQ test or survey as the first step, offer this service free with a repair or upon providing evidence that the repair was caused by dirt in the system. Tip: You can ask customers to sign a warranty waiver, on the portion of the warranty from you, if the dirt is not extracted since it may cause the problem again in the future. I mean, will your mechanic give you a warranty on your transmission if he puts in used, fouled fluid?

Replacement sale upsell — You can use this to separate the better from the best. Do not include this with your quote as you’ll get killed against your non-IAQ competition. Make it separate.

• Market-generated service lead — Include the IAQ test or survey within the price of the higher-priced tune-up. This gives a low-cost, high-perceived value distinction for your tune-ups. This has been our largest incoming lead generator, by far.

IAQ standalone generated lead, generally a no-cost test or survey — There is occasionally a cost if you’re testing out a large market. These are great awareness pieces and I’d limit the number of tests you do, which drives up the sense of urgency.

The second step, of course, is the IAQ service recommendation. When you are offering genuine value and benefits that meet such a large need, it’s pretty hard not to come out on top.

Readers of The NEWS can get the free report, “Upsell Your Way to Higher Profits” by emailing freeNEWSstuff@hudsonink.com or by calling 1-800-489-9099.

Publication date: 6/17/2013 

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