HVAC salesI recently read an article that noted twice as many colleges offer geology degrees than sales degrees. However, there is one geology job for every 164 sales jobs. The title of the article is: “Just Go Sell Rocks.”

Sales is what drives every business. If you don’t sell anything, you don’t make any money. If you don’t make any money, you don’t stay in business. That’s not Business 101. It’s more basic than that. It’s Business 100. You have to make a buck to keep the doors open.

But many people who sell have no sales training. They didn’t get any formal sales training in school. And they get minimal or no sales training after they get hired for their first sales job. If they know the industry and know their product, they’re supposed to intuitively know how to sell.

Just as it helps your installers and technicians to get technical training, it helps your salespeople to get sales training. Even if they’re good salespeople, why not give them the training to be better salespeople. And once they’re better salespeople, give them even more training so they can be the best.

Sell the Sizzle Not the Steak

Back in 2000, I wrote an article titled “Advice worth following: 'Sell the sizzle, not the steak'.” As that article notes, you’re not selling heating and cooling; you’re selling home comfort. When you offer an IAQ product, you’re not selling an indoor air quality solution; you’re selling an asthma or allergy solution to help the customer breathe easier.

The sizzle sells. A bland recitation of facts does not.

A salesperson doesn’t just read through the specs and wait for the customer to order. A good salesperson asks questions, listens, and then offers a specific solution in terms that are meaningful to the customer.

Features and Benefits

The article cited above further notes the importance of features and benefits. Every feature should have a corresponding benefit.

Every customer wants to know: What’s in it for me? What does your product do faster, easier, better, cheaper, etc.?

If a feature doesn’t have a significant benefit to the customer, it’s not a feature worth selling. If your condensing unit is available in multiple colors, and the customer is quite satisfied with a gray unit, then color is not a benefit.

Everybody now sells high-efficiency equipment. So every salesperson in the industry sells energy efficiency. So is high efficiency the feature and energy efficiency the benefit?

When you’re selling energy efficiency, the end goal for the consumer is not saving energy. The goal is saving dollars — keeping more money in his or her wallet over the long term.

That’s a real, tangible benefit.

Train and Train Some More

Since they aren’t getting it in school, train your new salespeople in how to sell. Provide your existing staff with additional sales training.

Training can add sizzle to your sales efforts, to boost your bottom line. And that’s a benefit that is very important to every business owner.

Publication date: 8/5/2013