In the heat of battle, it’s easy to forget that 100 percent of your sales success depends on your dealers’ ability to sell your products.
Andrew Larson, CEO and chairman, Gustave. A. Larson Co. said, “We don’t sell anything, our customers do, so our focus is on helping maximize their success at all times.”
UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPROVE SALES
Territory managers are the point of the spear; they’re the men and women who influence a manufacturer’s sales the most. The following five questions can help you and your dealers design a plan to increase sales, margins, and market share.
1. What percentage of homes in your area have at least one room that’s always too hot or too cold? — Home offices, an aging population, and Netflix are keeping more people indoors than ever before. The more time people spend inside, the more likely they are to invest in better comfort. How much would sales improve if dealers didn’t feel a need to wait for a compressor failure or cracked heat exchanger before offering to replace an uncomfortable HVAC system?
Today, homeowners want to be more comfortable. They’re upgrading their family’s health and comfort without waiting for a major equipment failure. To take advantage of this exciting opportunity, strive to help your dealers offer better comfort to every customer.
Research shows homeowners will spend less money on other areas of their lives in order to afford the benefits they desire most, such as comfort. Just because someone drives a 15-year-old car and lives in a home that needs a paint job doesn’t mean they can’t afford to be more comfortable.
2. How much time do you typically spend on an average replacement equipment sales call? — If your dealers are spending less than 1.5 hours, they’re probably bidding and not selling. Selling is about building value, and bidding is about competing on price. Dealers who bid replacement jobs are more likely to sell low-margin products, acquire fewer positive referrals, and go on credit hold quicker.
Sales are lost when sellers give buyers too much information to be processed. Consumers are unlikely to spend thousands of dollars on products they don’t understand; therefore, one of the most important things your dealers can do is slow down. When the speed of the selling process slows down to match the pace of the buying process, you both make sales.
Help your dealers put together a presentation binder that answers buyers’ unasked questions, such as “How are you better?” “Why you chose this brand?” “Do I get peace of mind?” Consumers learn quicker and buy faster when they see and comprehend what a seller is saying.
3. What is your closing ratio? — A closing ratio is number of sales closed compared to number of the number of proposals presented. HVAC contractors can typically increase their closing ratios 10 percent-plus by moving from a price focused to a benefit focused sales process.
Closing isn’t an event that occurs solely at the end of the sale; it’s a process that engages buyers and builds trust throughout the sale. Asking good questions can be the quickest way to create trust. Develop a list of questions that helps your dealers find hidden comfort problems, design the best comfort solution, and easily close sales.
4. What percentage of your customers could cut their energy bills 10 percent with better comfort equipment? — No home improvement project can reduce a homeowner’s energy bill more than installing better comfort. Upgrading to ultra-comfort could cut their cost to be comfortable by half.
When consumers discover better comfort costs, and the price tag comes in thousands of dollars, it’s not surprising your dealers immediately respond, “We can’t afford it.” Help your dealers increase their closing ratios another 5 percent by mastering the finer points of financing. Show them how to complete all the necessary paperwork, document energy savings, and present the benefits without hesitation.
5. What percent of your sales come from referrals? — Referrals save time, make buying safer, and are acted on six-times faster than advertising. The closing ratio from HVAC replacement referrals is about 80 percent.
Getting referrals requires happy customers. There are a thousand things that can go wrong when installing HVAC equipment in a home. Problems happen. How contractors handle each problem is what determines if a job is turned into a golden referral or a series of negative online reviews. Encourage dealers to assign the right person to track every lead, follow-up on a pending sale, and assure every customer contact is a referral-worthy experience.
IMPROVE DEALER LOYALTY
Reciprocity is one of the most important social norms governing human behavior. When someone goes out of their way to help, we are obligated to return the kindness. The more you help your dealers improve their sales, the more loyalty you inspire. Loyal dealers, higher margins, and rapidly growing sales is the fuel that skyrockets TM success.
Publication date: 11/30/18