Now that you are headfirst into the New Year, you should be working on bringing more and better leads into your company. The first step is to analyze the leads you are getting to determine their source. At Welsch Heating & Cooling Inc., we are far from perfect at accumulating this information. We have very little success getting our salesforce to find out why a particular customer called us. However, our sales coordinator does a good job of obtaining that information as the calls come in. We have prepared a tally sheet that we summarize on a monthly basis, which gives us at least the basic information. What we are tracking here is strictly replacement installation leads. We have found that 53 percent of our leads come from our own customers, with an additional 16.5 percent coming from referrals from those customers.

There is a reason we don’t receive a large number of replacement leads from the advertising we do. Most of the ads for replacement in our area show ridiculously low prices, which we know (we have actually tested them) must require a bait-and-switch approach. To advertise a price that you know (or should know) would result in a significant loss with the intention of charging add-ons or upselling the size or model number is not ethical, and we don’t participate in that market. Instead, the advertising we do is intended to keep our name in front of the public, along with the positive benefits of letting us serve the customer. We find that this type of advertising typically brings in a first call for service. The customer hopes that his/her furnace or air conditioner can be repaired and prefers a reputable company to check it out.

It is from this point on that we have to show the customer that they have made the right choice by calling us. We start by always answering the phone with a live person. You can’t get a recording when you call us because we don’t have one. More importantly, you never have to spell someone’s name to reach them when you call us. Just tell our operators who you would like to talk to or what you are calling about, and they will get you to the right department. Most of these calls are for service, and we have to continue to impress the caller, remembering that the goal is to turn them into our loyal customer. Keeping in mind that 70 percent of our replacement leads come from our customers and their referrals, for us, the fastest way to increase our replacement sales is to increase our number of customers. The service person taking the call is responsible for setting up the call and, if appropriate, mentioning the availability of our maintenance agreement program (MAP). At that point, it is merely a mention. Only if the customer expresses interest does the customer service representative go over the details of the program.

When the service technicians are on the job, it becomes their responsibility to emphasize the benefits of the MAP. We feel this is so important that we made the decision to pay a spiff to the service technicians for each MAP they sell. We have several customer benefits built into our MAP, so it is a pretty easy sale for a good service technician. It is important to express to your service technicians that selling maintenance agreements is beneficial to everyone involved — the customer, the company, and the techs, too. Our MAP is not designed to reap huge profits for the company because we have to be competitively priced. Our goal is to impress the customer enough to make them our loyal customer. We feel we are in this on a long-term basis, and we know that over time, the amount of revenue one of our customers can bring to us far exceeds the fact that we may be trading dollars to begin.

Remember, the goal should be to increase your customer base, which will provide you with additional leads and referrals. If you would like copies of our MAP sales and promotional materials, just email me at the address shown above, and I will be happy to share with you.

Publication date: 1/14/2019

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