As contractors, we wonder constantly: From quote to quote, why did we win this job but lose that one?
“They had a lower price.” That’s what we think in the heating and air conditioning business. But getting sales involves far more than a low price. Here are some other aspects to consider.
Provide the solution the buyer is looking for
It’s more than price these days. Would-be buyers have become very tech savvy. They have so much information at their disposal regarding the products we sell. Often, buyers don’t really know what they want, so we have to lead them down the path. The consumer may mention a particular brand, but studies show they still trust the contractor’s recommendation.
We as contractors must ask the right questions on the sales call:
- Do you have hot and cold spots in the home?
- Have you considered zoning?
- How does your ductwork look?
- How long do you plan to live in the home?
- Do you have allergies?
- Would you like to be able to access the system remotely?
- Did or does your current system keep your home comfortable?
- How are your utility bills?
Sometimes the competition is asking the right questions and getting the homeowner involved in the purchase process. Homeowners can and will get excited about the buying process. We just have to uncover what their true needs are, and we must satisfy those needs for them. Often, if we ask the right questions, we may uncover needs they didn’t know they had.
Today’s consumer thinks buying a new heating and a/c system is like purchasing a standard home appliance. They look at different brands or manufacturers, look for similar specifications or features, and then they compare price.
The consumer doesn’t understand that it is more about the contractor than the brand of equipment. Customers are ready to buy on features and price. But contractors have to come out to measure, check ductwork, see if the electrical matches up, check installation limitations, and more.
Work around the customer’s schedule
For many years, contractors had “contractor” schedules. This didn’t really align with the consumer’s schedule. We went to work early in the morning, so we could leave in the afternoon. This worked well for us, but not so much for our potential customer. The average consumer is very busy during those hours. It is often difficult for them to take time off of work to be home to meet us. And heaven forbid we cancel an appointment or delay it! Many of today’s heating and air companies are beginning to work around the consumer’s schedule. For example:
- Weekend appointments
- After hours
- Whenever it’s convenient for the customer
Try it sometime. You may be surprised how well it works, and I bet you’ll increase your closure rate. Your employees may prefer the non-traditional work hours too.
Make it easy for customers to do business with you
Difficulty of doing business may be one of the biggest reasons we lose sales in the residential HVAC business. We can lose sales to other companies because they made it easier to do business with them. Try these things to make your company easier to work with:
- Great customer service
- Installing around the buyer’s schedule (nights and weekends)
- Offering financing
- Accepting credit cards
- Online scheduling
Have a professional appearance
The general public sometimes has a stereotype when it comes to contractors. They have become accustomed to bad service, poor quality, poorly dressed, and generally unprofessional business practices. What if we change all of the consumer’s misconceptions? What if we provide great service, show up on time, uniformed, and deliver beyond their expectations? Here are some things that will help create a professional appearance for your company:
- Uniformed employees
- Spotless vehicles
- Great online reviews
- Community involvement
- Background checks and drug testing
- Employee photo ID’s
Often we find out the other contractor awarded the job had a higher price. Studies show that only a small portion of the population buys on price. The vast majority make purchase decisions based on the highest perceived value. Let’s spend our time and energy working on how we can deliver higher value, versus seeing how we can cut costs so we can do the job cheaper. If we all work on what matters to today’s consumer, we will all win more jobs.