The Why and How of Selling Indoor Air Quality
HVAC contractors fill a need for health-conscious homeowners
HVAC contractors are having more discussions about delivering healthy air to the home and further differentiating their business and service by offering IAQ solutions. Selling these solutions requires contractors to address year-round humidity control, fresh air ventilation that meets ever-evolving building codes, and other topics. They are offering and delivering the promise of healthier homes and more efficient, longer lasting HVAC systems. The question is, why are they selling IAQ — and how can other contractors sell it successfully?
THE WHY OF IAQ
Over the years, trends in IAQ talking points among contractors have shifted. Instead of leading the discussion with comfort, energy savings, or system protection, the focus is now on homeowner health. The health aspects of IAQ have always been an important factor, but that aspect has grown in value considerably as health-conscious homeowners understand the need for healthier air and look to contractors to deliver it. In essence, the demand is increasing, creating a larger market in which contractors can successfully offer IAQ solutions.
Josh Bigelow, owner of Great Dane Heating and Cooling in Detroit, confirmed that he is having more conversations about health today than he is about comfort, energy savings, or equipment protection.
“Isn’t health more important than comfort?” he asked. “I don’t know about you, but when I’m unhealthy, I’m very uncomfortable. I’ll be honest, energy savings isn’t even part of the conversation anymore. It just isn’t.”
According to Bigelow, energy savings used to be what the company would lead with in their sales pitches. What the company found was that they were talking about the wrong things with their customers who had more pressing issues than saving $15 to $50 a month on energy. Bigelow explained that now when he goes into a home and sees a small room air cleaner or humidifier, he asks what the equipment is for, and if their children have allergies.
“I’m a father, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t spend for my daughter to stay healthy,” said Bigelow. “Don’t your customers’ kids deserve protection in every room? It’s an easy conversation when you talk about health.”
Contractors are also selling more IAQ solutions in regard to health because customers are asking for it. Homeowners are doing their homework online, and they want the right solutions for a healthy home.
Tom Carney of Carney Heating and Cooling is a 25-year HVAC veteran from Sardinia, Ohio. His company believes in homes being clean and healthy, and appreciates that IAQ helps him achieve that for his customers. He pointed out that today’s homeowners are not only educated but that they are already asking about IAQ.
“They’re asking for our recommendation for humidifiers, or what kind of air cleaners are right for them,” he said. “Homeowners have gotten a lot sharper about trying to keep their homes cleaner and healthier. It’s very much in demand.”
Frank Kotz, owner of Kotz Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in Waterford Township, Michigan, explained that selling IAQ is also a way to differentiate his business. Kotz has often run into customers that say, “Well, no one offered me a humidifier or an air cleaner at the last company.”
This is where he tells his customers that Kotz Heating, Cooling and Plumbing is looking at the whole picture of the home and its air quality, not just trying to sell a box.
“We’re not trying to sell a box, we’re providing an entire system that you’re going to live with and be comfortable with,” he said.
According to Kotz, this approach improves overall customer satisfaction, which then turns into referrals.
“This is the cheapest yet most effective way to advertise,” he said. “We sell IAQ for homeowner health and equipment protection — and, of course, to increase revenue and profit per ticket.”
HOW TO SELL IAQ
With solid reasons to sell IAQ, contractors will next need to decide how to sell IAQ. The four-pronged approach of comfort, energy savings, health, and home and equipment protection are still the leading reasons for homeowners to invest in IAQ solutions. The difference from when this approach began to now is primarily which topic with which the contractor leads. As mentioned previously, health is a top subject with customers — so popular, in fact, that some contractors are even including health language in their quotes and proposals. This consumer benefit language on proposals is considered free advertising that remains with the customer and keeps reminding them of why they should invest in IAQ and what it is going to specifically do to improve their health.
Simply describing a humidifier with a part number does very little to create value with the customer. Including the health and comfort benefits of controlling humidity, however, changes the message and value.
AmTek HVAC Inc., which services Toms River, New Jersey and its surrounding communities, includes health benefits on their proposals and marketing.
“Air cleaners remove submicron particulates including viruses, bacteria, pollen, and pet dander,” stated one proposal. “Our humidification system will keep your nose moist, keeping your body’s natural filter working better. Do you have dry nose, scratchy throat, bloody noses, or allergies? We can help your health and your home health. It’s that easy.”
Whether contractors include IAQ products with packages or as separate line items, the bottom line with successful contractors is that they are offering IAQ.
“It’s simple,” said Kotz. “Be very honest, upfront, and offer people IAQ. If you don’t offer it, they can’t buy it.”
Specific examples of how IAQ is going to improve the health of customers can help contractors sell IAQ solutions.
“I never realized how important it was to control humidity until I realized how important it was to your health,” said Bigelow. “Now that we know this, you can’t un-ring a bell. Now we know how IAQ affects health, we have to tell people about it. It’s our responsibility.”
WHY SELL IAQ
- Homeowner demand for a healthy lifestyle.
- Brand differentiation for contractors.
- Customer satisfaction for repeat business, better reviews, and more referrals.
- HVAC equipment protection and efficiency.
- Increased revenue and higher profit per job.
HOW TO SELL IAQ
- Offer good-better-best packages.
- Separate line items.
- Include consumer health benefits in proposals, not just model numbers.
- Lead the conversation with health.
- Include comfort, energy savings, and protection in the sales message.
- Offer IAQ, quote it, and sell it.
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