Many of the most successful HVAC contractors consistently offer a choice of payment options to homeowners — because it’s good for business. But not everyone does it. We tend to see three approaches:
- Supporters. Contractors who understand that payment options are a critical sales tool to help sell, and who have integrated that tool into their business model and selling processes. They’ve seen it’s a proven approach, and because it works, they keep doing it.
- Cynics. Contractors who believe, “All my customers pay cash, and that works well, so I don’t need to offer payment options.” They haven’t tried offering a choice of payment options and they don’t plan to.
- The Rest. Contractors who are inconsistent because they only offer payment options when, in their opinion, they think the customer can’t afford to pay cash for the job. When they do offer payment options, it’s done as a last resort to save a sale rather than as a driver to make a sale. (There’s a big difference.)
If you’re a “supporter,” you already know this stuff, but can still benefit from a refresher on the best practices. If you fall into the “cynic” or “the rest” category, read on to see how you can boost your business with a few simple strategies.
It’s really important to get your whole team on the same page, to create a seamless process from start to finish in terms of offering financing. Here are the three best times for contractors to communicate about payment options.
Before You Even Meet Your Customer
You should include mentions of payment options in your advertising and marketing materials to increase leads. An exclusive home improvement lender like EnerBank USA will provide you support in this area by offering marketing templates for web banners, door hangers, showroom signs, and more. This smooths the process and makes sure your customers are already thinking about how easy it will be to pay for their desired projects right from the get-go.
Setting the Appointment
Once someone calls, the ideal time to discuss payment options is from that very first contact. The person answering the phone (the scheduler) takes the required information and then plants payment option ideas. Something like this: “One more thing. Make sure when Stewart comes out to your house, you ask him about our special 12-month, same-as-cash promotion. You’ll want to hear about that.” That’s all you need.
In the Customer’s Home
Next, when the technician or sales rep arrives at the home, they should essentially do the same thing as part of building rapport with the customer: “One thing before I go outside and start testing your equipment: I’d like to remind you about our 12-month, same-as-cash financing.”
These short mentions have now preempted any objection about price. You’ve now given the customer an option to pay, especially if they’re in a fix-it-or-replace-it-now situation. Finally, when it’s time to close the deal, bring up a choice of payment options once more, so they can choose for themselves which type of loan will best suit their needs.
What About Approvals?
Every contractor offering payment options wants their customer approval rates to be high. We’ve found that the approval rates are less to do with our underwriting criteria, and more to do with the behavior of the technician or sales rep. If you offer a choice of payment options all the time, to every customer, you’ll boost your close rate for a number of reasons. First, you’ll be widening the net to include all kinds of customers you might not have otherwise considered. Second, you’ll be giving more of your leads a chance to move forward with their project while reducing any objections over price, so the focus can be on value.