Most people in sales positions spend their careers ducking, dodging, and avoiding what is commonly referred to as the “price objection.” This and future columns are all written to teach you how to survive the price objection.

After reading these articles, you’re going to quit running from the price objection. In fact, you’re going to get so good at handling the price objection that you’re going to steer customers into it. You’re going to take an “I want to think it over” objection and convert it into the price objection. You’re going to take “I need to talk it over with my husband, my boss, my father-in-law, or my dog” objection and convert it into the price objection.

Why would you want to do something like that? Because, for the most part, there really is only one objection, and that is the price objection. Oh sure, they throw all kinds of reasons at you, but usually, regardless of what you’re actually told by the customer, it all boils down to money.

To start, remember this: The quicker the price comes out, the quicker the price objection comes out. Some service techs and salespeople are always in a hurry and walk into the call, price book in hand, do a cursory diagnosis, whip out the price book, point to the price, and then wonder why they’re getting the price objection.

THE RIGHT WAY

When I first arrive on the scene, whether I’m running a service call or a replacement equipment sales call, I leave all sales materials in the truck and only carry in my tools (two nutdrivers, two screwdrivers, a flashlight, an inspection mirror, a thermometer, and an all-in-one type of tool such as a “Leatherman” on my belt).

The first thing I do is take a look at the problem that prompted the call. Once I’m confident I can resolve the issue, without going into a lot of detail, I reassure them that I can and will take care of their immediate problem, then do a more thorough inspection of the complete system.

Regardless of what I’m called out there to look at, regardless of the time of year or the weather, or whether I’m running a sales call or a service call, I always look over the air conditioner, the furnace, the exposed ductwork, the airflow, all exposed wiring, filtration, and humidification. I remove all access panels within reason. Why? Because you never know what you’ll find until you look, and you’ll probably be the only hvac professional who has gone to that type of trouble for them.

VALUABLE RESULTS

Here are seven things that a complete inspection of the entire heating and cooling system does for you:

1. It builds value.
2. It provides time to establish your own personal credibility.
3. It provides a little time to build rapport.
4. You will understand and convince yourself of the necessity for the repair or replacement and the benefits the homeowner will receive when the work is done. You’ll sell yourself on the job, which is important. The selling process works from the inside out. People can see right through you, and when you’re sold on the necessity of the work yourself, they’ll see that as well. In other words, when you make your recommendations, don’t base your recommendations on the benefits you’ll receive from the job. Forget about the money and base your recommendations on the benefits the customer will receive.
5. When you do a complete inspection, you suddenly change in the customer’s eyes from someone who’s simply trying to sell them something to make a commission, to a true hvac professional who’s doing his job and looking out for their best interests. You’ll also be the only salesman they talk to who’s gone to that kind of trouble for them. Consequently, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition.
6. The inspection helps you spot components that are likely to fail, but haven’t yet. How many times have you run more than one call at a location within the same season and had to face the wrath of a customer who wants to know why you or the tech that went before you didn’t tell them about it on the previous call?
7. A consequence of number six is that you’ll sell more add-on tasks.

If you’re concerned about efficiency, don’t try to make it up by cutting the inspection short. The more thorough the inspection, the more credibility and rapport you’ll have, and the more you’ll earn the right to their business. The more problems you find, the more likely you are to make the sale.

In February, I’ll cover how you use “add-on tasks” to survive the price objection.

Sidebar: Greer Is Only In The News

The News is always looking for ways to help the contractor. That’s why it now has Charlie Greer on board. This year Greer will be contributing a monthly report for The News titled “Survival School.” Greer considers himself the only business consultant dedicated to the hvacr industry “who is willing to put his money where his mouth is and actually demonstrate his sales techniques in the field, proving they work!”

Greer’s philosophy is simple: “I believe that profitability is not a matter of luck, nor is it a result of hard work. It takes as much hard work to fail as it does to succeed. Profits are not made by accident. They are made on purpose. Profits are a result of sound thinking, intelligent planning, and deliberate right actions.”

For the record, Greer has accumulated a wealth of practical, hands-on experience that he brings to The News. If you are unfamiliar with Greer, just know that he answered a classified ad for residential replacement people in 1985 and the rest is, as they say, history. With no previous hvac experience, he became the top salesman in one of the country’s largest residential replacement contracting companies and eventually took over the position of sales manager and marketing director.

He now travels around the country, conducting hundreds of workshops and seminars, helping contractors grow their businesses. This year Greer will conduct his intense, four-day “Survival School” classes in Ft. Myers, FL. The dates are: February 5-8, March 5-8, and April 16-19. (For more information, go to www.charliegreer.com.)

We are certain you’ll learn from Greer. Let us know what topics you’d like him to discuss.

— Mark Skaer, Editor-in-Chief

Publication date: 01/14/2002