The “optional close” is good, but just know that there are good options and there are bad options.

A good optional close is, “Do you want this specific air conditioner with this specific air cleaner?” Another good optional close is, “Do you want to go ahead and get this specific furnace while you’re changing out this specific air conditioner?”

A bad optional close is, “Do you want the 10-SEER model or the 12-SEER model?” Or, “Do you want the 80-AFUE furnace or the 90-AFUE furnace?” Or, “Do you want a heat pump or a ‘straight cool’ air conditioner?”

Those are exactly the kinds of decisions that cause the customer to say, “I need to think it over.”

By the time you get to quoting the price and closing the sale, those issues need to already be put to bed. A sale is a series of small commitments made one at a time.

One of the biggest problems salespeople run into is when the only commitment they’ve asked the customer to make is the final commitment, and frankly, that’s just too large of a commitment for most people to make. Most people have difficulty making decisions. That’s why I say that a good closer is actually someone who’s good at helping people make decisions.

You need to get a commitment on which unit they’d prefer prior to your first attempt at closing the sale.


How do you know which air conditioner, furnace, or boiler to recommend? Your inspection will help you with that.

As you know, I always do a complete inspection as part of my sales calls. This includes looking over their exposed ductwork and wiring and removing all access panels on their existing equipment. I also check the airflow in every room by putting my hand to the register while the blower is running. This results in my seeing every room of the house. Consequently, I also see pretty much everything they’ve ever bought and held onto.

During these inspections, you can also look for buying habits. Be careful not to look like you’re “casing the joint.” Just be observant. For instance, do they have a big screen TV and other sophisticated electronics or expensive items? Do they have a $1,200 vacuum cleaner? Do they have the complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica? Those two products, in particular, should tell you that they do buy from in-home salespeople; that when they buy, they buy the best; and that they tend to finance their purchases. That should help you in deciding what equipment to recommend.

When you do check the airflow of every room in the house, you’ll be the only HVAC salesperson they see who does — and that type of conscientious approach is exactly the thing that will set you apart from your competition. It also helps to avoid complaints after the fact. I mean, you’d hate to change the outdoor unit, the coil, and the line set for someone because they thought that would improve their airflow enough to get more air into their back bedroom, wouldn’t you?

Most people have an airflow problem of some sort and duct modifications make for excellent add-ons. Additionally, your proposal will be the only proposal that includes duct modifications, so it will make a direct comparison between you and your competitors, who quoted only equipment and didn’t look their entire system over. It also makes your competitors seem less thorough than you are, which, if they didn’t check the customer’s airflow, they are.

Usually by the time I get to making my recommendations and closing the sale, I’ve learned what they do for a living and where they work, which gives me a pretty good feel for their income. I also know how long they plan to live in the house and how they hope to benefit by replacing their equipment.

All this helps me to help them decide what features and benefits they expect from their new equipment and directs me toward making an appropriate recommendation.


Don’t go over the entire product line. Make a solid recommendation on one specific furnace, boiler, and/or air conditioner. This is not withholding information. If they have received other bids, others will have gone over all that with them anyway. Who’s better qualified to select the right equipment for the job, a homeowner (with no HVAC experience) or you? Besides, they usually defer to your better judgment anyway, don’t they?


If you learn the type of equipment everyone else has already quoted them on, recommend something entirely different. There’s no point in quoting the same thing everyone else has. There will be very little difference between your quote and everyone else’s, except that their price for a comparable product is lower.

If everyone else has already quoted them on a straight 80% furnace, recommend a two-stage furnace, a 80% or a 90%. If everyone else has quoted them on a 14-SEER air conditioner, recommend something different, even if it has to be a lower-grade model like a 10 SEER.

Get them to make some small decisions before asking for the order. Listen, if they can’t decide what equipment they want, they’re not going to be able to decide to buy either.

This is a classic example of why I say that, regardless of all circumstances, including any difference in price, your customers (as well as yourself and all of us) usually wind up buying from the best salesperson.

By the time you get to quoting the price, they need to be used to making decisions and know exactly what they want. Then all you have to do is agree on the price.

In my next article, I’ll cover some additional tactics you can use to survive the “I want to think it over” objection.

Sidebar: ‘Sales Survival School’

Upcoming Dates:

Sept. 10-13
Oct. 22-25
Nov. 12-15

All schools are held at HVAC Profit Boosters Inc. in Ft. Myers, FL. For more information, contact Greer at 800-963-4822.

Greer is the owner of HVAC Profit Boosters Inc. and the instructor of the “Sales Survival School” in Ft. Myers, FL. For more information, call 800-963-4822 or visit (website).

Publication date: 07/22/2002