So you’re on a service call; you’ve completed the inspection, gone out to your truck, decided what needs to be done on this call, and written up your “Paper Towel Close” (as described last month, “Presenting The Price When Running Service Calls,” March 18, page 14).

Carry in all the necessary tools, parts, mats, drop lights, rags, vacuum cleaner, hose, chemicals — anything and everything you’ll need in order to do the job — before quoting the price and getting permission to proceed.

Yes, this is assumptive, but it’s not too assumptive. They called you out to make the repairs and they expect you to make them, so it’s appropriate for you to do this.

This is not a risk on your part. Being ready to work once you get the go ahead greatly improves your odds of getting the job. People are reluctant to send you on your way when you’re already set up to make the repair.


In sales, there are two kinds of products, tangibles and intangibles. Intangible products are things like insurance and investments. They are more difficult to sell than tangible products, like fan motors. However, when you sell a fan motor without showing it, it becomes more intangible. So, make things easy on yourself. Show them the product.

In fact, bring whatever you’re going to sell them — be it an electrical component, a motor, a filter, a thermostat — into the house with you.

You’ll be surprised how interested your customers will find some of the most boring, mundane little products you carry in your truck. Develop a little 10- to 15-second speech on each product. It makes them feel better about their decision.

Whenever you talk to customers about their equipment, do it in front of the equipment. Don’t try to sell cleaning the equipment to a woman at the kitchen sink, or to a man who is mowing his lawn. Calling them down to the equipment ensures you have control of the call. Also, it will help your customers understand what you’re talking about. A coil cleaning is an intangible — unless it’s sold while standing in front of dirty equipment.


Don’t act like a salesman when quoting the price. My personal philosophy is, “stop selling.” Be very matter-of-fact, confident, and self-assured, without appearing conceited or arrogant.

You know those counter guys at the large auto repair shops owned by chains? They take your information, have a mechanic look your car over, draw up a list of problems, solutions, and prices. Where possible, they take you into the garage to show you the problems, explain why they require attention, and it needs to be done now. Then they take you back to the counter and present the price.

Those guys are usually salesmen working on straight commission. You’d never know it by how they act, would you? They’re not really “selling” — or are they? That’s how you should act.

Don’t question whether or not they’re going to buy and don’t be timid about things. You didn’t cause the problem and you’re not getting rich off their misfortune. You can feel sorry for them, but don’t be apologetic. The best thing you can do for them is solve their problem by fixing their equipment, and you’re going to have to charge for it.

It costs money to own a house and it costs money to own a furnace, boiler, or air conditioner. It also costs money to run a service company. You’ve got your problems and they’ve got theirs.

By the way, a price complaint is not always a price objection. Everyone, including you, complains about the high cost of service and repairs. So what?

Next month I’ll tell you what to say when presenting the price.

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: 04/22/2002