Wendell Bedell
NASHUA, N.H. - When it comes to the residential replacement business, Wendell Bedell said it is people that sell equipment, not the equipment itself.

"The equipment has very little impact on the installation. All is built from the same standards," he said. "And 90 percent of installations are done incorrectly. There is a financial risk for contractors if the equipment is not installed correctly."

Bedell, the president and CEO of Building Services Institute (BSI), supplied words of wisdom regarding residential replacement marketing and selling at a session he addressed at the organization's HVAC Service Summit, held for members and prospective members. The event included summit seminars, peer networking, and vendor technology sessions.

"This event will focus on increasing business value," said Bedell at the meeting's opening session. "You will learn about new technologies and how they can be used as a competitive advantage."

Remember The Brand

At the session he presented, Bedell noted that contractors should be more interested in promoting their own company as the brand. When he asked attendees which brand they promote, most said themselves.

"Most dealers invest heavily in equipment manufacturer's brands and not in their own company brand," he said.

He talked about BSI's "Home Comfort Certification System" brand, which is a "selling approach to improving a professional image while increasing profit margin."

"Branding helps you communicate the whole package," he said.

According to his definition, branding includes differentiation. Unfortunately, he said, many contractors use prepackaged or mass marketing campaigns that are available to anyone. "You don't want your competition copying you and doing the same thing you are paying for," he said.

He added that customers want to know about what contractors can deliver to them, "not how many trucks you have on the road."

Bedell took that point one step further when discussing the types of advertising contractors should use. "Put people in your ads," he said. "Customers buy from people, not because of the equipment you sell or the number of trucks you own."

Generating Leads

Bedell also discussed how to generate sales leads and where to find them. "There are multiple channels for getting ahold of people, such as phone and e-mail addresses," he said. "But if using an e-mail address, make sure you get a person's permission first."

He added that networking is a great way to generate sales leads, citing membership in a local chamber of commerce as one of the best resources for new leads.

"Sales reps can easily be generating 25 percent of their leads through membership in groups," said Bedell.

Once the lead has resulted in a sales presentation, Bedell suggested getting the customer involved in the "sales process."

"Show the customers that they can trust you," he said. "Show them the sales delivery process that you are going to use."

BSI Background

Bedell said that BSI training could put a bite in poor profitability, which is directly linked to poor marketing, selling, and operating processes. And he added that poor business value growth is directly linked to low renewable revenue streams.

One of the goals of BSI, which has 92 members in the United States and Canada, is for its group to achieve 20 percent to 23 percent in net profits before taxes, while increasing business value of 50 percent to 120 percent, or more.

For more information on BSI, visit www.bsig.net.

Publication date: 05/31/2004