Contractors should install a good particle filter or air cleaner in a customer’s air-handling system to improve IAQ and keep dirt out of the air and off the ductwork and heating and cooling components. The filter should be maintained or replaced regularly as required. (Photo courtesy of York.)
According to the American College of Allergists, "50 percent of illnesses are caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality [IAQ]." Poor IAQ can trigger allergies, asthma, and other health-related problems. Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health confirms that allergic diseases are one of the nation's more common and expensive health problems.

A large and growing percentage of today's consumers are willing to invest their hard-earned money to provide a healthy home for their families.

Unfortunately, when it comes to indoor health, people buy what is familiar. They spend millions of dollars each year on tabletop air cleaners, portable humidifiers, and germ-killing sprays.

Even though no one is better qualified to improve the health of homes than HVACR contractors, a surprisingly small percentage of replacement HVAC equipment includes IAQ accessories. And the No. 1 reason IAQ accessories aren't sold isn't the added price, it's lack of proven sales process.

Smart service technicians and comfort consultants see opportunities to help improve people's health with IAQ accessories almost every day. Turning this huge opportunity into healthy homes and profits can be as simple as using C.A.R.E.â„¢.

Spell It Out

Let's go about this, one letter at a time.

C = Change
Desire for change is what drives people to buy accessories. Without it, nothing happens. Change starts when you help customers discover their home is too polluted, muggy, dry, and/or stuffy.

A = Ask
To help you both discover opportunities, ask homeowners about their current situation. Sample questions include: "Does anyone in your family suffer from asthma or airborne allergens?" and "Does your home get too muggy, too dry, or too stuffy certain times of the year?"

Take notes. We learn, remember, and sell more when we take time to write it down. Pause after each question to give the person time to think. This courtesy also lets customers tell you their problems in detail.

Remember this: The bigger the problem, the more likely they'll invest in the solution. Strive to understand the individual's concern by listening and paraphrasing. ("You want us to close and lock the back gate each time we enter the back yard, is that correct?")

R = Recommend
After discovering the solutions the homeowner wants, recommend the best course of action. Help increase the customer's knowledge, excitement, and desire by using sales literature. Show how your solutions address each concern. For instance: "Your current filter allows most pollution to pass through and recirculate throughout your home. Can you see how the Max-Filter System gives the level of filtration and protection you want?"

E = Encourage
The idea here is to provide courage, confidence, and reassurance.

After giving the total and monthly investment amounts, it's likely customers will have questions, concerns, or objections, which you must address before they say yes. Because the best solution costs more, price is a common concern.

Deal with this detour by reviewing the benefits they want. For instance: "With Bobby's asthma, reducing dust in your home is important. You also want to protect your investment by keeping your system as clean as possible."

If they trust you, they want your assurance they are making the right decision. If the price is still too high, review the options and ask questions to determine which, if any, benefits they are willing to remove to lower the price. It's amazing how sales, satisfaction, and referrals skyrocket when you take time to C.A.R.E.

Steve Howard is president of The ACT Group Inc. He can be reached at 800-515-0034 or

Sidebar: Quotable Quotes

Here are some reasons why people buy (and should buy) IAQ accessories:

"Fifty percent of illnesses are caused or aggravated by poor indoor air quality."
- American College of Allergists

"It is prudent to improve home indoor air quality, even if symptoms are not noticeable."
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

"Symptoms of health problems caused by biological pollutants include: sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness, lethargy, fever, and digestive problems."
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

"Six symptoms caused by indoor air pollution: nasal, eye, and mucous embrace irritation, fatigue, headaches, and dry skin."
- National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine

"Air pollution contributes to diseases like asthma and lung cancer. Lung disease is growing faster than almost any other major disease."
- American Lung Association

Publication date: 06/27/2005