Rather than beat around the bush, let me start with a paraphrase from one of Dan Akroyd’s most memorable moments on Saturday Night Live, as his news character slammed co-anchor Jane Curtin.

I say with respect, “John, you ignorant slut.”

Of course techs should not only be allowed to sell, but also encouraged to do so.

However, I do agree with you that a prerequisite for selling ought to be that the person has a desire to sell in the first place. If, as you say, many techs “simply don’t want to sell” - then they shouldn’t, end of story. Additionally, any person who does not know how to sell shouldn’t.

I believe that the bone of contention between those who champion the rights of technicians to sell, and those who would vote against it, is more a question of which technicians should be doing the selling, rather than whether techs should sell at all. No one is a born salesperson. Attempting to train someone to sell who would sooner curl up in the fetal position than ask for a trial close is utter nonsense. And, training a technician who might enjoy the challenge of selling, to use high-pressure or manipulative tactics, is doing no one any favors. Not the tech or the customer. And, let’s face it, a lot of people have never had the benefit of attending one of the many professional sales training classes available. They learn by trial and error. Eventually, they get it right: Don’t sell the customer, let the customer buy. Ask them a few simple questions to uncover their needs; then, let them talk. Listen. Don’t regurgitate everything you know about your equipment, or your service agreement. They don’t care how much you know. When they ask your opinion, give them an honest answer.

Finding qualified technicians, as John Hall states, is certainly tough enough these days. Those who are comfortable with the selling opportunities presented them by an employer should go for it. If, on the other hand, selling is more like catching the Black Plague, then leave it alone.

In rebuttal of Hall’s suggestion that a technician is in a vulnerable place when asked to sell replacement equipment, I certainly disagree. A tech is always in the most enviable position. A customer generally will trust a tech more than a salesperson. If the tech feels comfortable in the selling role, then the tech’s employer can obviously gain sales and profits without the expense of a dedicated salesperson. That can be a win/win/win situation for the customer/employer/technician. The most trusted, knowledgeable, and influential person - the tech - can help everyone involved.


A trusted, knowledgeable, and influential person - a tech - was in my home last year performing a seasonal tuneup. He had the audacity to ask me if I wanted a service agreement and then asked if I was comfortable during the winter season with all the dry air. I didn’t have a service agreement and I didn’t have a humidifier. Now, I do.

I certainly hope that in a few years, when my 10 SEER air conditioning system is limping along and costing me an arm and a leg in repair bills, that he has the unmitigated gall to ask me if I want a new system.

The best part about having an astute technician selling to me is that even though I love every single employee at my favorite HVAC company, I don’t have time to listen to an hour-long sales presentation from their best salesperson. I’ve got to take the girls to dance class and basketball practice in the evenings. Give me the facts; direct and to the point. Give me the technician.

However, if the tech doesn’t want to sell me, that’s OK. Bring me a good salesperson. I just prefer to get both packages in one person.

But, to say techs shouldn’t sell ... shame on you, John Hall.

Publication date:12/11/2006