Don't Take Cheap Shots at the Competition

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to Mike Murphy’s column “Selling Fact and Fiction,” June 4.]

Mike Murphy is spot on. I have been in the business since 1966, including family-owned contracting and parts wholesaling in Cleveland, Ohio, as well as working for a huge nationwide wholesaler and small Ohio-based manufacturer’s rep. There was a brief diversion selling boats from 2000 to 2004, but I am back selling preventive maintenance in Tampa, Fla., for CGM Services. My success in the boat business incorporated never ever bashing another dealer or product. I always felt it was a cheap shot. Though I had the opportunity to do so on a regular basis, I never took it.

My focus today is not what the others are offering, but what I have to offer. I do my homework on the others and their products, then present a professional approach without condemnation of others. I do my best to speak in layman’s terms, and I smile a lot.

Then I do what most others don’t. I follow up. I sold more boats from religious follow up than I can count. Did I just let a secret out? I think not.

Murphy’s article was a breath of fresh air.

Wayne Holmok, Sales
CGM Services, Tampa, Fla.

How Customers Perceive HVAC Equipment

Mike Murphy’s article [“Selling HVAC Isn’t Easy” in the June 11 issue] prompts this e-mailed letter. Are there any tangible HVAC benefits? Three of my customers recently questioned their neighbors, “You don’t have a thermostat in each room?” These three customers received zoning systems; each asked before the sale whether each room would have its own thermostat. And after the sale, each said that their neighbors (and the many contractors in one new construction house case) noticed the many thermostats.

And sound is a tangible. You can hardly hear it. Mike brags loudly to his neighbor over the din of his neighbor’s system. Better air cleaners, dehumidification, humidification, more return, better supply grilles, more efficient equipment, extended warranties, and all the accessories we offer do help close some deals over the low-priced supplier; but as Murphy observed, the majority of customers view HVAC as a necessary evil, and lacking tangible information to the contrary, the lowest price represents the lowest risk.

But to all customers, the thermostat is the system; therefore the more thermostats, the more value. How does this sound for a qualifying question: How many thermostats did you want with your new system? Notice I’ve not used the word “zoning” which is an industry buzzword, or the customer may think we are county government planning to rezone their neighborhood commercial!

The other question: Did you want your new system when operating to sound like a quiet library, this conversation, or traffic noise? Outside unit, if located near the deck, a bedroom, or other frequently occupied area, same question.

Bob Blanchard
Busby’s Commercial Services, Augusta, Ga.

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Publication date:07/30/2007