In baseball, it doesn’t matter how well the team performs in the first eight innings if the pitching staff fails to close the game in the ninth. As a Detroit Tigers fan, I’m all too familiar with this philosophy. (See: Papa Grande, Todd Jones, etc.)

And, coincidentally, that’s true in HVAC sales as well. No matter the amount of time, effort, or sugar-coated convincing you sprinkle on a client, if you leave their home without a sale, it’s all for naught.

Building a Relationship

Entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and former HVACR contractor, Weldon “Wally” Long, has outlined a fantastic sales and marketing system for contractors. In his literature, he provides many tips for closing a sale. These same tips helped him build a business from scratch to $20 million in less than five years.

Long stresses the importance of building a solid customer relationship. Rather than stepping immediately to the equipment, it’s vital that you first introduce yourself and your company at the kitchen table. Find something that interests the homeowners and center a conversation on it. Loosen them up. Share your personal experiences as well, but don’t dominate the conversation. Let them take the lead.

He Said, She Said

Eventually, steer the conversation to the HVAC problem at hand. Ask them why they called, and how they gained your number. Note their primary concerns, but also dig deeper. Discuss their allergy history, the amount of dust in the air, their pets, furnace volume, etc. Take note of how strongly they feel about each issue, and remember to present add-on solutions for each of these concerns when offering different packages.

Remind them again that your goal is to adequately solve their comfort issues at a reasonable price, backed by a satisfaction guarantee. Your only request: That when they’re finished discussing the process, that they let you know — yes or no — if you’re a good fit for their family. Ultimately, the goal is to gain the job that day, or move on to the next lead. The “Call Me Maybes” of the world — to quote YouTube’s Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Shopping for Options

Discuss a price range with your client and offer financing. Many homeowners may be unable to dole out $5,000 in one lump sum. However, if you offer a 12- or 24-month financing option, the idea of replacing a comfort system for $200 a month may suddenly seem more realistic.

And, of course, nearly every homeowner will declare that they need to secure three contracting bids before making a decision.

Stress that this is not necessary. Promise them that if your system does not work properly, or does not perform as desired, you’ll fix it or remove it and refund their money — no questions asked. Show them (on paper) how much a new system will save on their energy bill and tell them that you’ll gift them double the amount if your estimates fail to return similar savings.

Finish by stating that no other contractor — be it three bids or 100 bids — will offer such a guarantee because they lack trust in their technicians, equipment, and installation skills. And if they aren’t pleased, you’ll pull your system out of their house. They can then give Joe Schmo down the road a call and take a gamble with him.

And, finally, before ever leaving a home, shine your best pitch and ask, “Will you trust me with this project?” If you’ve done your job right — offering the most practical solution, at a price within their budget, backed by the best guarantee — more often than not you’ll be closing the deal.

Publication date: 7/1/2013

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