As complicated as business is, sometimes it can be really simple. The HVAC industry is no exception. Businesses need to give consumers what they want… even if the consumers don’t know it yet.

Apple is a perfect example of this. In June 2007, most of us had no idea what an iPhone was. Now — about eight years later — a lot of us could not imagine our lives without one. Last week, I was telling a coworker I was annoyed because I could not get season two of a certain show on my TV. That is when she introduced me to Apple TV. In 10 minutes, I went from not knowing anything about this product to absolutely needing it.

Do you think you could do that with a high-efficiency air conditioner or furnace? It might take more than 10 minutes (I am an easy sell; you can see that from a mile away), but it can be done.

From a Want to a Need

Now, HVAC contractors are not peddling iPhones or iPads, but they are offering something the majority of Americans want — energy efficiency and comfort. Much like Apple, they want the products contractors are offering, but they just don’t know it yet.

I recently read a survey from Nielson that shared most Americans are not happy with their homes. Evidently, they were taking a break from counting how many people watch Celebrity Apprentice.

Given that homeowners will spend more than $17 billion this year renovating their homes, it is fairly obvious they are not completely satisfied. Wouldn’t you like a chunk of that $17 billion? Well, it can be yours.

The number that jumped off the page was the gap when homeowners were asked about energy efficiency. The Nielson study showed that 71 percent of households think energy efficiency is important, while only 35 percent of respondents described their homes as energy efficient. That leaves 36 percent of the respondents who wanted more energy-efficient homes.

That is much more than just tree huggers and the environmentally conscious. The decision simply comes down to money. Homeowners think their utility bills are way too high. One-third of respondents stated household expenses ended up costing more than they anticipated when moving into the home. HVAC contractors can surely lower that bill.

So, these homeowners need a new, high-efficiency furnace or air conditioner — they might just not know it yet. That is where the HVAC contractor comes into the picture. It is your job to introduce the homeowner to the perfect solution or solutions.

Don’t get caught up in price. Apple doesn’t. How much do you think it costs to make an iPhone versus what they sell it for? Let the other guys be the cheaper knockoff.

Sure, there might be two or three contractors that come in after you and beat you on price. But, if you are providing something the other contractors won’t offer and can convince the homeowner that they can’t live without it, you’re in the driver’s seat. This means offering systems performing above 13 SEER and introducing technologies like geothermal.

Obviously, this is not going to work every time. I don’t need to tell you that a percentage of shoppers are worried only about first cost or would rather repair a system 18 times than replace it. Those folks will always be out there, and you really can’t fight it.

But, if you don’t offer everything you have to those other folks that simply want an energy-efficient home, you are doing yourself a disservice.

Publication date: 2/2/2015

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