by Jim Hinshaw

A couple of months ago I shared Selling Systems Today, some ideas on how to sell HVAC systems and services. Took a break for the holidays, hope you had a marvelous holiday season, and now back to selling those systems again.

#1 reason qualified buyers don’t buy, they don’t trust the salesperson. If that is the case, how do we improve that trust factor? One way is by asking questions. Not just any questions (who did you vote for?), and not any yes or no questions, such as, are your electric bills higher this year? Yes. Did not get the information needed to move them to take action. So we want questions that lead to more information. Any question that starts with: share with me… is a great question. Do you have allergies? Yes. Better is: share with me how your daughter’s allergies have affected your lives? Well, she doesn’t sleep well when the allergies are at the worst. When is that? March-Sept, each year. So half the year, she is not sleeping well? How does that affect her? Tired at school, may affect her grades, sports activities, actually everything! What sort of symptoms does she have? She wears contacts, some days she would rather not put them in, and puts on her glasses. How does that affect her? Can’t see as well, irritates her a lot.

Keep peeling that onion till ya get enough evidence so the customer absolutely wants relief, wants to fix that problem. Remember, they did not wake up that morning, have breakfast together and remark to their significant other, we now have $12,000 in savings, what could we spend it on? The “other” says, how about something for the house? Great, let’s call someone, have them help us spend that money. Said no one ever! There are probably several other things that pop into their minds that they want, maybe even some they need. Your job is to make sure you show them how important comfort in their home is.

Since you asked, the #2 reason qualified buyers don’t buy is no one asked them to buy. A typical closing question from our industry is something along the lines of: well what do ya think? I think we are in too much debt as a country… A better closing statement would be: when would you like to: enjoy a cleaner, healthier home/lower energy bills/more comfortable temperatures in your home/more comfortable humidity levels. Pick one. Actually pick the one they are most concerned about. Then tell them the next steps to achieve that comfort.

#3 reason, no one followed up. Here is where we will camp out for some new information. How do we follow up? Most of us give that customer a call. Possibly not the best way. Just read an e-book put together by Zipwhip, ( a company that helps with texting. I realize they have an agenda, and I am not compensated in any way for suggesting them, but the article made a lot of sense. In fact, I am a consumer, and feel the same about calls and texting. Here are their findings.

Survey of 520 customers, done thru SurveyMonkey. All from the US, done in June 2019. No one compensated for participating. First takeaway: 97% of respondents reported rejecting or ignoring phone calls from a business or unknown number. Second: top 5 words used to describe phone calls: intrusive, annoying, good, unnecessary, communication. Top 5 to describe texts: quick, easy, convenient, good, efficient. Don’t know about you, but I want to be in the second group. More information on their website.

Some of the reasons why consumers ignore calls include: we are busy, we are not ready to make a decision, we have other things more important. List goes on and on. Sometimes we are just trying to get some additional information, and when we do, we may realize we are not ready to move forward with the project at all. And we really don’t want to tell you that live, so a text can be an easier way to communicate.

So it may well be that texting is a more accepted way of keeping in touch with the consumer today, and by more accepted I mean a way that gets better results. You don’t have to worry about waking up a baby, interrupting dinner, catching them at a “bad time” or any of the other things that can frustrate a homeowner today. We usually think of millennials as a group who prefer texting, but the survey shows it is all ages, at least those of us with cell phones that can take a text.

We put a lot of importance on sales of comfort systems, as we should. It is how we make a living. It turns out that some of our customers (or prospects) do not have that same degree of importance attached to the comfort system in their home, heck, in some cases their home is not that important. They may be going thru something that is more critical to them. It may have jumped up just after your visit. So don’t take it personal. Maybe a job change that they did not anticipate, a health issue, family opportunity, life is full of surprises.

What I know is that most reps don’t ask questions, and when they do, many don’t listen. Then we don’t ask for the business, and don’t follow up when they say they want to think about it. Just had an amazing conversation with a friend who had an interchange with an HVAC guy that surprised him. He actually called up the company who was doing his work, asked if they could put together an estimate for a new system. They asked why he wanted that. He replied that his had some age, wanted to look at newer efficiency that could lower operating cost, maybe a better filtering system. The harsh truth was his wife wanted a lower utility bill. Not sure about you, but what my wife wants, she gets. Is that a good lead? They said they would come out but asked if they could do a maintenance at the same time, so they would get some revenue from the visit. Remember, they have been doing his work for some time, and he trusted them. Won’t tell you the end result, but I would be looking at a new contractor to help me with my comfort needs. Exactly. OK, so the end result was that he got a maintenance done and has another company doing his work.

There are some ideas on how to sell systems today, more to follow. Hope ya had a great holiday season, we’ll talk later.