Top 10 Tips for Residential HVAC Sales People in 2018
Selling to consumers in the residential HVAC market has changed over the last 10 years. The days of formality in a sale are fading away and consumers now are going with companies that can show the most transparency and connect better during a sale.
I sold my HVAC company in 2017 following rapid growth for a decade. I think any HVAC company could duplicate our results for their own business. We were not satisfied with the commonly accepted HVAC sales wisdom at the time and we set about creating our own set of rules that worked for us. I would credit the growth to a unique set of sales philosophies we adopted. We constantly tested various sales principals – their success or failure would be reflected in our cumulative closing percentage. Here were the most important of those principals:
- Every sale that is attended must be treated as if its sellable. It’s so easy to discredit the sale before arriving. Behaving as though it is possible to sell every job will help you focus the cause of a lost sale at yourself. Even if your wrong – you’ll be 10x more likely to learn something or adjust how you behave at a future sale to increase your closing percentage. Oftentimes you’ll find by asking yourself the question “How could I have performed better on that sale” you will get an answer. By listening to yourself you will improve over time.
- Always blame yourself – not externals for lost sales. Common excuses sales people say are “it is the wrong time of the year to sell X equipment”, “it’s the wrong customer type”, or “the customer has too many quotes” etc. Again, but cutting off the ability to blame externals – your left with only blaming yourself for lost sales which will result in continuous improvement.
- I believe HVAC sales people should be truly neutral about what the customer buys. By that I mean if you have a product comparison sheet the HVAC sales person should neutrally go over the various products discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each product. If the salesperson goes in with a predetermined agenda to sell the most expensive equipment, customers will sense it and it will ultimately hurt the closing percentage.
- As a salesperson of relatively expensive merchandise and working inside someone’s home you are ultimately selling trust - customers are constantly analyzing everything you say and do to see if they can trust you. There is only one way to be trusted – be a good trustable person who does what they say they will do and always acts with integrity.
- They are buying you, they are only partially buying your product. People are intuitive, if you are truly someone who would never deceive the customer, never lie to them and are trustable - people will sense it. You cannot fake this - if you find sales are poor - look at yourself first. You can’t manipulate customers.
- The simplest rule here… never, ever lie to someone. I.e – don’t say you got a flat tire if your late to a sale. Just tell the truth – you scheduled your day poorly or whatever the real reason is. There is never a reason to lie about anything – your sales will be boosted by being up front all the time.
- Having a good connection with the customer is critical – it’s the most important part of the initial sales consultation. It gives the customer time to get comfortable with you and you with them. You get energy in sales when you sense they trust you and you connect. Good energy in sales you can take to the bank.
- Never, ever bash competitors. Even if you know the competitor is incompetent or worse. The moment you try to discredit the competition to the customer it makes you look worse.
- It truly does take a lot of energy to close a sale well - if we don’t put the effort in the opportunities won’t appear. When we can keep our energy and optimism up in a sale opportunities will present themselves in a sale that wouldn’t have otherwise shown up.
- Always at least try and close the sale. The customer being asked for their business is the cost of you coming out there. You can be very polite about it – I.e. “If you want, we have a spot open next Wednesday – would that work for you” – however you must ask at least once. Getting the sale is similar to golf - you always try to get it in the hole which will at worst leave you closer to putting it in in the future.
As a basic set of sales ‘principals’ the above rules served us well during my first business and are continuing to serve me well at my new business FurnaceUSA. I’m sure these principals will evolve and grow over the years but the core reasoning behind them will stay the same.
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