BY JON CAGLE, UNISYN Technologies
Funnels are one of the single most important pieces of a business. They’re also one of the most overlooked pieces. The reason for that is easy: we like getting sales. But, getting somebody’s email address or a follow on facebook? . . . Not as exciting. But it’s much easier. So why is it important? It’s how you build trust, and ultimately how you get to more sales. It’s far easier to convince a homeowner to like your page, share their email or even address with you than it is to convince them to install a brand new furnace and air conditioning system. So what do you do?
The top of funnel can be as generic or specific as you want it to be. Many ‘agencies’ will recommend doing something really generic that can reach the most amount of people. That strategy is effective and you will reach a ton of people. But it will cost you a ton of money in marketing. We like to do things that scale with your business. If you only have two technicians, reaching 20,000 homeowners and getting 500 of them to call you isn’t going to be particularly helpful. So do things that scale.
Top of Funnel
This is the obvious marketing stuff, the generic bits of information and brand awareness things you put out. We typically suggest our heating and air conditioning clients to go in two directions with this:
1, Capitalize on your knowledge.
2. Be a resource for homeowners and target people with low/no risk offers.
Capitalizing on and Sharing your Knowledge.
Capitalizing on your knowledge is easy. You know your craft (or at the very least you pretend to), share that information with people. Start small. Simple facebook posts or instagram pictures are the easiest way to get info out to the homeowners. Show them what clogged filter looks like and what kind of impact it has on a system, explain how zoning can help keep different parts of the house hotter/colder, show them what happens to the inside of their windows in the winter if the whole house humidifier is cranked up too high. These nuggets of information are taken for granted as a tech, but more often than not, the homeowner is clueless.
If you want to get even more advanced, document your tech’s work on camera and slice it up for homeowners to see what’s going on. Too many heating and air companies are lying to their customers about the severity of their leaking A coil or the state of their heat exchanger. Show customers what to look for, what to ask, and how to spot these guys that are out to take advantage of them. Unless you’re the one doing that, then I’d suggest you take stock of what your integrity is worth. Hint: it’s not worth lying to homeowners.
Low/No Risk Offers
This gets a little trickier and you need to understand that you can be adaptable to the market. If you’re busy, do less ‘no risk’ offers, if you’re slow, it’s OK to do more ‘no risk’ things. Start with a staple, such as discounted clean-and-checks. It’s easy to do, you’re likely already offering it, and it’s something the homeowner might be familiar with. However, we don’t generally recommend it because there are other options that have proven to be better, but they require you to understand the long term value of a customer. If you have a tech sitting around with no work to do, he is costing you money. Put him to work getting business. How? Free stuff.
Our 'go to' here is filter changes, but you can pick any number of things here and work a system. Filters cost virtually nothing. Put a few different sizes into the van, put your technician in the van, drive around, offer free filters and a business card in exchange for a like/follow on your Facebook/Instagram page, or free clean and check for a shoutout or other type of social media mention. DO NOT SELL HERE. If they ask, by all means work the lead, but steer them away from the sale. Counter intuitive, I know, but the goal with this ‘top of funnel’ action is to showcase your value and your willingness to give more than you take. When their furnace has a hiccup in 6 months, guess who they’re calling? They’re going to call you.
This should be the easy part. Not much is changing here as your customers move down the funnel. If you’ve followed the ideas from the previous section you should be getting likes and follows rolling in and engagement with your clients starting. The next step is to move them down the funnel. Planning here is important. What kind of sales do you want to get? Do you want to sell service agreements? Or replacements? Or some add-on for clean and checks? We generally suggest service agreements. They’re have a higher margin and put you in front of your customers at least a couple times per year. Add in filter changes every 60 days and you’re now in front of them even more. The goal here is to get them to start to trust you.
Use your recently gained following to start moving people toward your goal. Show off the people that are taking advantage of the service agreements, take pictures of your tech’s prepping to do clean and checks, show off the shiny new furnace you’re getting ready to install. All of these things are building your relationship with customers, showing off the personality of your techs, and establishing yourself as a real person who is ready to serve you when the time comes.
Finally the good part: the sale. The part that keeps your tech’s fed and your business growing. The content here is your proverbial right hook, where you finally ask the customer to buy something. Content is here everything that other businesses do all the time. The secret you’ll be focusing on is the timing of it. You can’t constantly be hocking your goods and services to customers. What you can do is strategically time your asks so that they line up after they’ve gotten 10 times the value they’d be giving back to you. For some that’s a lot of value. If you’re asking a homeowner to invest $20,000 into their heating and air conditioning system, you need to give them a ton of value before you even think about asking, but when you go for the question you’ll find yourself doing a lot less selling. Customers who trust your brand and trust your tech’s will take their word that it’s the best thing for them and sign on the dotted line.
Sales, like anything else worth pursuing, is a slow and often times painful grind. But it’s worth it in the end. Seeing the finished product, the smile on the customers face, and the growth your business sees will be immeasurable. Hopefully this niche content is bringing you value. We’ll continue as we get requests and things come up that yield itself to this longer, more specific format.
About the Author & UniSyn
Jon Cagle like to say he helps businesses grow. From small single tech shops who are just getting started, to veteran HVAC shops with 20+ service vans. From a business's first dollar, to the first $20 million dollar year.
Jon's knowledge and his company — UNISYN Technologies — can help any size company improve their marketing, boost sales and increase the bottom line. UNISYN technologies has precisely targeted a selection of services surrounding business development and online marketing. They don’t try to be everything to everyone.
Jon sticks to what he knows and that allows him to dig deep and know the exact course your business needs to take to grow.
If you have any questions about this process, or would like to ask specific questions please do not hesitate to contact Jon at UNISYN Technologies. "We’re here to help you and would love to talk, hear your story, or even hear why we’re totally full of it," he says!