Get Your Customers Involved

Getting the customer involved will make them feel like a partner and make your technicians feel good about helping them.

I heard something at the recent National Comfort Institute Summit 2016 meeting in Savannah, Georgia, that was so obvious that it makes you want to smack yourself on the forehead — get the customer actively involved. We’re not talking about getting the customer involved in a clean and check. Get the customer involved in complicated sales so they don’t think you’re just handing them a bunch of BS.

NCI, the leader in teaching contractors how to sell and conduct home performance contracting, told Summit attendees to get homeowners to help with the survey — hold the balometer or the anemometer up to registers to read and record CFMs. If you tell them that their ductwork needs to be sealed, they can see the reason why right there on the balometer with their own eyes.

We tend to think that what we’re doing is too complicated for the customer and that it will make their eyes glaze over. That may be true to a certain extent. You cannot be opaque, however, on a big-dollar sale.

We tend to think that what we’re doing is too complicated for the customer and that it will make their eyes glaze over. That may be true to a certain extent. You cannot be opaque, however, on a big-dollar sale.


Think about everything you’ve heard about in-home sales. Help the customer learn and grow. Make it easy to do business with you. Make the customer feel like a partner to forge a long-term relationship. People like to buy, especially if the purchase makes them feel good about themselves and about their home. Technicians may not be wild about selling, but they like to help people. Getting the customer involved will make them feel like a partner and make your technicians feel good about helping them.

This will become more important in the future as the products and services you are selling become more sophisticated. I would urge you to read our IdeaXchange article by Rob Falke, president of NCI, on “The Equipment Replacement Proposal of the Future,” found at bit.ly/1SZJEWk.

Falke talks about how false it really is to sell a condensing furnace and attach it to a clogged or leaky duct system. This is also true of condensing boilers that are installed on inefficient distribution systems. Sometimes the local gas utility is subsidizing the installation and telling the customer they’re getting a 95% AFUE furnace.

“Today customers are buying a 96% AFUE rated furnace that may be installed on a 50% efficient duct system,” Falke writes. “The final result is a heating system that is operating at a field verified efficiency of 48%. Is this a potential liability for you?

“Read a few of your proposals,” Falke continues. “Do your proposals suggest a 96% efficiency system? Or do you clearly indicate the 96% is the equipment rated capacity and in truth the final outcome of your work will be a far less efficient system? If you say yes to that question, how do you realistically do that?”

Contractors who have the ability to diagnose and upgrade the installed performance of the entire system, Falke points out, will be able to differentiate themselves.

Falke proposes that equipment replacements be quoted with three options, one a simple equipment replacement, the second to include testing, diagnosis and renovation work, and the best option including testing, diagnosing, upgrading and commissioning the homeowner’s heating and cooling system to deliver a minimum verified system performance of 93%.

Look, there are a bunch of others market sectors that I could recommend that you should consider, but home performance contracting is a natural. You can’t count on being able to grow revenue and market share just by selling, installing and servicing HVAC equipment. Sure, I know firms that do it, but they are exceptional.

The threats that you will face in the future from online referral services will attempt to make you look as if you are the equivalent of every other contractor. You don’t want to be equal to anyone. You want to be much better than everyone else. Creating partnerships with your customer is a good way to start.

 

 

 

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