Replacement Sales in a Tough Economy

Jan. 1, 2009
Using Service Invoices One of the easiest groups of people to sell to are customer's with ongoing problems with older equipment, and aren't in the market

Using Service Invoices

One of the easiest groups of people to sell to are customer's with ongoing problems with older equipment, and aren't in the market for a replacement.

You'll find out who these people are by reading copies of your residential service invoices.

It really helps when your service techs fill their service invoices with:

  • Homeowner's complete name and address
  • Telephone number
  • Model and serial number of equipment
  • Recommendations
  • Brief report on the condition of the equipment

The salesman should scan the invoices for repairs made on older equipment. The approximate age of equipment can be determined by consulting the Preston's Guide (, 800/513-9975). After awhile, you'll get pretty good at recognizing model and serial numbers.

Check the repair history on any customer that looks like they have potential. If you really want to be thorough, call the tech who ran the call and ask for any additional insights he can share on the equipment or the customer.

Have a pre-printed package price list for replacement equipment.

In order to establish a “sense of urgency” for their decision to replace, have a system in place that will allow you to credit all or part of what they recently paid to have their equipment repaired.

The initial phone contact

Suppose they've had more than one service call this season. You know they're having trouble with their equipment and, if you did your pre-call planning, you know they've got older equipment and it would benefit them to replace it. You might open the conversation by simply stating, “I'm in charge of all the residential work here, and any time we run more than one call in a home during any one season, I come out and take a look at it, at no additional charge, to make certain you won't be inconvenienced any further.”

What to do in the home:

Head straight over to the equipment and examine it.

Tell them that, when equipment is in the age and condition of theirs, most people opt for replacement, and ask them why they didn't. They usually tell you that the replacement option was never brought up.

Say something like, “Well, a replacement furnace for this house runs about $____, so it's not like you'd have just jumped right on it, right?” Amazingly, they'll usually say that they would have chosen the replacement option, if they'd only been given the opportunity.

After taking a long pause, I'll say, “Okay. Congratulations. You just bought yourself a new furnace. I'll credit what you paid for your last repair as the down payment.”

It really is that quick and easy. People will make a snap decision on this. They just told you they would have, had they been given the opportunity. Having said that, if they try to put off or stall making the decision, you can politely, but firmly, state that they just told you that had they been presented with this option at the time of the last repair, they would have made the decision to replace their equipment on the spot. As a courtesy, you're now giving them the money back, at significant expense to you. This is their chance for a “do-over.” Do they want it or not?

You'll still do a load calc, and a complete inspection, but using this technique, you'll do that after you gain the agreement to purchase.


Who wouldn't benefit by having cleaner, healthier air?

Re-train your technicians on the benefits and pricing of all IAQ products. Run a “special” on IAQ.

As part of every service call, whether it's a repair call or a maintenance call, require your technicians to make a list of everything that needs to be done, strike a subtotal, then put at least two IAQ products, such as a filter and a humidifier, on every single list for every single customer.

The more IAQ you quote, the more you'll sell. All you have to do is start putting it on your list and you'll start selling it.

Charlie Greer is the HVAC Consultant of the Year, and the creator of “Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD” and “Slacker's Guide to HVAC Sales on Audio CD.” The Spring, 2009 dates are set for “Charlie Greer's 4-Day Sales Survival Schools,” with separate classes for HVAC techs and salespeople. To talk to Charlie, order a free catalog, or check his training schedule, call 800/963-HVAC (4822) or visit Email Charlie at [email protected]