Presenting the Price: The Setup

March 1, 2008
At this point in the call, the inspection is complete, you've gone out to your truck, decided what you want to do on this call, and written up your Paper Towel Close, as described in the last newsletter.

At this point in the call, the inspection is complete, you've gone out to your truck, decided what you want to do on this call, and written up your Paper Towel Close, as described in the last newsletter.

Carry all tools, parts, mats, drop lights, rags, vacuum cleaner, hose, chemicals — anything and everything you'll need in order to do the job before quoting the price and getting permission to proceed. This is assumptive, but it's not too assumptive. The customer called you to make the repairs and they expect you to make them, so it's appropriate for you to do this.

Is This Pushy?
You're not doing this to be pushy. Often, it's expected. Have you ever shown up on a call, scoped out the situation, excused yourself to price up the job, and then, when you go to present the price, the customer asks, "Is it fixed already?"

It's old-fashioned. It's the way furnace men used to work. When I was a kid, the furnace man would come out and talk very little, if any, about money. He'd fix it and then send a bill.

Occasionally, as you're setting up, the customer will inquire, "How much is this going to cost?" When that occurs, stop setting up and do your presentation.

Don't skip this step. This is not a risk on your part. Being ready to work once you get the go-ahead greatly improves your odds of getting the job. People are reluctant to send you on your way when you're already set up to make the repair. I know that I've made a number of sales recently, despite the customer's strong objection to the price, solely because I was all set up and ready to go.

Tangibles vs. Intangibles
If you're going to survive running service in these tough economic times, you're going to want to use every tool available, so bring whatever you're going to sell them, be it an electrical component, a motor, a filter, whatever, into the house with you. This converts the sale from an intangible product to a tangible product. In sales, there are two kinds of products — tangibles and intangibles. Intangible products are things like insurance and investments, and are a more difficult sale than tangible products, such as fan motors. Make things easy on yourself and show the customer the product.

You'll be surprised how interested your customers will find some of the most boring, mundane little products that you carry in your truck, so develop a little 10 to 15 second speech on each product. It makes them feel better about their decision.

Location, Location, Location
Whenever you talk to customers about their equipment, talk about the equipment in front of the equipment. Don't try to sell cleaning the equipment to a woman at the kitchen sink while she washes her dishes or to a man while you're walking alongside him as he mows his lawn.

Calling them down to the equipment assures you have control of the call. Also, the visual aid will help your customers to understand what you're talking about. A coil cleaning is an intangible unless it's sold while standing in front of dirty equipment.

No Fear
Don't act like a salesman when quoting the price. My personal philosophy is, stop "selling." Be very matter-of-fact, confident, and self-assured without appearing conceited or arrogant.

Look to the large chain auto repair shops for an example of how to act. The guys standing behind the counter take your information, have a mechanic look your car over, draw up a list of problems, solutions and prices, take you into the garage to show you the problems, and explain why they require attention and the necessity of having it done now, then take you back to the counter and present the price. After hearing the explanation, you usually buy.

My question is, where's the fear? Where's the worry that you're not going to buy? It's as if those issues never entered into their minds.

Did you know that those guys are usually salesmen working on straight commission? You'd never know it by how they act, would you? They're not really "selling," are they? Or, are they? That's how you should act.

Don't question whether or not the customer is going to buy, and don't be timid. You didn't cause the problem, and you're not getting rich off their misfortune. You can feel sorry for them, but don't be apologetic. There really is nothing you can do for the customer but solve their problem by fixing their equipment, and you're going to have to charge for it. It costs money to own a house and it costs money to own a furnace, boiler, or air conditioner.

It also costs money to run a service company. You've got your problems and they've got theirs. Your money problems are not their money problems, and their money problems are not yours. Their money problems, as well as yours, are the result of the decisions they've made to-date, and are irrelevant.

Don't forget, you're "the man." They've got a problem, you've got the solution, and what's more, you're ready to go.

A price complaint is not always a price objection. Everyone, including you, complains about the high cost of service and repairs. So what?

In the next newsletter, I'll tell what to actually say when presenting the price.

Charlie "Tec Daddy" Greer is the creator of "Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD," and "Slacker's Guide to HVAC Sales on Audio CD." He's also the trainer of "Charlie Greer's Sales Survival School," held every spring and fall in Ft. Myers, FL. For information on Charlie's products and speaking schedule, visit his website at or call 800/963-HVAC (4822). E-mail Charlie at [email protected].