Sales Tips From an HVAC Sales Idol

Aug. 1, 2008
Jared Corpron is the reigning Comfortech Idol and will compete for the title of “Grande Champion” at “Comfortech Idol: Tournament of Champions,” to be held at HVAC Comfortech 2008 in Atlanta, this September.
Jared Corpron shows off his trophy as the winner of Comfortech Idol 2007 in St. Louis, MO.

Jared Corpron is the reigning Comfortech Idol and will compete for the title of “Grande Champion” at “Comfortech Idol: Tournament of Champions,” to be held at HVAC Comfortech 2008 in Atlanta, this September.

Jared became Comfortech Idol 2007 by closing a sale in a role-playing exercise in front of a live audience at HVAC Comfortech.

For a small fee you can listen to Jared’s awardwinning performance, and learn how he overcame tough objections and closed the sale in a graceful manner, at Click on the link that reads, “Get your HVAC Comfortech 2007 Audio Recordings here.” The audio recording includes both “Comfortech Idol Elimination Rounds,” and the “Comfortech Idol Grande Finale,” as well as every other seminar and session held at HVAC Comfortech 2007.

You can read a summary of last year’s competition (and pick up some sales tips) by reading “Lessons Learned at Comfortech Idol 2007,” in the November, 2007 issue of Contracting Business on page 70.

Jared started as a bilingual dispatcher in the office of an HVAC contractor in Salt Lake City, UT, in October of 2002, and had no HVAC experience. Six months later he was named the general manager and had over 40 employees and their family’s livelihoods on his shoulders.

I recently caught up with Jared and took the opportunity to find out what helped him win Comfortech Idol 2007.

Charlie Greer: How did you get started in HVAC sales?

Jared Corpron: I had just been named the General Manager and a sales course was coming to Salt Lake City, UT. I decided if I was going to manage sales I should have a better understanding of what was happening in the field. So I went to this weeklong course with several of my employees.

I’d never sold or installed a furnace or air conditioner before, but the training was phenomenal and made everything seem easy. My employees, on the other hand, told me that most of what the guy taught us didn’t apply to our market and they couldn’t do most of what he said, like sell a $10,000 job.

In my typical fashion, I decided to prove them wrong. I went overboard and memorized every flash card the instructor gave us and spent my evenings practicing what was taught at the course.

The first Monday after the class, I went out and ran my first sales call. I followed exactly what I was taught at the seminar, and sold a $10,000 job. When I saw how much it motivated my employees, and more importantly, how it affected their sales, I decided to stay in the field and keep selling.

CG: Do you still use the same process that you were taught in that first class?

JC: I’ve been to dozens of sales seminars and read hundreds of books on sales, business, and psychology. The process I now use is a combination of everything I have learned. It varies from one customer to the next, depending on what needs to be done to meet their needs and close the sale.

CG: Why do you think you were able to win against experienced, sales veterans?

JC: In almost every sales call I walk into I have less experience and less technical knowledge than my competitors. Yet, almost every time I walk out with the customer telling me how much better I explained everything and how I was so much more thorough. That’s why they’re so willing to give me their money, and usually more than what my competitors would’ve charged them.

Training, not just sitting in a class, can create great salespeople. I feel I’m an example of that, but more importantly, I’ve been able to watch training transform the companies for which I have worked. I’ve been able to watch great people succeed along with me, and that’s what I love.

CG: What do you mean when you say you are more thorough in your presentation?

JC: Heat loads are probably the easiest example. Even though they took me 30 minutes to explain when I first started selling, I used that time to prove to the customer that I was doing my job. They saw I was going above and beyond. That meant the job was going to be installed right, so they could pay a little more.

People who use rules of thumb or “experience” to determine what the house needs are the easiest people to sell against. Now, I use software and a laptop computer that enables me to do an ACCA certified load calc in five minutes, which makes it even easier to set myself apart from my competition.

CG: What’s the best advice you can give your fellow HVAC salespeople?

JC: Do your job, and get credit for doing it. Training is a requisite. Everyone wants to bring in the sales guy from outside of the industry these days. For them, or for any salesperson, to be successful, they must have the best training available.

Have the tools to prove your expertise, such as a laptop and the right software.

CG: Did your sales ability benefit you as a manager?

JC: Everything about HVAC is related to sales. Whether you’re trying to get installers to work on a Saturday, a technician to take an extra call, or calling the office to ask questions that they think are a little weird, every part of every day involves sales. I just applied what I’ve learned in sales to my management style. Selling my employees, and of course the owners, on the end goal enabled us to grow and make more money every year that I was a general manager.

I sold everyone on being the best and they did it.

I recommend that all sales managers and contractors take sales training. Sales come first and the rest can wait. I don’t know how many times I had other things to do but stopped to help someone close one of their sales, or to close a sale of my own.

I always felt my job was simply to ensure that we always sold and installed everything properly.

CG: Can you describe your sales process?

JC: Complete! It’s the little things that make what I do special.

From the very beginning, I demonstrate confidence and expertise that homeowners enjoy.

Every instance I get, I say things like, “While we’re installing your equipment, we’ll upgrade this flue to meet code.” There is no “if,” because there is no choice. Never give them the option to not buy. Give them two options and watch what happens.

I firmly believe that the companies I have worked for deserved the business of every customer, so I showed that belief in every part of the sales call.

I have an outgoing, energetic personality, and I use it to become their friend and help them relax enough to be able to communicate effectively.

Charlie Greer is the creator of “Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD,” and “Slacker’s Guide to HVAC Sales on Audio CD.” For information on Charlie’s products and speaking schedule, visit his website at or call 800/963-HVAC (4822). Email Charlie at [email protected]