June 12, 2008
As I mentioned in my previous article, there are good and bad options to use when closing. A good optional close is, "Do you want this air conditioner with this air cleaner?"
As I mentioned in my previous article, there are good and bad options to use when closing. A good optional close is, "Do you want this air conditioner with this air cleaner?" Bad optional closes are, "Do you want a heat pump or a 'straight cool' air conditioner?" or "Do you want the 13-SEER or the 14-SEER?" Those types of decisions are exactly what cause the customer to say, "I need to think it over.” Try to resolve those issues before making your initial closing attempt. In fact, prior to closing, try to land them on: 1. The need 2. The value of doing business with you 3. The specific model they'll want (as long as they can afford it and justify your price in their own minds). Ask a lot of questions along the way. Get feedback from the customer. Listening carefully to their answers with an open mind helps to steer you in the right direction so you make the right recommendations. When you make your recommendations, make one option a pretty good package and another a much better deal or “fit.” In other words, make one option one that makes really good sense and another that doesn’t make as much sense. Don't try to sell them what you want to sell. Ask questions that will tell you what they want to buy. Don't try to steer them in any particular direction. That's what everybody else does. Instead, let the answers to your questions steer you into knowing what to recommend. If you hit the right buttons, they've already made all their decisions prior to your initial closing attempt. So, you've gotten to this point and you're recommending replacement equipment. What if you're unable to isolate things down to one particular furnace or air conditioner and they give you the "I want to think it over objection"? Narrow your questions down so that the only decision they have left to make is to decide exactly what equipment they want. Ask something like, "So, you're going to buy a new heating and cooling system, and you'd be comfortable with me doing this for you; you just need to decide which equipment you want?" They might respond with, "No, we think your prices are too high," or some other objection, which is fine. Then, it's not a matter of overcoming the "I want to think it over objection," it's a matter of overcoming the "price objection!" That's good information to have, isn't it? You don't want to leave the call believing they're going to buy from you and they just need to decide which equipment they want, when in reality, they don’t need to think it over, they've decided to buy from your lower-priced competitor. The Upgrade Close: When things are going well, they'll answer in the affirmative. Yes, they do want to buy from you, they just need to decide what equipment to select. Say, "Okay, why don't I just put you on the schedule for next week? You've got a three-day right to cancel anyway. I’ll just write you up for (the lower priced model you've talked about) and make a note here stating that you can upgrade your purchase to (the higher priced model) we talked about for $X? If you decide to go with the better model, just give me a call. Otherwise, we'll come out here expecting to install (the lower priced model you've talked about). By the way, if you decide once we get here that you want the better model, just let us know and we'll have it delivered here to the jobsite. The first few hours are all disassembly anyway, so there's very little loss in efficiency for us. This way I can get you on the schedule and get this done for you." You can use this technique when they're trying to decide on whether they want to go with a heat pump, a straight cool air conditioner, or just about any upgrade you can think of. Giving the customer some alone time: It's been said that a good salesman never leaves the prospect alone. Allow me to correct that statement. Actually, a poor salesman never leaves the prospect alone. Occasionally, the customer has already decided what particular equipment they want and will still tell you they need to think things over. You know what amazes me? Sometimes a married couple can listen to what a total stranger has to say and make up their minds to hand over several thousand dollars for the permanent installation of a product that will directly affect their comfort and overall enjoyment of living in the home without even taking a few moments to talk things over in private. When that happens, I think it's a minor miracle. Yet, that's exactly what we expect our customers to do. If you were in their position, wouldn't you want to discuss things with your spouse for at least a few minutes before making a final decision of that magnitude? Sure you would. Ever run a call where you quoted the customer on equipment, been told they need to talk it over, leave, then had them call the office with the go ahead before you even arrived on your next call? All in all, the outcome was acceptable, but let's face it, leaving without the order is always risky. If all they needed was ten minutes or so of private discussion, you could have given them that opportunity while you were still there. There is a very simple way to do this. As you know, I always do a complete inspection as part of my calls. This includes removing all access panels on their existing equipment within reason. After going over my findings on the equipment with the customer, I always conclude that portion of the presentation by saying, "I'm going to reassemble your equipment later, but I'll just leave it open for the time being in case we need to refer back to something in here during our conversation." After I've made my first closing attempt and the customer has told me they need a little extra time, I can respond by saying, "Of course you do, I need to go put your equipment back together anyway." As long as you’re recommending what they truly want to buy and have impressed them enough to want to do business with you, the few minutes they get alone while you’re reassembling their equipment is often all the time they need to reach a decision and to survive the "I want to think it over" objection. 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 1-800-963-HVAC (4822). Email Charlie at [email protected] .