Running Service Step Nine: Closing on Service Calls

June 1, 2010
Editor’s Note: Charlie Greer is in the midst of a year-long primer designed to teach you what to do when running service calls, and how to maximize each call in an honest and professional manner. Here is installment number 9.

Editor's Note: Charlie Greer is in the midst of a year-long primer designed to teach you what to do when running service calls, and how to maximize each call in an honest and professional manner. Here is installment number 9.

Since we’re in the air conditioning season, this will be an example of a very typical "no cool" call on a non-working system.

The Situation
Replacing the contactor in the outdoor unit would get it running.

Other observations of the outdoor unit are:

  • Significantly blocked condenser coil
  • Compressor is running high amps on start-up
  • Capacitor is low on charge.

Inside, I notice:

  • Dirty blower
  • Dirty indoor coil (can be cleaned in place)
  • Dirty furnace.

I'm going to recommend all this be cleaned up, to improve the customer's indoor air quality.

The equipment is fairly new, but does not appear to have been kept maintained. Some maintenance would:

  • Reduce their energy consumption
  • Improve their indoor air quality
  • Getting them better cooling and heat
  • Increase airflow
  • Extend the life of their equipment
  • Make the equipment last longer.

Cleaning up their equipment may even:

  • Get them a better night's sleep
  • Improve their health
  • Improve everyone's performance at work, play, and school.

What I Say
"Mrs. Jones, I've completed my diagnostic. Would you like to know what'’s wrong, the expenses involved, and how long it will take to fix?" (Naturally, she'll respond in the affirmative.) "Do you mind stepping outside to your air conditioner with me?"

Once we get near the equipment, I'll ask, "Mrs. Jones, has no one ever consulted with you on the required maintenance of your central heating/cooling system?"

Whether she says yes or no, I continue with, "The majority of the expense today is a direct result of a lack of maintenance.

"At this point it looks like it's going to need a new one of these to get it running. It's called a contactor," and I'll place a contactor in her hand.

I'll point out the blockage on the coil and say, "This radiator coil here is how your compressor cools itself. It's got serious blockage. This blockage has been causing your compressor to run hot and your electric bill to be too high, so it must be cleaned up, or you're going to lose your compressor.

"Your compressor is drawing high amps upon start-up, so it'll need one of these," and I hand her a hard-start kit.

I say, "Let’s go inside," and we head over to her furnace.

When we reach the furnace, the dirty blower will have been pulled out and is sitting on the floor next to the furnace. I'll say, "That blower will need to be taken outside, disassembled, cleaned, reassembled and re-installed."

I'll go on to explain, "There's a radiator coil attached to the furnace which is attached to the outside unit via these two little copper pipes. It's blocked, too. That blocks your airflow and causes all kinds of problems, such as high gas bills and component failure. It can also cause your air conditioner's compressor to go out on you, so it must be cleaned up, too.

"Once I get everything cleaned up, I'm going to give you the option of improving your filtration system and installing a system sterilizer (UV light), so you won't have to keep having to pay me to clean it up for you. It will also make the air inside your home a lot cleaner and healthier, and make your equipment last longer. You'll also have fewer breakdowns.

"Your furnace itself will require routine cleaning. I can't do that today, because all out trucks are set up for air conditioning only this time of year. But, I've got a whole list of people I do that for between seasons. Do you want me to put you on the list to receive a reminder?" It's unusual for them to say no, even if they're just being agreeable.

"Do you want me to see if I can get you a discount on it?" Again, it's unusual for them to say no. This question sets you up for the service agreement sale.

Presenting the Price

Next I'll say, "As far as the pricing goes, everything comes out of our standardized price manual. This is your assurance that I'm not looking at you and trying to determine how much money you've got, or making the price up as I go along, or charging different prices by the neighborhood. Everyone pays the same rate, regardless of who they are, where they live, or which tech does the job, except for our maintenance agreement customers. They get a discount.

"And as far as I'm concerned, my job is to charge you the least amount of money possible.

"I'll be happy to show you all the prices straight out of the book, but what I normally do is write them down on a sheet of paper to make it easy for you to read." At this point I pull out the Paper Towel Close.

"As you can see, there are two prices for everything. That's because our maintenance agreement customers get a discount. You pay for the agreement, but the discounts offset the price of the agreement.

"As a courtesy, I went ahead and made you a maintenance agreement customer as if you were already one before I got here. That way I can give you all the discounts and keep your bill as low as possible.

"Here are the prices for everything that needs to be done, and here's your bottom line. And that's the way to spend the least amount of money possible."

That's how I present the diagnostic, the products, and the price. Memorize this presentation exactly as it appears here and you'll close more sales of service agreements, components cleaning, filtration and UV lights. You'll also have healthier, happier customers.

Charlie Greer is a service technician and an award-winning HVAC salesman. He teaches service techs and salespeople how to increase their sales with "Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD," "Slacker's Guide to HVAC Sales on Audio CD," and in "Charlie Greer's Sales Survival School," held in Fort Myers, FL, and at private companies. Charlie’s website is Call Charlie at 800/963-HVAC (4822). E-mail Charlie at [email protected].