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Running Service Step 10: Getting the Signature

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. "I'll tell you everything I do; from the moment the call is dispatched, to the greeting at the front door, to closing and handling objections, down to what I do to prevent 'buyer's remorse,'" Charlie says. Here is installment number 10.

At this point, I've completed my diagnostic, drawn up a Paper Towel Close (PTC), and presented the prices and options to the customer. While I'm getting the signature, I'll get a few of the details out of the way, like my expectations regarding payment for my services and what they would like me to do with their old parts.

I keep my invoice on the clipboard, under the PTC.

Once they give me the verbal "go ahead," I pull the service invoice out from under the PTC, and say, "Okay Mr(s). (customer’s name) . We always get written authorization before we proceed. For now, I'm just going to 'bottom-line' it right here (write the price down on the form). I'll fill out the rest later, when I'm done with the work and can give you a full report. For right now, you just sign here stating that you want the work done, you want me to remove the old parts and you're going to pay me when I'm done. Then you’ll sign it again when the work is completed."

Your Demeanor is Important
Don’t act too anxious to make extensive improvements to their system.

You've got to act more like a dentist. You go to your dentist with what you think is a simple cavity. You estimate that will cost you $80 to have it filled. Your dentist looks things over and tells you you’re going to need an extraction, two root canals and a bridge. Your total bill will be $4,000. Not only does your dentist not apologize (or act self-conscious in the least), you are subjected to a lecture on the necessity of preventive maintenance. You'll also have to listen to a little complaining about how the schedule is going to be disrupted because no one expected to have you occupy the chair for three to four hours.

When you see extremely dirty equipment with a number of deficiencies, act the same way you would if you had company over to watch the Super Bowl at your house and, in the middle of the game, you realized your blower motor had gone bad and you have to fix it now or have frozen water pipes by morning. You wouldn’t be all that happy about it or view it as an "opportunity," would you?

It's Just a List
If you're doing a thorough, conscientious inspection, your PTC will be close to a page long. Don'’t feel self-conscious about that. You're just doing your job; what they're paying you to do.

Don't regard your PTC as a "sales tool." It's just a list of deficiencies in their system. You're not trying to sell them; you're trying to enlighten them. Every once in a while, someone is supposed to thank you for pointing out everything that's wrong with their system and for giving them the opportunity to correct it and live a healthier life.

Since that overwhelming majority of techs tend to spot one problem, fix it and go, you might have to put up with comments like this on a regular basis: "How come no one else has ever brought these things up to me?"

There are two responses for that:

  • Central air conditioning and heating are relatively new inventions and the equipment is constantly changing. The industry is still learning about them. We've just had some additional training that has enabled us to answer questions and provide solutions for problems with central air conditioning and heating that no one had been addressing previously.
  • If you like, you can always request me.

Six Reminders

  1. Project confidence. Act like you know what you're doing and you're confident that you're going to resolve their problems. Make eye contact.
  2. Project a positive level of expectation. Act like you expect them to cooperate, believe you, and be receptive to what you're saying.
  3. Be matter-of-fact about things. Don't act like you're trying to convince them of anything or that you need some kind of emotional approval. It's okay if they're distraught or even a little irritated or angry.
  4. Don't be apologetic for finding thousands of dollars worth of deficiencies in their system. You didn't cause the problem. This is their problem, not yours. You're just there providing them with solutions.
  5. Keep it short. We talk ourselves out of more sales than we talk ourselves into. See how little you can say and still make the sale. Anything you don't say prior to giving them their first opportunity to make a decision, you can always say later. Say only those things that will help you to close a sale. If you think you can close the sale without saying it, don't say it.
  6. Once you've said your piece, remain silent. Don't repeat yourself unless they ask you to. Then repeat back what you said the exact same way you said it earlier.

Charlie Greer teaches "Charlie Greer's Sales Survival School." The Fort Myers, FL session for service technicians is October 5-8, 2010; the session for HVAC salespeople is October 12-15, 2010. Charlie also conducts sales training for private companies. Complete details are on Charlie's website: Call Charlie at 800-963-HVAC (4822), or e-mail him at [email protected].

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