- Look the address up on one of the real estate websites. You might learn square footage, the number of bedrooms and baths, what they paid for it, and when they bought it before you even ring the doorbell
- Look the address up on Google maps
- If the prospect is a previous customer, look up their history with the company
- Do a web search on the prospect
- See what other work your company has done on their street
- If the prospect is a referral, find out by whom, and their history with your company.
CALL A NEIGHBOR:
If your company has done a replacement job for one of their neighbors, you want to make sure that neighbor would give you a positive review before you go volunteering that information. Make a courtesy call to that neighbor. Look the customer up and see if there were any problems with the installation and see if they've been renewing their service agreement.
Say something like, "Hello, this is Charlie Greer with (your company name). We replaced your air conditioner for you a few years ago. I'm just calling to ask if it's still running well for you."
They'll say something, and when appropriate, say, "I noticed you haven't renewed your service agreement. You really ought to keep it maintained if you want it to last a long time, limit breakdowns, and keep your utility bills to a minimum. The service agreement includes the maintenance and you can get it for the discounted price of $____." (Who knows? You just might sell a service agreement over the phone and get the commission for that. You can deliver it in person while you're in the neighborhood.)
They'll say something. When it's your turn to talk ask, "Were you satisfied with the installation? If asked, would you feel comfortable recommending our company?"
If they've got a complaint, you can stop by while you're in the neighborhood. If not, you can tell your prospective customer you've the appointment with about them with complete confidence.
I carried a couple of loose leaf binders. One had all my company's recent advertising, including the scripts from our radio and television ads in page protectors. This went a long way in avoiding disagreements over a specific advertisement (which the customer will never have on hand, but think it says...).
This binder also had all my competitor's recent advertising that came to me in the mail or was printed in local publications. Familiarize yourself with their offers.
Another binder had all the manufacturer's brochures on all makes and models that I could get my hands on. They were also kept in page protectors.
An old sales adage says, "Know your competition." When customers ask about a competitor's company or a different brand name, don't stonewall them or play dumb. Pull out your binder and say, "I'm very familiar with them. Was there anything in particular you wanted to ask about?"
I feel those binders kind of speak volumes about who I am as an HVAC professional. They show that I take an interest in what I do for a living, that I'm organized, and that I'm familiar with the marketplace.
Most sales people won't go to that kind of trouble, which is exactly why you'd want to do it.
THE CONFIRMING PHONE CALL:
As unreliable as people are these days, most homeowners are surprised to learn that you actually intend to arrive at the appointed time, and, unless you call ahead, many of them won't be ready for you when you get there!
Call about 10-15 minutes before you're expected to be there, even if the appointment was made that day. If they're an hour away, wait until you’re about 10-15 minutes away before making the call.
You: Hello, Mr(s). (homeowner's name) ? This is (your name) with the air conditioning company. We talked about my taking at look at your air conditioner today. (I intentionally did not state the name of my company, because sometimes they wager a guess, and it isn’t my company. That tells me from whom they’re planning on getting at least one other bid.)
Them: Yes, that's right. We're here waiting on you.
You: Good. I just thought I'd call to let you know I'll be out your way in about ten minutes or so.
Them: Well, we'll be here.
You: Let's see now, you're near ( name a landmark).
Them: That's right. You go... ( and give you directions to their home ).
Charlie Greer is an award-winning HVAC salesman and sales trainer. Can't wait all year to learn his process? Get Charlie's "Slacker's Guide to HVAC Sales." Details can be found at www.hvacprofitboosters.com or by calling 1-800-864-HVAC (4822). Email Charlie at [email protected]