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Charlie Greer: Home Shows and Replacement Sales

Nov. 23, 2023

Home show works ... when you work them right. Here are my two major strategies.

Display Some Equipment

Having condensing units, heat pumps, boilers, furnaces, and IAQ products in your booth is helpful.

In sales, tangibles, such as cars, clothing, jewelry, etc., are things you can pick up and put in your hands. Intangibles are "ideas", such as insurance and investments. Professional salespeople find tangles much easier to sell than intangibles. As HVAC salespeople, we're selling a tangible product, but because the best you can do is show a picture of it, it might as well be an intangible. 

Where I worked, we had a small reception area measuring about 12-ft. X 15-ft. I moved several pieces of equipment in there and made some fliers stating why we were their best option in choosing a service provider. I framed testimonials and hung them on the walls to give people something to read while they were waiting.

If I couldn't close them on the first call, on my way out the door, I'd ask, "Did you want to see the actual air conditioner I'm recommending for you?" When they said, "Yes," I'd mention, "We do have this very small showroom. I've got the air conditioner I've recommended to you in there, as well as a few other models. You're welcome to come by and take a look at them. If you'll let me know you're coming in advance, I can meet you there to answer any questions, or you can just stop in at your convenience. No appointment necessary." 

Every couple that came to look at the equipment bought from me. It's the same thing with home shows. You're an HVAC company, so put some HVAC on display. 

Quote Prices

When people at a home show ask, "About how much is a new air conditioner?" salespeople tend to get very evasive and are reluctant to even quote a ballpark price. 

If a salesperson won't give you the price on an item without first giving you the sales pitch, what's the one thing you know about the price before you get it? Some people say, "The price must be high." I say it means that the salesperson thinks it's high. Think about it, if you thought your price was so low that you might as well be giving it away, when a customer asked the price, you'd respond with a "take it or leave it" attitude, right? 

I was the only salesperson, that brought my price book with me. When people asked me for a ballpark price, I would ask, "Do you know what capacity you need or about what size your house is?"  I would open the price book and say, "Before we come to a formal agreement, I'll come out and measure your house and do a load calculation on it where, based on its construction,  I know exactly how much heat it gains on the hottest say of the summer and how much heat it loses on the coldest day of the winter, but based on what you're telling me, it looks like you need about this size. As you can see, there are several different options, so while I'm there I look everything over and recommend which of these would best suit your individual situation, and we can take it from there. That's at no charge, by the way." 

I'd pull out my calendar, and say, "When's a convenient time for me to come out?" 

Every single person who asks you the price of a replacement home comfort system already knows they need and want one, and will speak with every HVAC contractor at that home show. The only other contractors at that show who dare to quote prices will be the low-price leaders. That doesn't scare me. 

What to Expect

In my most successful home show, the contractor next to us had stacks of builder's grade condensing units  with a big sign stating that the installed price was about one-quarter of the lowest-priced condensing unit that I had. The other salespeople that worked with me were refusing to quote prices and were struggling to get appointments. They kind of hated home show leads because they hardly ever closed them. 

At that show, nearly everyone I spoke with booked an appointment with me. I could only work the home show a couple of hours because I had all these hot appointments set. Every single person I saw bought from me on the first call. They had already spoken with other contractors and already knew my price. There really wasn't much to talk about or "sell" once I got there.

CHARLIE GREER was voted "Favorite Industry Sales Trainer," "HVAC Consultant of the Year," and is a member of the Contracting Business Hall of Fame. For info on Charlie's products or services, call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822) or go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com. Email you questions or comments to [email protected].

About the Author

Charlie Greer | Owner

Charlie Greer was voted “Favorite Industry Sales Trainer” in 2019 and is the creator of “Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD,” the video training course that provides you with a year’s worth of weekly sales meetings. For more information on Charlie’s products and services, go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822). Email your comments or sales questions to [email protected].