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High-Performance Selling

March 17, 2021
High-Performance involves using simple system testing and diagnostics on every call. You have to get out of the box-swapping mentality and into a 'doing the right thing' frame of mind.

I sat down recently with an old industry friend who is very experienced in both the technical and sales side of High-Performance Contracting. Last year he took a position as a Comfort Advisor for a mid-sized, mostly residential HVAC business. He relayed to me how frustrating the experience was. The owner insisted he run at least 5-6 calls a day and sell as many boxes as possible.

The result was a dismal closing rate of 30% (although that is above the industry average). My friend also sold very little additional work, as he had to rush from one call to the next instead of taking time to educate customers and perform basic testing. His average visit length was less than an hour, and he had to hurry to get to the next lead.

After less than a year of this insanity, he was completely frustrated. His closing rates continued to fall, he was unhappy, and so was the boss. Needless to say, they parted company, both with a bad taste in their mouths.

What made it even harder is that my friend knew better. He took his time to do it right in previous positions, running an average of three sales calls a day with an 80% closing rate and average ticket nearly double that of an equipment swap-out. But his boss just wouldn't let him do it his way.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you been on either side of a similar situation? As an owner, are you going through salespeople, not understanding why they can't close more sales, and why they don't stick around very long? Are you a salesperson frustrated with this industry where it seems hard to make money and don't feel like you're making a difference? 

There is a Better Way
When you take the High-Performance selling approach, many of these issues naturally go away. You may ask, what is different about this approach?  The answer is: everything!

First, it requires a different mindset. You have to get out of the box-swapping mentality and into a "doing the right thing" frame of mind. This doesn't mean you'll sell less equipment -- just the opposite. You'll sell more systems, and most customers will buy higher-end equipment from you.

How can you do this? By educating your customer about their system, its deficiencies, and how you can make it right. One of my Dad's favorite phrases was, "talk is cheap." You can teach and talk all day long, but the best way to win a customer over is to prove what you're saying is true.

"You have to spend enough time to educate your customer about what you are doing differently."

That's what makes High-Performance selling different. It involves using simple system testing and diagnostics on every call. It includes showing the customer your findings in simple, layman's terms. The beauty of this approach is you're no longer selling. They are buying.

Second, it takes a little longer than a quick swap-out call. You have to spend enough time to first educate your customer about what you are doing differently. Next, you involve them in the testing process and show them that what you tell them is true. Finally, together you come up with the best solution that fits their needs and budget. Financing is a great tool to help ease the initial financial pain.

When done right, this process usually takes between 1-1/2 and 2 hours depending on the house's size, equipment location, etc. If you do everything correctly and in the right sequence, it should only take about 10 minutes to write the proposal and get a signature.

Fewer Calls, More Results
With this approach, you won't be able to run more than three calls a day. But imagine if you closed two of them? What if on some days you closed three out of three? Add to that an average ticket 50 to 100% higher than just a box-swap - at more than double the net profit. Now you have a winning formula for success and growth.

Of course, it's impossible to share everything about the process in this short editorial. To help you research this some more, here are a couple of free downloads to get you started: The first one is typically emailed to the customer before the visit: The second piece is used as a roadmap during the sales call to help your customer understand what you are doing differently, step-by-step:

Ready to try a new approach? This one could really change the game for you and your company!

Dominick Guarino is CEO of National Comfort Institute (NCI) (, one of the nation's premier Performance-BasedTM training, certification, and membership organization focused on helping contractors grow and become more profitable. He can be reached at For more info on Performance-Based ContractingTM, go to or call NCI at 800/633-7058.