Sales situations in which only one-half of a couple is present are called ‘one-leggers.’

Residential HVAC Sales: Dealing With ‘One-Leggers’

Aug. 22, 2014
In residential HVAC sales, the trick to overcoming objections is finding the true objection. Must the customer talk to someone else, or is it just a smoke-screen?

Sales situations in which only one-half of a couple is present are called ‘one-leggers.’ I don’t have the same problems with one-leggers that other technicians and salespeople do.  It’s not because of my super powers or superior sales skills. It’s because of the way I was raised. As far as I know, my mother made all the business decisions and handled every single thing regarding home maintenance, finances, and pretty much the entire family.

When making purchase decisions, the only time she said she must to talk to her husband about it was when she had no intention of buying. So, to me, it’s only natural that the woman of the house handle the affairs of the household.

Your Attitude

Many aspects of salesmanship are affected by our own attitudes and mindsets. One-leggers are no exception. If you’re the type of person who says, “If my wife spent any money without asking me, I’d kill her,” you probably can’t sell the woman alone.

One-leggers have the objection of “I have to talk this over with my husband/wife/or some other higher authority” built in, but they can still be closed, as long as they want what you’re selling.

Sometimes they say they can’t make the decision alone, and that the other party cannot be reached. If it’s a really important decision, and one-half of a married couple was unable to make it alone, wouldn’t you think that, in most cases, the other party would find a way to be available, at least by telephone or text message?

When you don’t close it on that visit, it’s rare that you ever hear from them again. In cases like that, it’s obvious that the decision actually was made by the party you talked to. You were not recommended for the job and they bought from someone else.

The True Objection

The trick to overcoming this objection, and really any objection, is getting to the true objection. Does the customer really have to talk to someone else, or is it just a smoke-screen they’re using to put off making a decision or hide the true objection because they feel like giving you a flat “no” is confrontational?

When you get the “I have to talk it over with …” objection, the first thing to do is find out how the person you are speaking to feels about your offer. Ask, “How do you feel about it?” Here’s another: “Okay. What are you going to tell him/her?”

The key is to try to learn how this person, who supposedly does not have decision-making authority, feels about your proposal.

Become A Co-Conspirator

If the person you’re talking to (who claims not to have decision-making authority) wants what you’re recommending, become a co-conspirator and give that person some sales training. Tell them what to say to their other half.

If they want to call their husband and have you talk to him, when they hand you the phone, put your hand over the mouthpiece and ask, “If it’s okay with him, is it okay with you?”

Then, when you talk to the husband, one of the first things you’ll say is, “I’ve gone over all the details with your wife, and she says that it’s okay with her, if it’s okay with you.” When it works, you’ll find that you usually don’t have to say much after that.

In these days of modern technology, you can often take a picture of your ‘Paper Towel Close’ and email it to the third party so they can go over it with them over the phone while they look at it, which can really shorten and simplify the conversation.

What If The Other Party Is Asleep In Bed?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking, “Should we wake him/her up?” You’d be surprised at how many people are totally receptive to that option.

Playing amateur psychologist, I’ll theorize that it’s because it shifts at least half of the decision-making responsibility on to another party, and people tend to like to do that. My theory is that people who get awakened to talk to a service tech or an HVAC salesman figure it must be important.

So, don’t ever blow the call off and not even try to close when there is some built-in objection. Always talk to everyone, regardless of how they present themselves, as if they have full decision-making authority, and you’ll make more sales.

Charlie Greer has been writing a monthly column in this magazine for 10 years. Charlie’s “Slacker’s Guide to HVAC Sales” and “Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD” provide you with numerous methods to overcome all the common objections. For more information on Charlie’s products, seminars, and services, call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822), or go to Email Charlie at [email protected]. For a good time, become a Facebook friend at