I conduct training seminars and ride-along coaching sessions across the entire country and complete hundreds of video and phone coaching conference calls each year, and one of the most frequently asked questions from owners, managers, salespeople and technicians is: “How can we convince customers to upgrade or replace their comfort system now?”
The answer is quite simple: Stop trying to convince people to replace or upgrade their equipment, and instead simply create an extraordinary experience by providing good information, while guiding the buyer to make the best choices for their family, their comfort, their home and their bank account for the next 20 years of their lives (or however long they remain in the home).
We all learned Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law, The Law of Motion, at some point in our lives either through education or everyday living, even if you were unaware as to whom to credit with the discovery. To paraphrase The Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
This law can be applied to sales. When you try to convince someone of something, you are exerting a certain amount of force to prove your point no matter how gentle your demeanor may be. The force you exert will be met with resistance and/or apprehension from your customer and yield low or no sales.
To reverse this disastrous effect, stop telling your customers they should replace their equipment and start asking them a series of questions that lead them to discover for themselves that it makes sense to consider replacing their equipment and use your services to do so.
Most salespeople tell potential customers everything they know about their products and services and why they should buy from their company. Customers tend to have their guard up when dealing with anyone trying to sell them anything and doubt a fair percentage of what salespeople say.
The larger the expense, the more guarded the customer and more skeptical of the information provided. This is the reason most homeowners say they’re getting multiple bids.
You cannot teach people anything. You can only help them discover it within themselves.
~ Galileo Galilei
You can't teach homeowners anything, but you can help to point them in directions where they might learn, consider, and become motivated. You are not telling, selling, or quoting and hoping. You are sharing information and compelling people to make choices and act in their best interest.
To differentiate yourself, begin with trying to learn and understand who the customer is and what’s important to them. Seek first to listen and hear before seeking to be heard. Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.
Change your mission on a sales call to seek the TRUTH rather than to close the sale. When you seek the truth about what the customer really wants – desired outcome, experience, lifestyle, change in comfort, health, energy management, safety, and peace of mind; what’s important to them in a solution and installation and service company; what they’d feel comfortable investing to address their concerns; how they plan to pay for it; when they want the work done and when they hope to make a decision – you’ll find that the customer is more open and honest with you.
Inquire about what the customer likes and dislikes about their current system; if they could improve something what would it be; are they happy with the comfort level; is the system noisy; are they satisfied with the energy bills; and many other questions that will help you better understand how your customer interfaces with their system and how they like to live in their home. The answers you gain are exactly what the customer wants and is willing to pay for if it all makes sense.
After you have the answers, tell the customer that you don’t yet know if it would sense or not to consider replacing their system, but that they may want to at least get some information so that they can make an informed and intelligent choice for them, their family, their home and their bank account as to whether to maintain, repair or replace their existing system. You want them to rest assured that no matter what choice they make that they do so knowing all the facts. Assure them you are okay if they decide to do nothing at this time (if the equipment is still operational and safe) in order to prove your intent.
Let the customer know that you are not there to sell them anything they don’t want, don’t need, can’t afford or doesn’t make sense to them. Once the customer is assured you are there simply to inform, help, serve, and offer solution choices with their best interest in mind, gain their permission to share information with them as it relates to their concerns.
If that means doing nothing at all or doing business with someone else, promise the customer that you are okay with either scenario as long as they are willing to live with the long-term impact of their choice (and hopefully not later regret it). This level of honesty, trust and respect is paramount and more important than any level of rapport, technical expertise, or sales skills.
You should be happy if the customer is happy with their choices. Explain that you don’t want to earn their business today only to lose them as a customer tomorrow when what they buy doesn’t meet expectations.
Removing your interests from the process purifies the process and removes bias from the information shared. When consumers feel the salesperson does not have an agenda, they reveal their true nature and act in their best interests. Engaging and educating a customer opens a path to discovery to work with the person that guides them rather than sells them. Compel, don’t sell. You will do well by doing good.
In-home sales, and the proper way to undertake the process, is a key for any home services company. To learn more about the subject, and to access a free training package of resources that includes industry research, video lessons, sample presentation materials and more, visit EGIA.org/CBS-IHS.
Drew Cameron is America’s Most Sought-After Sales & Marketing Strategy and Success Advisor to Home Services Contractors and president of both HVAC Sellutions and Energy Design Systems, LLC: the premier industry alliance developing leading-edge technology along with providing complementary marketing and sales consultative support, recruiting, training, and coaching for performance and profit enhancement of Home Services Contactors. Drew is a renowned author, speaker, educator, coach, consultant, software developer, philanthropist, and an International Consultant Award Winner. Drew is also the president of the Ron Cameron Foundation; a Board member, a Foundation Board Trustee, and a Contractor University Founder & Faculty member for the Electric & Gas Industries Association (EGIA), a member of Black Belt Contracting (BBC), and a member of Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). Contact Drew @ 610-745-7020 [email protected].