Jeffrey Gitomer said it best, “No one likes to be sold to but everyone loves to buy.” He’s right. So why do we continually treat homeowners like they just walked onto a used car lot and we need to make quota this month? Stop selling. Your customers today are educated, smart and like to make decisions for themselves, yet we just keep trying to tell them what to do. And they do not like it.
Imagine a situation where a family needs something and there are hundreds of possible combinations of solutions to fit their need. If that family was yours would you want to take the cheapest route or would you want to check out all the possibilities and make an educated decision? Let’s say you are in the market for a new grill. Do you take the lowest price you see at the hardware store or do you look on the internet, read some reviews, think through whether you want pellet, gas or charcoal? Porcelain or stainless grills? How many burners do you need? Will you ever use the side burner? You have questions, right? The answers are specific to your family. What will you be cooking? How much food will you be cooking? What temperatures will you need? How often will you use it?
Why do we assume what homeowners’ needs are? I work with comfort consultants every day that tell me they sell a specific furnace and air conditioner most of the time because they have determined what is appropriate for their community. I work in all communities in North America and I have found that in every community there are homeowners that need the economy of single-stage equipment. Those same communities have homeowners who need two-stage and multi-stage to get their child’s room more comfortable or the family room downstairs more comfortable. Some homeowners have family members with respiratory issues that need a sanctuary where they can be safe and breathe their best. Some homeowners just want better control. From smart thermostats to smart systems, ask and they will tell you.
So, what to do? Stop selling. Build a relationship with your customer based on trust. Be competent knowing all the proper solutions to needs that families have. Ask in-depth questions that evoke emotion and get to the heart of what a comfort system is designed for and provide real solutions based on their needs, not what you usually sell. Find out that she wanted to buy this house because of the lodge style family room but they have never been able to celebrate Christmas out there because it is horribly cold in that room all winter. Or that Andrew has allergies, is on prescription medicine and they would desperately welcome some way to help him breathe easier.
Let’s take the comfort issue. She wants to get the family into the family room but it is cold in the winter. Once we determine her desires we need to probe into what they have done to make it more comfortable. Is it also hot in the summer? Whatever is important to her. Find out.
Now you need to “tie-down” the issue. Ask, “If I could help your family celebrate Christmas in the family room, maybe make it comfortable all winter long, is that something you would like me to help you with?” If they say yes you now have a goal to meet.
When you take them to the furnace to educate them on how different your installation is, we have the opportunity to educate them on how new systems work. When talking about their old system it might go like this: “Your old system is a single stage system. What that means is that it is designed for the coldest and the hottest days of the year. When your thermostat calls for heat, for example, your old furnace thinks it is 5 degrees below zero because that is how cold it gets here. How many days is it -5 degrees here? Right, just a handful. Then would you agree that every day that it is above -5 degrees your furnace is oversized for your home? On those days, it blasts your house with its full capacity of heat, raising the temperature quickly and satisfying the thermostat prematurely. It does not run long enough to push heat to the family room.
“Imagine you had a furnace that comes on at about half its size every time it runs and slowly heats the home pushing comfort to all the corners of the home. Or how about a furnace that has over 60 stages of heat? Running almost constantly, these super high-efficiency furnaces constantly fill all rooms of your home with heating comfort making all the rooms almost identical in comfort. And the super high-efficiency systems have the lowest utility bills, thus paying for themselves faster than any other system you can buy.
“Let me ask you, Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, which one do you think will give you the best comfort and help you spend this Christmas in your family room?” You have now put your customer in the position to make their own decision based on a conviction that two or multi-stage heating will be best for them.
The key is finding out what they want to do and then prescribing a solution or set of solutions that can be fit to their needs. Don’t tell them what they need, educate them on how things work and let them come to the right conclusion for their family.
No one wants to buy what everyone else is buying. They want solutions that make sense for their family. They want to be the hero making their home more comfortable or healthier, maybe drastically lowering their utility bills and saving enough money to do some other things they have always wanted to do. You don’t know till you ask. I believe you will be surprised at what they tell you.
In-home sales is one of the most valuable skills 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.
Mike Treas brings experience in the contracting industry as a sales manager and comfort advisor for one of the largest and most well-respected residential heating and air conditioning contractors in the United States. He has personally worked with hundreds of contracting companies across North America conducting training and consulting in the areas of sales, sales management, business management, customer service and technician lead generation training. His background consists of 35 years in sales and sales management bringing expertise, knowledge, techniques and strategies proven in the contracting industry to increase sales. He is an EGIA Contractor University faculty member.