When I’ve got these five things in place, my success is just about guaranteed.
1. Standardized pricing.
Standardized pricing allows you to charge enough to cover expenses, deliver a superior level of service, and earn a fair profit, without having to quote an hourly rate, which, as far as consumers are concerned, is never low enough.
I call flat-rate pricing “standardized pricing,” and suggest that you do, too. Some customers call flat-rate “flat-rape,” because, flat-rate companies do tend to charge more than time & material companies.
Having a standardized price to document that everyone pays the same rate for the same work goes a long way toward reassuring people that they’re being treated fairly.
Consumers of every type of service want to know how much things are going to cost up front, and standardized pricing makes that easy. Funny thing is, that T&M companies do work flat-rate; they just don’t know it. When they quote the price of the part and their hourly rate, they usually tell a customer about how long they think it will take. That’s a flat rate price.
People want to know they’re being treated fairly. Everyone occasionally thinks they’re being taken advantage of when the price for service is, in their opinion, high. Having a standardized price to document that everyone pays the same rate for the same work goes a long way toward reassuring people that they’re being treated fairly.
2. The ‘Multi-task Discount’
It has to cost the consumer less for you to do four things on one call than it does for you to make four separate trips do them. In order to make a sale, there has to be a reason to take action now. By now, I mean right now; not next week, or even tomorrow morning.
When you do a thorough inspection, you’ll spot things that aren’t crucial at the moment, but will require attention in the near future. You can point these things out to your customers and tell them that, while it’s not mandatory that you do them today, since you’ll more than likely have to return to do them some time sooner, and it costs less to do it today. So if their cash flow allows, you can save them some money by doing it now. You’ll use your time more efficiently, and they’ll save themselves some money and inconvenience.
Usually, when you add up the multi-task discounts, they’re enough to offset the cost of at least one of their “optional” tasks.
3. The Complete Inspection
Don’t confine yourself to the single immediate need that prompted the service call. Take at least a cursory glance at as much of their system as is practical. The more of their system you see, the more deficiencies you’ll see.
Always look at least the furnace, boiler or air handler, and their condensing unit over. If you’re familiar with ductwork and air distribution, a quick peek at that will usually uncover some serious deficiencies, such as filth, leakage, or inadequate return air.
When you do a thorough inspection, you’ll spot things that aren’t crucial at the moment, but will require attention in the near future. You can point these things out to your customers.
It can seem strange to a customer that you would want to look at their condensing unit in the middle of the winter. Say to the customer, “I’m going to make a note of the make, model and serial number of your air conditioner, so when you call us for service on it, we’ll know what we’re coming out here to work on.”
You’re not going to conduct a complete inspection on a condensing unit during the winter. Don’t even remove the panels unless you notice something that makes doing so absolutely essential. What you’re looking for is the primary cause of compressor failure, which is an outdoor coil that is at least partially blocked. That establishes the need for a return visit prior to the air conditioning season to clean it, which paves the way for the service agreements sale.
4. The service agreement
I don’t view the service agreement as simply an additional product to sell. I see it as a sales aid.
Everyone wants a discount. When they buy a service agreement during a service call, they get service agreement pricing. Often, the discounts offset the price of the agreement.
5. The Paper Towel Close
This is, of course, my signature move. Many people say it’s the most important part of my training.
The paper towel close is simply your recommendations, listed in order of priority. It’s described in detail here:
Charlie Greer is an award-winning service technician, salesman, and sales trainer. If you need help setting your prices, or want him to look over your ‘Paper Towel Closes,’ call him at 1-800-963-HVAC (4822) or email him at [email protected] Visit him on the web at hvacprofitboosters.com.