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The Art of the 'Take Away' in HVAC Marketing

Editor’s note: We are rerunning some of Andy’s articles earlier articles while we tool up for the new “Ask Andy Fracica” format. We need your help, because without your questions, there will be no articles to write. Please email Andy with your questions at [email protected]. This article was first published in December of 2011.

I’ve been thinking a lot about reverse psychology and how it can apply to marketing. We all know what reverse psychology is, we have all used it on our kids when they were little to get them to do something that we wanted them to do, when they didn’t want to do it. Well, that also applies to sales and marketing when dealing with adults. As soon as you start taking away something from somebody, he or she wants it even more. Like forbidden fruit, when you can’t have it, or you can’t touch it, you have to have it.

As marketers, we need to find other ways to get our message across and to break through that clutter.


How can we apply that to marketing and then to the selling situation? Is this a beneficial technique to use? Will it produce desired results? Will it increase your closing rate, is it just a trick, or is it underhanded? Should honest business people use it?

Marketing has gotten frantic as thousands of companies try to shout their message at top volume to the millions of potential customers. You may have heard repetition, repetition, repetition, but that can easily turn off potential customers as well. So, as marketers we need to find other ways to get our message across and to break through that clutter. One thing that can work is "anti-marketing," or "reverse psychology" marketing.

With reverse psychology marketing, you tell your potential customers one of the benefits of your product. If you're selling geothermal heat pumps, you might say that these units can save you up to “X” percent per year, but then you tell them not to buy it even though it can save them a lot of money. You offer it and then take it away. Try not to make it too obvious. People don’t like someone telling them what they can’t do.

When doing this you must avoid using negative phrases like “You will never find a similar product” because the subconscious mind filters out the negative parts and the final message that reaches your customer will be “You will find a similar product” (M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.) So you might say something like, "don’t buy this product because it will save you money," or, "don’t buy this product from us because we are the best company in town." You can even say this product isn’t for everybody; it's only for the discerning customer who wants the very best.

When you're in a selling situation and the customer starts to push back or object to the price, it’s a gutsy move, but you can say something like, “Perhaps your right, this product may not be right for you, because not everybody needs the very best system.” As soon as you begin to back off, your customer starts to move toward you because they do not want to miss the opportunity. All of this assumes that you have properly qualified your customer and that the customer has the money or can get the money to complete the transaction.

If you practice this technique, it will increase your closing rate. Consider it another tool to use in closing the sale. Therer's nothing underhanded here; it's a technique. Sometimes you just have to act differently than the competition in order to cut through the clutter.

Thanks for reading my column, and for all of the emails and phone calls I have received. I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. I believe that 2015 is going to be a fantastic year.

My website contains links to all the articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you want your marketing efforts pay big dividends, contact a marketing professional. I’m available to assist you in all of your marketing efforts. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, help with lead generation, or a brochure, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and startup companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market, by showing them how to do more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the website

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