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    Let's Get Serious About Tech Sales

    June 28, 2013
    Service technicians need to sell — in fact, their sales skills are crucial to the success of your company.

    Since May, when my article on UV lights was published (UV Lights: Why and How to Sell Them, CB, May 2013, p. 48; bit.ly/16ewZCG), I’ve done a fair amount of direct sales training with service technicians over the Internet using the free service, Skype.

    I’ve been more successful with some groups than others.

    The groups I’ve had my greatest success with are those who already believe in the value of UV lights and want to sell them; they just need my help in teaching them how to do it. I can improve the sales of groups like that in less than an hour.

    On the other hand, when your techs don’t like sales, don’t want to be asked to sell anything, and don’t believe UV lights work, I can help them, but it’s going to be a long, difficult, uphill climb.

    This represents a challenge for contractors, but it’s a challenge you’re going to have to accept, because service technician is a sales position and your financial success as a contractor is directly dependant on your technicians’ ability to sell.

    How to Succeed in Sales

    Successful salespeople possess:

    • Honest enthusiasm for their own products and services

    • A belief that there is no better option for the prospect than what they are offering

    • The confidence to take the time and make the effort to do a thorough inspection and draw up a comprehensive list of every single deficiency they see in the system on every call, and show it to their customers

    • A commitment to be successful on every call; a refusal to accept "no" for an answer

    • Enough finesse and communication skills to be make multiple closing attempts without coming across as pushy or high-pressure

    • And, in the case of service technicians, a dispatcher who allows them the time to do all this and still get home at a reasonable hour.

    Don’t go in there hoping to make a sale, but determined to solve problems. Approach your prospects with an overwhelming sense of purpose, which is to make their lives better.

    When you converse with people who are passionate about something, often their positivity is contagious and you become a convert who is just as enthusiastic as they are. New HVAC systems, duct cleaning, extensive equipment cleaning, and indoor air quality products are expensive investments, and enthusiasm on the part of the customer is required to make a sale.Focus on making prospects see and experience the truth, wisdom, benefits, and necessity of what you’re offering, and they will become believers as well.

    Every time I am in a selling position I think to myself:

    • Everyone always buys from me

    • Failure is not an option

    • Saying "no" to me is not an option

    • This is for you (the customer), not me

    Don’t make it “okay” to make a presentation or recommendation and get a rejection. Start each call with an absolute determination to prevail and sell at least one small thing. The more things you quote, the higher you likelihood of selling something. Just make all your recommendations legitimate, which shouldn’t be a problem, since most systems have undersized, dirty ductwork, a dirty blower and indoor coil, and reside in a home full of volatile organic compounds.

    Beliefs are as Important as Skills

    Your techs’ belief systems are every bit as important as their sales skills. It’s very difficult to motivate people to sell for you if they don’t like talking to people, don’t want to sell, lack confidence in their sales ability, and don’t believe in the value and necessity of your products and services.

    Don’t work under the assumption that your techs know all about your products, believe in them, want to sell them, and know how to do the work once the job is sold. They probably don’t. If they did, they’d be selling them. If they’re not selling them, they don’t.

    Don’t work under the assumption your techs know how to install the products you want them to sell or how to perform the work on services you want them to sell, such as blower pull-and-cleans and indoor coil cleaning. Very few technicians have actually done either one of those procedures. Look through your service invoices. When was the last time either of those procedures was done? When I was a full-time technician, I did them on two-thirds of my calls.

    Hire for Attitude

    You can train people on the technical aspects of the job. You can’t change their attitude. From now on, hire for attitude. If you can’t find a tech with the right attitude, make do without. It’s better not to run a call than it is to send a technician who never sells anything and loses money on every call because nothing is ever sold. There are plenty of techs who cost more than they bring in, so if you’ve got one of those on your staff, get rid of him.

    The next time you post an add on craigslist.com (which is where we do just about all of our recruiting), make the job title “HVAC Sales Technician.” That lets applicants know that selling is a part of the job. We have candidates forward their resumes to us. If a resume or cover letter makes any mention at all of sales ability, we’ll at least call that candidate. If it doesn’t, we don’t call them.

    Needless to say, you’ll ask candidates about their sales ability during the actual interview process.

    Your next question will be about the wording for your craigslist.com ad. You don’t need any fancy wording. Don’t make it a blind ad, go ahead an put the name of your company in the ad.  That’s either going to draw in potential recruits or chase them away. If your company has a reputation as being a good place to work, your ad will draw recruits.  f not, no amount of fancy wording will draw them in.

    Charlie Greer is the Tom McCart HVAC Consultant of the Year, a service technician and a sales instructor. Every two weeks, Charlie emails a sales tip you can print out and use in a sales meeting with your staff. You can sign up to receive these valuable tips by calling 800/963-HVAC (4822) or using the form on his website: www.hvacprofitboosters.com. Email Charlie at [email protected]