“Where should I be looking for more sales leads? Google? Yellow pages? Where, Todd?” This is a common question that I get asked as a business consultant. My typical answer is, “In your backyard.”
This answer is usually greeted with an upturned eyebrow and the following question, “What do you mean?”
I’ll explain my answer with a short story called Acres of Diamonds originally told by Russell Conwell.
A farmer in Africa wanted to be a wealthy diamond miner more than anything. So, he sold his beautiful farm and went looking for riches. He never found his riches, and in the end he threw himself over a bridge and drowned in the water below.
Now, the other farmer loved his new home. He loved the land and the creek that flowed in the backyard. One day while walking in the creek, he noticed a sparkling stone. He picked it up and examined the stone. It was a ruby. There were other stones as well, including diamonds. His farm ended up being one of the largest diamond mines in the world.
This story serves as a great example for HVAC contractors looking for new sales leads. More often than not, you do not need to go looking for your riches in new locations. You simply need to turn inward and look at your current opportunities.
In this article you will discover two keys to highly successful tech generated leads. These are the same techniques that I implement with my clients. This approach will boost your sales and save you big in marketing expenses.
1. Let your Team Decide When a System Should be Replaced
In the battle of sales, you will lose if your techs are against replacing equipment. This has to be your very first area of focus. It is CRITICAL that your techs have absolute buy-in on the need and value of replacing a client’s old system with a new system.
You get buy-in by Establishing the “Line in the Sand.”
The “Line in the Sand” is a standard that you will use to create clarity. It is your threshold for replacement.
The easiest way to establish this “Line in the Sand” is to use the system’s age. Age is simple, and easy to track and communicate.
The easiest way to get buy-in from the techs is to do the following:
- Let the techs pick the age for the “Line in the Sand”. Do this by anonymous vote, and establish that the “Line in the Sand” will be the average age based off the techs’ votes.
- Use 50% as your “Line in the Sand” lead standard. This means that 50% of the client’s that have systems over the “Line in the Sand” will engage in a conversation about a new system. In other words, they will set a lead with your company.
You may be asking, “Does this work?”
This approach was implemented with Advanced Comfort Systems of Hickory North Carolina back in 2011. The techs picked 12 years as the “Line in the Sand”. Immediately their tech generated leads shot past the 50% standard and hit 67%. 67% was maintained over the course of 12 months.
To be sure that there was an actual increase, we ran every service call for the previous 12 months through the “Line in the Sand” filter of 12 years of age or older. The previous lead rate was 17%. We also found that the closing percentage and average ticket had fractional changes even though the company was running significantly more leads.
The end result was that they produced an additional $1.1 million dollars in the next 12 months. This was done without huge increases in marketing dollars. Interestingly enough, in the following year they also received national recognition with “HVAC Marketing Company of the Year” and “Training Company of the Year.” In 2014 the owner’s sold their business for a healthy profit.
The “Line in the Sand” is the first critical step to highly successful leads.
The next step is to educate your techs on how to communicate the need for replacement.
2. Use 'Repair vs Replace'
Repair vs Replace is an approach that visually shows the client what the costs are to keep her current system, as compared to the potential savings of replacement.
There are 3 keys to success in using this tool:
- Master the lead-in. It’s all in how it is said. Example: “Mrs. Smith, I can fix this system for you today, though I’m not sure if it is in your best interest. May I show you why I say that?”
- Show the cost to keep the system. See the example in below. I recommend that your techs memorize this approach. It is best if it is written out step by step in front of the client.
REPAIR vs REPLACE - or True Cost to Keep
Age of System: 10 years of age
Time left in System: 2 years
Today’s Repairs: $600
Future Repairs: $400 *Let the client tell you
Energy Overpayment: $320 per year X 2 years
$640 total in overpaymen
Inflation: $? per year X 2 years
$X total in overpayment
Rebates: $? *Show if available
Tax Credits: $? *Show if available
Discounts / Bonuses $? *Show if available
Total Cost to Keep: $1,640 + ??
3. Confirm Understanding of the Cost, and Ask for the Sales Lead.
- Example: “Mrs. Smith, to keep this system it is going to cost you over $1,640, and that is money that you will lose when you replace it shortly down the road. You don’t want to throw that money away, do you? Would you like to talk to one of our senior techs about how you can apply that money towards a new system?”
Establishing the “Line in the Sand” and teaching your people how to use Repair vs Replace will greatly boost your sales leads. Yet, it doesn’t guarantee that those new sales leads will convert into replacements.
In next month’s article, you are going to get the 2 keys to high closing percentages and average tickets.