You don’t need to phone to ring or spend a lot of money on advertising to make plenty of replacement sales. As I mentioned last month, your most under-utilized assets are your service invoices.
The easiest person to sell is someone who is already a customer of yours, is having ongoing problems with older equipment, and isn’t in the market for a replacement until you bring it up.
You’ll find out who these people are by flowing a copy of every residential service invoice across your salespeople’s desks.
It really helps when your service techs fill their service invoices with the model and serial number of equipment, recommendations, and a brief report on the condition of the equipment.
The salesperson scans the invoices for repairs made on older equipment. After you’ve done this a while, you get pretty good at recognizing model numbers. Until then, you can determine the approximate age of equipment by consulting the Preston’s Guide (www.prestonsguide.com).
Check the repair history on any customer that looks like they have potential. If you really want to be thorough, call the tech who ran the call and ask for any additional insights on the equipment or the customer.
Have a pre-printed package price list for replacement equipment. In order to establish a “sense of urgency” for their decision to replace, have a system in place that will allow you to credit all or part of what they recently paid to have their equipment repaired.
The Initial Phone Contact
You won’t need to check the “Do Not Call List,” as these people are already your customers, so you’re allowed to call them. Make your phone calls when you’ve got time to run right over there.
“Hello, this is (your name), with (your company). I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”
Once they respond, continue by explaining, “I’m following up on your recent service call and wanted to know how your equipment is running and if you had any questions, complaints or comments about your service.”
If they’ve got any kind of a negative comment whatsoever (and you hope they do), say, “Tell you what, I’ll come out and take a look at it myself, at no charge, and we’ll take it from there. Are you going to be there for the next thirty minutes or so?”
Don’t talk about replacing, just get the appointment.
Suppose they’ve had more than one service call this season. Obviously, you know they’re having trouble with it and it would benefit them to replace it. You might open the conversation in the same manner, but then make your coming to the home more matter-of-fact by simply stating, “I’m in charge of all the residential work here and any time we run more than one call in a home during any one season, I come out and take a look at it, at no additional charge, to make certain you won’t be inconvenienced any further.”
What to do in the Home
Head straight over to the equipment and look it over.
Tell them that, usually, when equipment is in the age and condition of theirs, most people opt for replacement, and ask them why they didn’t. They’ll usually tell you that the replacement option was never brought up. Say something like, “Well, a replacement furnace for this house runs about $____, so it’s not like you’d have just jumped right on it, right?” Amazingly, they’ll usually say that they would have chosen the replacement option, if they’d only been given the opportunity.
After taking a long, thoughtful pause, say, “Okay. Congratulations. You just bought yourself a new furnace. I’ll credit what you paid for your last repair as the down payment.”
It really is that quick and easy. You’re either going to make the sale, or you won’t, inside of fifteen minutes. People will make a snap decision on this. They just told you they would have, had they been given the opportunity. Having said that, if they try to put off or stall making the decision, you can very gently and politely, but firmly, state that they just told you that had they been presented with this option at the time of the last repair, they would have made the decision to replace their equipment on the spot. As a courtesy, you’re now giving them the money back, at significant expense to you. This is their chance for a “do-over.” Do they want it or not?
You’ll still do the load calc and a complete inspection and needs analysis, but using this technique, you’ll do them after you gain the agreement to purchase instead of before. I know a guy who sold $100,000 in one week using this technique, and it was a significant portion of my income when I worked as a full-time residential replacement salesman.
CHARLIE GREER has many more techniques on self-generating sales in his “Slacker’s Guide to HVAC Sales.” For more info on Charlie’s products, seminars, and speaking schedule, go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com, or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822). Email Charlie at [email protected].