When it comes to selling to homeowners, salespeople are working with new prospects or existing customers.
New prospects offer the opportunity to serve a new home that is full of potential. This can lead to increased market share and a new referral resource.
Existing customers offer the opportunity to elevate your level of service, expand your relationships, sell additional products, plus solve longstanding problems. Existing customers often cross-pollinate with other services you offer, with a higher probability of buying and spending more money. In other words, existing customers should never be taken for granted in favor of new prospects.
While new prospects may offer new revenue potential and the allure of a large purchase, there are no guarantees they will buy anything. While you invest money and time chasing prospects and not paying attention to existing customers, don’t be surprised if those current customers leave you. Why? They may feel indifferent toward your company, or another company poaches them by offering to solve problems you miss.
Plus, if you choose not to offer high-performance products and services to pesky problems that present a lower-revenue opportunity on the surface, you miss the chance to turn those small money fixes into larger income projects. Such longer-term scenarios can help your customer build their perfect home environment over time.
Sales Is Like BaseballIn baseball, you can't always swing for the fences, or you end up striking out more often and hitting fewer home runs.
In-home sales work much the same way. The customers you serve consistently can eventually turn into a consistent string of base-hit sales, home run sales, or a referral to more base hits and home runs.
Regarding the effort to sell new prospects versus customers, prospects require more marketing dollars to convert into a customer. Home services contractors report the average cost to create a prospect can average $400. That cost increases to an average of $600 to convert the prospect to a buying customer.
These costs stem from expensive marketing strategies that include direct letters, radius mailers, billboards, radio, television, over-the-top streaming, video-on-demand, digital marketing, newspaper and magazine branding, direct response ads, and more.
Existing customers, on the other hand, cost very little to remarket to. Most companies can flip an opportunity to sell products and services from an email, text, phone call, postcard, letter, tech handout, newsletter or service visit, each of which costs only pennies to a few dollars.
Existing customers also offer low-cost opportunities to create new prospects and customers through yard signs, branded homes (decals, grocery bags, and other in-home branded materials), referral rewards, mailbox/door hangers, as well as trucks (rolling billboards) in neighborhoods.
Appeal to Both Customer Types
How can you appeal to both new prospects and existing customers to drive sales?
Most HVAC contractors are weather-dependent and offer specials to drive business if weather conditions are not doing so. Top-performing contractors are weather-driven and realize that while special promotions can work when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it is far better to be special and stand out. rather than fit in. They allow the lore of their service, reviews, and referrals drive business. They are COMPELLING, not selling.
These contractors promote their unique people, protocols, products, and processes to pinpoint and correct comfort problems, highlighting that homeowners do not even have to replace their equipment in many cases! Their custom solutions are usually easier, quicker, and cost less than they think.
You do this by pointing out that you are the ONLY contractor in your area qualified and certified with the proper tools, training, and technology to diagnose and correct these annoying issues that plague customers’ lives.Taking the House Doctor approach allows your company to be a premium service provider for the discerning homeowner
In this economy, with prices soaring and inflation causing mortgage rates to rise, people stay in their homes and invest in making them the way they want. Many such homeowners wish to be catered to with unique, innovative, problem-solving remedies. Many want pampering with extraordinary service and a caring attitude. In other words, provide an impactful life experience that shatters the expectations. Most homeowners want value, affordability and less risk. They want contractors to do what they say they are going to do. It’s in your best interest to be the professional the customer needs you to be and do the right things the right way the first time. Then guarantee your work and customer happiness 100% in writing or provide a full refund if you fall short.
Be the company that says, “Let us help make your home feel as good as you and your family deserve for your large investment.”
High-Value Comfort Specialists
Position your company as the high-value solution specialist and the local expert at fixing unsafe, unhealthy, uncomfortable, energy-wasting homes. Talk about the common problems most homeowners experience that other contractors neglect in favor of chasing equipment sales. Address pre-existing conditions and comorbidities that led or will lead to equipment failure. Some problems you should speak to include:
- Rooms that get too hot or too col
- System can't maintain consistent comfort
- Uneven temperatures from area to area
- Equipment cycles frequently or runs all the time, and the house is still not comfortable
- Poor temperature control
- Thermostat wars amongst occupants
- Drafts or stuffiness
- Not enough airflow
- Noisy equipment or airflow
- High utility bills
- Clammy, muggy, musty, etc.
- Too humid in summer
- Too dry in winter
- Odors in the house when the system runs
- Poor air quality
- People suffering from allergy, asthma, respiratory conditions
- Equipment problems since the equipment was installed or since you moved in
- Frequent equipment breakdowns
- Other contractors say problems cannot be fixed
As a high-value comfort specialist, you can help homeowners understand why new equipment alone will not solve their problems and may make matters worse. Band-aid fixes can damage their investment.
Temporary fixes usually address a symptom rather than providing a permanent solution to a root cause. The performance contracting approach of testing and measuring can transport occupants from purgatory to paradise when it comes to living a good life in a safe, healthy, comfortable, energy-smart, responsible, and sustainable home.
More Than Customer Benefits
As you can see, the benefits to the customer are many, but being a performance HVAC company also benefits the contractors and their coworkers. Most typical HVAC contractors wait for the weather to generate service calls to create equipment leads and sales.
Then they sell standard entry-level products or promote high efficiency and advanced technology equipment as a silver bullet for comfort and efficiency problems without addressing the duct system or building envelope.
Such a limited business strategy provides for erratic workflow, revenue, and profitability, which creates work overload and shortages.
Neither of these circumstances are conducive to maintaining steady work for coworkers and may even result in layoffs in slow times or people quitting when they are expected to put in overtime to cover for staff shortages.
Be More Compelling
Performance contractors know that HVAC and IAQ equipment will only work as effectively and efficiently as the design, installation, duct system, equipment-tuning, and building envelope allow. They know that installing high-efficiency advanced-technology equipment on a poor duct system and in an archaic building envelope is a recipe for wasting energy more efficiently (the equipment is more efficient, but the energy bills will not benefit from its full potential) and shortening the life of that equipment. Their creed of “do no harm, make things better, and leave people happy” would never allow them to do so.
The above reasons are why performance contractors relentlessly pursue existing customers over new prospects. When these contractors find problems that an antiquated industry has long neglected, they cannot turn their backs on the suffering people.
Instead, they are more compelling and apologize on behalf of the industry and commit to being better by genuinely serving the people.
Go forth and do likewise!
If you’re ready to learn more about customer service, tech communications and mastering the in-home sales process, visit MyContractorUniversity.com/CBS now to start a free 30-day trial with Contractor University. You’ll instantly unlocked access to powerful resources including streaming on-demand classes, proven marketing strategies and much more!
Drew Cameron is North America’s Most Sought-After Sales and Marketing Strategy and Success Advisor to Home Services Contractors through his work as the founder and CEO of Flow Odyssey, president and co-owner Energy Design Systems, LLC, and board member, Foundation board trustee, Contractor University Founder and Faculty member, and Resident Expert of Contractor Connect for Electric & Gas Industries Association (EGIA). Contact [email protected].