How do you pick a car for your family? Do you drive onto a lot, tell a salesperson that you need a car and let them choose one for you? Do you trust that they know how you will use the car without even talking to you? Is there an unspoken language that allows that salesperson to know how many kids you have, what sports your family participates in, how long the drive to grandma’s house is and how much we want to spend? No.
So why, when it comes to a heating and cooling system, do we assume we know what is best for a homeowner and their family? I train and coach in-home salespeople every day and I find that most people I work with are not asking in-depth questions to understand what a customer needs and wants. They assume. Most people ask a few questions but do not ask clarifying questions that not only pinpoint the need, but also create emotion and then urgency. Emotion and urgency will increase the amount they spend and also move the sale forward sooner.
It is no secret that a female is at the heart of the family business. She influences or controls 85 percent of the major purchasing decisions. And she makes her decisions based on emotion. Her family is at the heart of all major decisions so wouldn’t it make sense to ask questions that will create an emotional reaction and then ask even more questions that clarify and assist her in taking care of her family? If she makes decisions based on emotion we need to find something to discuss that she can be emotional about. She doesn’t care about adding water to the air in the winter to protect the floors and wood products in the home; she cares about her own skin and how the continued dryness adds years to her looks. She doesn’t want a filter or an ultraviolet lamp; she wants her children to be healthier and her home to be cleaner.
We are so afraid of people anymore that we tend to put on a show instead of just sitting down with people and talking with them like humans. We want a trusted advisor that will work with us with integrity and character, educating us on how we can achieve the goals any good homeowner wants to achieve. We just want to know how we can have a healthy family, be safe and comfortable and save as much money as possible in our own home.
The problem is that most people replace their comfort system when it is broken. That means that they are usually in a hurry and are faced with a major expense that they were not planning on. Many people even believe that they just need something similar to what they have and have no idea that a comfort system can change their lives. So, they are in the market for a box. And we play into that kind of thinking.
You have to be different. Take people someplace that they were not expecting. Talk with them about their family’s comfort and ask questions to clarify. “What is the name of the person who is uncomfortable? What do you do to make them comfortable? What happens when that doesn’t work? What is the name of the person who uses that room the most or whose bedroom is it?”
Now we know that Miranda is uncomfortable in her bedroom in both winter and summer, and that they have tried using a space heater but are afraid that it might start a fire. When it gets uncomfortable, Miranda comes into Mom and Dad’s room and crawls in bed with them. Not only is this getting in the way of their alone time, her feet are cold.
As an advisor, not a salesperson, we ask, “If I could help Miranda become comfortable in her own room, maybe get her out of your bed, is that something you would want me to help you with?” If at this point, we start selling product we will push them away. If we say, “I have something that would help with that?” they might say no because you are trying to sell them something. A salesperson sees an opportunity to sell where an advisor wants to help. If, at this point we tell them that they have to spend more money to get their desired result they will more than likely tell you no. If we simply ask if they want Miranda to be comfortable and let them know we will see what we can do, then they will want us to help them.
We know that two-stage and multi-stage equipment will fill their house with both heating and cooling comfort, including Miranda’s room. But if you bring that up now they won’t understand. They will naturally push you away. Teach them all about two-stage and multi-stage heating and cooling at the appropriate time and get them to completely understand how their house will be comfortable everywhere including Miranda’s room, and they will be more likely to pick that type of system when you present all their options. If you “sell” during the question phase of your visit, you will lose.
You can lead a horse to water, but you know the rest. Find out what your customers need and want. Find emotion and talk about it until it has meaning. When you educate people about how they can effect change in their own lives, as homeowners and as parents, they will drink.
At EGIA, we teach a proven process that yields predictable measurable results. Salespeople are taught to match the process to the buyer’s process and pace to achieve the best possible experience and outcome for the customer. You can learn more and receive a complimentary In-Home Sales training package from EGIA by visiting www.egia.org/cbs-ihs.
Mike Treas — the HVAC Sales Coach — brings experience in the contracting industry as a sales manager and comfort advisor for one of the largest and most well-respected residential heating and air conditioning contractors in the United States. He has personally worked with hundreds of contracting companies across North America conducting training and consulting in the areas of sales, sales management, business management, customer service and technician lead generation training. His background consists of 35 years in sales and sales management bringing expertise, knowledge, techniques and strategies proven in the contracting industry to increase sales. He is an EGIA Contractor University (https://EGIA.org/University) faculty member.