The old adage in our industry is, “our business will always be dependent on the weather.” Extreme weather forces HVAC service companies to ramp up to levels they normally can’t sustain year-round. When the slowdown occurs we’re faced with laying off good people, and parking assets such as trucks, tools, etc. needed for the busy season.
The retail business also has seasonality to it - primarily holiday-related - but most major retailers would fail if they had to depend on holidays for their year-round cash flow and revenue. The key to retail is a constant flow of new product messaging and merchandising to keep customers coming back to the store, combined with regularly scheduled “sale” events.
Don’t try to sell all-or-nothing solutions at a cost beyond most people’s reach. Offer affordable, incremental solutions.
Why not do this in your business? How do you keep customers coming back to your store? You must do a better job of packaging and merchandising your services as products that your customers want to buy on a regular basis.
Rather than showing pictures of condensing units or furnaces in your marketing, you need to get creative and showcase a diverse range of products and services that pique the interest of the average consumer. Strategically placed sales during typical seasonal lulls will also help attract customers to products and services to improve their homes.
Focus on offering solutions that help:
• Make homes better, safer, healthier, and more comfortable
• Reduce disruptions caused by comfort system problems
• Allow customers to better control their home’s comfort
• Save time and money
• Justify the investment through energy savings.
Based on consumer research, customers say the best comfort systems are the ones they never notice. Our products should unobtrusively maintain a comfortable home environment. To accomplish this, we must go beyond the equipment and address the entire home as a comfort system.
This doesn’t mean we should try to sell all-or-nothing solutions at a cost beyond most people’s reach. By offering solutions in increments your customer can wrap their heads (and their purses) around, you can establish deeper trust as you deliver on each promise. This sets you up for the next purchase, and the next one, and so forth. The key is to make each offer unique, aimed at solving a specific issue rather than a cure-all that promises to fix every problem they could ever have with their home’s comfort.
A great place to start is to establish a baseline – where does their system stand today? The best way to accomplish this is to measure four static pressures that tell an extensive story about the condition of the indoor equipment and distribution system.
Once you establish yourself as a home comfort “retailer,” customers will look forward to your next offerings that can help improve their homes.
By pinpointing the easiest and most cost effective problem to fix first, you can quickly establish credibility and trust. It might be something as simple as identifying a restrictive filter that is killing airflow, and offering a better filtration solution. If done correctly, this solution should significantly improve airflow as well as Indoor Air Quality. Remember, we’re looking for incremental improvements – not a fix-all.
Think about breaking your solutions into smaller offerings you can market month after month with high-quality consistent messaging. Continuously offer a different product or service. Throw in a sale during seasonal lulls. Once you establish yourself as a home comfort “retailer,” customers will look forward to your next offerings that can help improve their homes.
Spend some time studying retail marketing and sales. The key is to transition your company from a reactive service provider to a retailer that continuously communicates what you can do to improve your customer’s home living experience.