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A Service Story

May 16, 2024

What HVAC Customers Need to Feel Before they Buy

Aug. 9, 2018
Lead your customers to their best buying decision by teaching them what they need to know.

The sales masters agree: what a customer feels and knows drives their decision to buy. Let’s take a look at how you can lead your customers to their best buying decision by teaching them what they need to know.

“Feel?” Really, Rob?

Yeah, feel. This isn’t the touchy, feely, bottom-lip-quivering kind of feel. This is the feeling we listen to when we make decisions.

The saying, “it felt like the right thing to do,” describes an important part of the decision-making process.  When all the information lines up, and is coupled with that good feeling, the best decision becomes very clear.

There’s a lot of power in people’s feelings. Your job is to be certain the information and feelings your customer has leads to a decision that is equally beneficial to you and them.

If you’re not keeping tabs on how your customers feel about buying from you, this may be why your closing rate is lower than what you need it to be.

The undisputed best educational sale is tied to customer participation in basic system performance and diagnostic testing.

Outdated Selling Methods
Pressure, force, manipulation, fast talking, and a confusing array of too many options are typical salesperson traits customers want to always avoid.

 A rock-solid salesperson slows down, listens carefully, and asks thought-provoking questions so they understand what their customers want. By doing these things, the salesperson can be confident the sale will belong to them.

 Can you see the difference between the feeling of these two approaches? As a customer, which way would you prefer to be treated?

When I was a lad, I managed a group of salespeople in a large real estate company. From time-to-time we brought in Tom Hopkins. Tom is still an icon in the sales training industry today. At that time, he taught a series of 1970’s sales techniques with one-liner scripts using strong persuasion methods to close the sale.

He once asked me if I personally “used his stuff”? I was embarrassed, but had to say no. He wasn’t shocked but responded; “I see you’re quite successful, so how do you sell?” I showed Tom how I taught people about the opportunities and pitfalls to avoid when buying or selling a house and how I would help navigate them to their next home. Then Tom said, “When you’re done talking, you’re their guy and get the sale, right?”

Tom added, “Rob, someday sales training will move to teaching and counseling. But for now, all most salespeople can handle is what I teach today.”

Well “someday” is today and today your customers are ready to being taught. They want to learn and then make smart buying decisions about their HVAC systems.

Insert sales scene pictures over a kitchen table….

Distractions from Good Decisions and Feelings
I was in a sales situation recently where the salesperson was so busy overloading his customer with manufacturer propaganda and EPA studies that they were ready to throw him out.

He didn’t recognize that HVAC customers are always more interested in an enlightening discussion about their system and concerns than what a manufacturer and the government want you to sell them.

Keep the conversation personal and directly pointed towards resolving their specific concerns. Manufacturer data and government studies are useful fodder for an internet search, but there is much better information to talk about.

Company Brochure
How many salespeople yammer on and on about their personal resume and wave around a thick company brochure hoping to impress customers? The only value is that brochure. It should be provided only as a leave-behind to reinforce their buying decision. The personal resume speech is really just a distraction.

Remember, what matters most to your customers is how they process the information they receive from you. They evaluate it by how it makes them feel.

When they evaluate you and your company, the decision is made mostly on how you present and conduct yourself. A quick internet search will tell them all they need to know about your company in a couple of minutes. Act so they’ll like and trust you. That’s what they’re really looking for.

Proposal Overload
Many companies require proposals with multiple equipment and accessory options, a batch of disclosures, and financing options. Consider that such a proposal may be overwhelming to a customer.

A good proposal beats equipment tonnage and a price scribbled on the back of a business card any day. But ideally it is based on decisions made during the sales visit.

A valuable sales visit educates your customer with information relevant to their home and system. This involves a flowing conversation where together you and your customer discover the problems and solutions that lead to a decision you can both agree on.

Good decisions are based on good information. Keep the external noise to a minimum and focus in on sharing information that allows the customer to feel they are comfortable doing business with you.

Take a close look at your personal sales approach when you’re with your customers. Perhaps you can find an idea or two that improves the way you feel about the company’s services you offer customers.

Rob “Doc” Falke serves the industry as president of National Comfort Institute, Inc., an HVAC-based training company and membership organization. If you're an HVAC contractor or technician interested in a free test procedure describing simple testing you can do on a sales visit, contact Doc at [email protected] or call him at 800-633-7058. Go to NCI’s website at for free information, articles, and downloads.