The Residential HVAC Replacement Sales Call, Part 6: YOU Are the Expert

The HVAC replacement sales call is your best opportunity to present yourself as the heating and cooling expert. It's not the homeowner, his Uncle Joe, or some unamed company they're "also talking to." So take charge, and demonstrate the highest level of professionalism.

Charlie is taking this entire year to cover the over-the-top procedure that he follows on residential replacement sales calls. This is his sixth installment.

So far, we've greeted the prospect at the door, gone to the thermostat and asked a few preliminary questions, transitioned to the kitchen table, and asked the remainder of our questions.

SUMMARY #1:

Once you've concluded your survey, take a moment to draw up a list of the four or five benefits they expect with new equipment, which you’ll show to them while saying, "Based on what you've told me so far, what you're looking for, is something that will provide you with (list four or five benefits they're looking to receive)."

Other popular benefits people are looking for in replacement equipment are:

  • Something quieter, so they don't have to turn up the volume on the T.V. when it comes on and turn it down when it goes off
  • Cooling the Master Bedroom a little better in the summer, so they can sleep better, and have more energy
  • Remove as much airborne particulate and contaminants as possible
  • Reduced dryness during the heating season
  • Reducing their utility bills enough for the new equipment to pay for itself, at least over the lifetime of the equipment.
     

TIME COMMITMENT:

You don't want to go to all the trouble of inspecting their equipment, drawing their home, running a load calculation, figuring an energy analysis and a doing full sales presentation, only to have them wait patiently until just after you quote them a price, then say, “Okay, we've got an important appointment we're late for. We've got to go. Just leave your estimate on the table and let yourself out. We'll call you!”

Plus, people find it reassuring when it's obvious you have done this before and have a procedure to follow, so do a little summary that lets them know what to expect.

Do a little “time commitment” by saying, "Let's lay out our time together. First, I'll check the airflow in all your rooms, then I'll look at your equipment. I'll also draw a little picture of your home. Then, with your permission, I'll sit right here at this table for about fifteen minutes or so, consolidate this information, and come up with a list of recommendations and options for you. This entire process will take about an hour to an hour-and-a-half. You're not going anywhere in the next hour or so, are you?"

“TONIGHT” COMMITMENT:

Continue the conversation by saying, "Once I go over my list of recommendation, at that point, my job will be done. That's when your job starts.  It will be your job to tell me how you would like to proceed. I’m going to ask you to make a decision; to give me a straight 'yes' or 'no'.  To be clear, 'yes', is great, and 'no' is perfectly acceptable, after all, it's your home, your money, your equipment, and your decision to make, but I’m going to ask you not to give me a 'maybe'. Fair enough?"

ROOM-BY-ROOM INSPECTION:

You just told them you were going to check the airflow in all their room, and the first supply vent you'll check will be in the room you're in, which is usually the kitchen.

Put your hand up to it and say, "I'll just put my scientific measuring instrument up here," and see how the air feels.

Make it a point to locate every supply and return vent in the house.  Any of them missed, due to furniture being in the way or them not wanting you to enter a certain room, will come back to haunt you when you go to close.

Either put your hand directly up to each supply vent, or at least shine your flashlight on some of the more difficult to reach ones in rooms where there has not been a problem with temperature variance.

Put your thermometer into one of the supply vents.

The homeowner will usually join you and start pointing out the locations of all the vents.  If they stick with you, you can usually warm-up to them a little more and become friendlier yourself.  If there is something else they'd rather do, that's okay, too.

As you go through every room in a person's home, including the attic, basement, garage and crawl space, it’s normally not difficult to spot something know a little about and you can strike up a conversation about it.

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