The Residential Replacement Sales Call, Part 8: Breaking the Ice

SIncere compliments given to a customer can lead to valuable ice-breaking conversations.

All in-home salespeople know that, at some point, you’re supposed to offer a sincere compliment, so it’s definitely a “step” in the sales process.

Salespeople expected to compliment their prospects, but if they’re not delivered correctly, compliments can backfire. People are not going to buy from you because you “kissed-up” to them. They may even decide not to buy from you for being a phony, which is why you have to be very careful about the way you offer a compliment.

Most salespeople’s attempt at a compliment is something very trite and lame, like, “You’ve got a really nice place here.” That’s okay, but it could be much better.

There is a technique for delivering a compliment, and it goes like this:
It starts with: “I hope you don’t mind if I tell you that I love your (compliment).” Then, without taking a breath, explain the reason for the compliment. Having a reason for the compliment makes it sincere.

Here’s a real world example of a compliment that I used, that involves a personal experience of my own, and worked very well for me. I walked from the tiled kitchen into a person’s carpeted great room and, as soon as I stepped onto the carpeting, I said, “I hope you don’t mind if I mention that this is some great carpeting.”

The homeowner smiled proudly.

Without stopping for a beat, I said, “And the reason I say this is because I can tell that you’ve got some really good padding under it.” I started kind of lightly bouncing my feet on it a little like you do when you’re checking the padding under carpeting.

The customer started beaming brightly and nodding.

I went on to say, “This especially stands out to me because I just bought carpeting, and I told the salesman that I wanted the best padding I could get, and he told me that the carpeting I was buying was so good that I wouldn’t need to change the padding. I told him that the padding under my carpeting was the original new construction quarter-inch padding that’s probably flattened down to a piece of paper by now, but he insisted that it was an unnecessary expense."

The customer said, “Oh, you gotta get good padding!”
I said, “I know, because he talked me out of the new padding, and the day the new carpeting was installed, it looked two years old!” The customer said, “It’s all about the padding. Sometimes the padding costs more than the carpeting! You can get cheap carpeting, and if you put good padding under it, it looks like expensive carpeting, but if you put cheap padding under good carpeting, the carpeting looks cheap!”

I said, “I know! I know! I’m gonna have to sell my house now just to get away from that carpeting!”

So, here we were, bonding over carpet padding, when it hit me that I was complimenting this homeowner over spending a lot of money on something that you can’t see, but when you walk into the house, you know is expensive and well worth it. Isn’t that a lot like a high quality home comfort system? That’s why I started using that compliment whenever it was appropriate.


Giving Them Breaks
The more times you’ve met someone, the more comfortable they feel around you. The more comfortable they feel around you, the more likely they are to buy from you.

Every time you give your prospects a slight break, where they’re away from you for a few minutes, they act a little friendlier, a little warmer than they were before the break.

Try to “meet” your prospects three times before asking them to buy. How can you accomplish this and still do a one-call close?

The phone call to set the appointment, and your call to confirm the appointment, are both considered “meetings.” The initial introduction at the front door is a “meeting.”


If they’re not with you while you’re doing your equipment inspection, drawing the home, or doing your calculating, pricing and planning, when you see them a few minutes later to go over your findings, that’s a “meeting.”

These breaks give your prospects the opportunity to talk about you behind your back, which you want them to do. Start giving them opportunities to talk about you behind your back while you’re still there, and you’ll get fewer responses of “We need to talk it over,” when you first try to close.

Furthermore, I’ve heard what they say about me, and it’s usually quite positive. I’d hope the same would be true for you. My favorite occasion was when I heard the husband ask his wife, “What do you think of this guy?”

“Looks like he knows what he’s doing,” responded his wife.

“Yeah,” agreed the husband. “I’ll bet he’s expensive. I just hope we can afford him.”

That’s exactly where I want their heads to be.

Charlie Greer is the creator of the audio book “Slacker’s Guide to HVAC Sales,” and “Charlie Greer’s 4-Day Sales Survival Schools,” which are held in Fort Myers, Florida. For more information, go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com, or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822). Email your questions or feedback to [email protected]

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish