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The Residential Replacement Sales Call: Part Four: The First 60 Seconds

Charlie Greer describes the HVAC technician's methods for greeting the customer, entering the home and listening as the customer describes the problem.

Style, repetition and discipline are everything. Sales trainer and award-winning HVAC consultant Charlie Greer is providing a 12-part series on The Residential Replacement Sales Call.

For Part 4, he describes the technician's methods for greeting the customer, entering the home and listening as the customer describes the problem.





If the front entryway is clean enough, put your shoe covers on prior to ringing the doorbell.

Take a step back as soon as they can see you.

 Your first words are “Hello. I’m here to take care of your ... (furnace, air conditioner, etc.).”

 Even though it makes sense to tell them your name and who you’re with, don’t. They called your company, you called them a little while ago to tell them you were on your way over, your vehicle is in plain sight, and your company name is on your shirt. (I’m trying to avoid them making some kind of rude comment like, “Don’t give me the whole sales pitch. How much is … ?”  Or, “Yes, I can read.”)

 Hand them two of your business cards, and say, "Here’s my business card.  Take two, they're small.  As you can see, it's got my (home phone number, or cell number, or some other personal phone number) phone number on it, so you can call me in the middle of the night if you ever need anything, or if you have a breakdown, nervous or otherwise."

 Notice you haven't said your name. This is to determine their social style of behavior. If names are important to them, they'll either ask you your name right on the spot, or glance at the card and ask for a confirmation, such as, “You're ?” If names are not important to them, they'll usually just either turn around and take you directly to the equipment in question or ask you where you'd like to go first.


  • Be an “active listener.” You have to do more than just listen. People have to know you’re listening, so while they’re explaining their problem, try not to be walking or doing anything. You can’t always accomplish this, but it’s best if you’re facing each other, giving the customer your undivided attention, and making eye contact.  After you’ve listened to their response, repeat back to them what they just said. This is called being an “active listener,” and it’s very important that you do that, both in dealing with the public while you’re on the job, and in your personal life.
  • Keep everything on a businesslike and professional level.  Conduct business in a business-like manner.
  • Use their name, as in, 'Mr. Smith' or 'Mrs. Smith.'  “Sir” and “Ma’am” are not acceptable substitutes for their name. I realize they’re respectful terms, but for every person who is good with being called “Sir” or “Ma’am” there is another person who finds it offensive. Some men will say, “Don’t call me 'sir’! I work for a living!” and there really aren’t very many women who enjoy being “Ma’am-ed”.  Besides the second most pleasant sound to most peoples’ ears is the sound of their own name, so use it … a lot.
  • Always appear completely relaxed and confident.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Ask questions.


  • Debate them. The front door is not the place to straighten people out, so no matter what they say, let them know you understand what they’re saying and that you’re both on the same wavelength by paraphrasing back to them what they just said to you. During these first 60 seconds, your goal is to put their mind at ease regarding their situation.
  • Talk money at the front door
  • Be overly friendly. When you’re too friendly, you can’t close. You can’t take a hard line on sticking with your price. Ever buddy up to someone, and then, when you present the price, have them say (in so many words), “How can you do this to me? I thought we were friends”? When you make excellent eye contact, keep it all business, and address them by Mr. or Mrs.; they’ll respect you.
  • Get on a first-name basis. It’s too friendly. Only get on a first-name basis when they correct you twice, which almost never happens.
  • Bring your price book in with you yet. You will later, when you present the price. Don’t be so anxious.
  • Bring a briefcase in with you (too “salesmany” and can be intimidating)
  • Waste their time.
  • Act confused or unsure of yourself.
  • Talk too much.
  • Talk to the equipment, your tools or yourself.
  • Offer opinions, solutions, or advice until you’ve looked things over, established rapport and your own personal credibility, and drawn up your list of recommendations, priced them out and written them down.

Charlie Greer is the creator of the audio sales training products "Quantifying Quality: How to BEAT LOW-BIDDERS," "Slacker's Guide to HVAC Sales," and "Over The Top HVAC Sales." For complete information on Charlie's products and seminars, call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822) or go to Email your comments to [email protected]




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