Increasing Sales of Replacement HVAC Systems – A ‘How To’ Guide
When it comes to companies who are looking for increased sales and profits from their M&E, HVAC or FM Salesforce, the logical step is to question your Sales Managers when the expected numbers are not quite where they should be.
Getting to The Source of The Problem
When you quiz salespeople from all types of businesses, the Sales Excuses, objections and challenges they face tend to be quite similar. Be it the weather, a difficult financial climate or better priced competitors, there are many reasons that blame can be apportioned to….in their minds at least.
The ultimate responsibility of hitting sales targets is with your sales team and whilst there may be mitigating circumstances to poor performance, the overriding reasons for lack of success may be close to home. Your sales team needs to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves “Is it our approach that is costing us and what can we do to change things?”
At www.marketingforcontractors.co.uk, we run seminars, group training, coaching sessions in person, online and via smartphone, which address those ‘all too familiar’ questions like “How can we get customers to replace or upgrade their HVAC system?”. Managers, salespeople, owners and technicians all have a lot to gain by taking training with us.
The first point to make is that you should provide an exceptional customer experience for your clients, above all else. This should be packed with great advice and offer real insights into your customer’s current setup.
Provide useful information regarding the potential savings and workplace comfort that could be enjoyed over the next 20 years or so and sales will come. They will come because your customers will trust your judgement and you won’t come across as a company just looking to sell HVAC systems to anyone they can.
Exploration of Needs
Selling anything ‘cold’ is a tricky business and that is because it seems uninformed. If you take the time to ask questions regarding your customer’s HVAC needs and make suggestions based on the answers they give, you might be surprised at the lack of objections that come back at you. Of course, in sales, you’re going to hit resistance of some kind when it comes the critical moment of decision, but in this case, you are making a suggestion that is backed up by a weight of evidence. That is because in this scenario, you are performing the role of consultant, rather than a salesperson and it is a much easier place to yield sales from.
There is nothing more likely to put someone off buying something than having too much information to digest, particularly when a good portion of that info relates to your company’s selling points and why they should buy from you. We’re all used to being sold to by all manner of companies in our daily lives and this approach does tend to put people’s guards up.
It goes right back to the Consultant approach, which encourages clients to learn, evaluate and make choices for themselves. Don’t, whatever you do, spend most of your time telling business owners what they’re doing wrong, as business owners are a proud lot and it typically doesn’t go down that well.
Get Above the ‘Noise’
If you can differentiate yourself from others on the market, you will gain exposure over and above everyone else’s ‘noise’. By listening to the pain your customer’s business might be suffering first, it goes a long way to immediately building rapport.
If your main objective when making a sales call is explore your customers needs rather than to get the gratification of a sale on the board, this will come across – even over the phone. There are a number of lines of question to achieve this, including;
- Energy Management
- Workplace environment comfort
- Health & Safety
- Peace of Mind
By asking questions relating to these areas, you’ll find out what their present concerns are. It is said that ‘People buy from people’ and by having an actual conversation with them, you’ll gain an insight into the pressures and challenges they face. This puts you in the perfect position to suggest changes they could make to address their problems.
You’ll find out some useful information, like they’re worrying about how to pay for a new HVAC system or the disruption to their office it might cause. What you’ve done by reaching this point is you’ve gotten to the heart of the matter.
Once you are speaking honestly and frankly to your customer, you will find out all sorts of information regarding their likes and dislikes about their current system. Factors such as energy use, noise, hot/cold spots, user interface and comfort levels will all paint a detailed picture of what your customer is going through.
You see the difference between this approach and a purely sales driven tactic?
Don’t be afraid to advise against replacement
If the answers coming back at you during your conversation suggests some uncertainty about whether it’s time to replace their HVAC setup, you shouldn’t be afraid to say so. i.e. You might suggest improving their current system with enhancements/upgrades instead of a complete new system. Provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision and you have done your job.
You may not get much of sale from this sort of outcome, but you will have engendered a good deal of trust with your client. Clients often have long memories and will appreciate your honesty.
You’ve made yourself the ‘go to’ trusted advisor for all of their HVAC needs.
Enacting the approach detailed above will install you as a credible source of information. A company that allows its customers make its own choices, based on the information and live with the consequences of those choices if necessary, is often a trusted one and typically people buy from people they trust.
Playing the ‘long game’ will pay dividends, as good advice has a habit of illustrating itself as such over time. When advice you have provided, whilst not pushing for a sale, is proved to be accurate, then your reputation will soar. Conversely, if you offer up bad advice during a sale or promise benefits that don’t materialise, you’re not likely to see that customer again.
Testimonials and Reviews
Even after a rapport has been developed and an initial trust has been gained, your customer may need a little more reassurance. We’ve all been taken in by a charismatic sales person to find out at a later date that they weren’t as nice as they seemed.
The way to back up your words is simple. Shout about your past customers and what you have achieved for them. People listen to the words of past clients, as they are unbiased and extremely pertinent to their own situation , which is what makes testimonials and reviews so full of impact.
Showing pictures of past jobs, company certifications, performance guarantees, photos of your staff, company licences and insurance documentation can all be used to illustrate to your potential clients that not only are you are source of accurate information on your specialist field, but you have a human face and that you back that knowledge up with exceptional installation and Customer Service standards.
Now come your Buying Reasons
Once your customer has made the decision that a replacement HVAC system is in their business’s best interests, you can begin to talk pricing, guarantees and all of the buying benefits your company offers.
When you reach this point of the conversation, you need to be very clear about your costs, both primary and associated and any possible financing you offer. Once you highlight the energy savings in a clear and concise way, you can ask your client what else they would like to spend that ‘freed up’ money on. Getting your customer to visualise what they would do with extra revenue will make it that much more real and so much more tangible than ‘savings on your fuel bill’.
Have your costs either memorised or included in an easily readable comparison table, so that your customer can see a ‘Before and After’ scenario. Be unclear and hesitant in delivering your pricing information and you could undo all of your previous good work in terms of building trust. Also be sure to include the current estimated maintenance and repair costs associated with leaving an existing HVAC system in situ.
Help Your Customer Make the Right Choice
In a nutshell, when talking with your clients, you should think about how you would like to be treated yourself. Don’t repeat all of those bad habits you hear on a regular basis when you, yourself, are being sold to. Take the time to get to know your customer and develop a relationship based on honesty and good advice and you’ll soon start to see results.
Focus far too much on selling for selling’s sake and you will be asking yourself the same question about why your sales figures are not at the level you want them to be in 6, 12 or 18 months time. They say “If you don’t change your way of doing things, how can you expect your results to change?” and this is so applicable to sales of all kinds.
Dedicate your efforts to approaching things in the way described above and you will treat people with respect, honesty and as a person, not a ‘target market’. That is a great foundation to build a sales team on, as its principles never change and will serve you well for years to come.
Do you want to get the most from your M&E, HVAC or FM Salespeople, why not book a time using the link below or call free to discuss your particular problem, or Call our direct Sales line free 0800 009 6349 or Main Switchboard 01252 413596