Ever feel like you’re a professional presenter? You know, going into home after home, watching homeowners nod in agreement, be friendly, and ask you to “Leave your quote. We need to think about it.”

Somehow, they never quite finish thinking about it, or when they do, they’ve decided to buy from someone else.
Since the average HVAC sales closing ratio is 32%, which leaves 68% who do just that. Yet the vast majority does buy something, and sadly, they may be using your bid as a negotiating tool, or for comparison. So you did the work; someone else gets paid.

There are three parts of a sales visit: the presentation, the proposal, and the close. The presentation sets up the others and vastly improves your closing ratio, but it’s at the close that even great presenters get jittery.
Here’s how you boost your closing ratio:

1. The Presentation is when you gather the info you’ll need to close. This is generally done with a home energy survey (don’t ever call it an estimate). The answers to specific comfort and price questions help you to build the prospect’s new system. You’ll use trial closes at this point to gauge interest and a powerful presentation binder to allay fears and make comparisons to other products, even competitors. Yes, competitors. This is the most effective way to overcome shopping and build your credibility.

2. The Proposal is where you “reframe” the prospect’s exact answers and put them on your proposal form. Your form had better be like a sales script and not some generic form that only you can follow. Fill it with guarantees, benefits, and comfort statements. It’s best to show the prospect a “good, better, best” approach to pricing, with “best” clearly being a superior choice.

3. The Close. If you’ve done your presentation properly, you eliminated the objections on “thinking about it”, “price is too high,” and “our system works fine.” The Return on Investment close is one of my favorites. You simply state:

“Mr. Prospect, you’ve already seen that this new comfort system will solve your repair problems. In fact, our company will discount this system by the price of your last repair so that won’t be thrown away — plus, you won’t have another repair bill to worry about for five solid years. Your new system will also solve the comfort problems you’d mentioned in the home survey, so your enjoyment, satisfaction, and property value will all increase. But there’s something we haven’t discussed yet . . .

“The investment you’re making is paying you back. If my figures are correct, since we guarantee this system will cut your entire energy bill by 20%, it’s actually paying you a return on investment of 6.2% in pure energy savings. And, we guarantee it in writing. That’s better than any savings account I know, and those won’t heat and cool your home.

“Since you know that each day you delay costs you more, and we have a system your size in stock, doesn’t it make sense to start saving now?”

This is just one of about 17 closes that our top HVAC consultants recommend. There are many ways to close using logic and emotion, which is important. People buy on emotional reasons, but want logic to support those reasons. A perfectly crafted sales close does both.

Negotiators
Sure, there are those who “want a deal” and balk at anything resembling list price — I wonder how they pay their accountants? Anyway, you can close a negotiator usually with one question. When they say, “Your system price is $4,680. Will you take $4,500?”

Only if you know you can accept this price do you say, “If I can accept that, do you want to schedule the installation?”
There are always ways to trim the fluff out without sounding rude or pushy, and end up getting the sale.

Summary
Present your solution as a service to prospects and close on the strength of those solutions. If a prospect doesn’t close on the first attempt, you can leave them a “Best Value or $100 Cash Guarantee” form which also guarantees a call back to you for another try. Generally, those who get called back get the job.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors.CB readers can get a free 12-page booklet, “How to Double Your HVAC Sales in 90 Days” by sending an email to freestuff@hudsonink.com or by calling 800/489-9099 or faxing the request on letterhead to 334/262-1115. For a free marketing newsletter, contractors can fax their letterhead with the request to 334/262-1115 or check out www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.