There’s no reason for a comfort consultant in the HVAC industry to be bored, sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. Here are four more methods to shake off boredom and shake up sales.

Get Connected
Good salesperson seem like they know everyone in their community. Good salespeople are connected. They’re “joiners.” They join groups and organizations where they can meet people who might buy their products and services, or who might refer others to them.

What can you join? Try a service club like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lion’s, or the Optimists. Try Toastmasters. Try the local chamber of commerce. While there is always the potential for some direct sales through these groups, the real opportunity lies with getting known by the club members. People who belong to service and civic clubs are centers of influence in their communities. They’re connected. They’re the people others call when looking for, say, a good air conditioning company. If you’re the only HVAC salesperson the club member knows, who do you think gets the referral? Bingo.

Join (or Form) a Leads Club

Leads clubs are collections of salespeople from noncompetitive businesses. Some of them are formal and affiliated with a national leads club organization. Some are informal. In every leads club, the purpose is for club members to help each other get business. Typically, in a leads club meeting, one or more members tells others about what they do. Other members pipe-in, suggesting business opportunities, offer to open doors, and so on. For more information on local leads clubs, call the chamber of commerce.

Call Customers Before Warranties Expire

An opportunity lies in the files, with warranties that are about to expire. Look at the one-, five- and 10-year warranties. Call these people a month ahead of the expiration date to remind them that their warranty is nearly up. Remind them that they can get any problems taken care of free during the next month. Most people are surprised when someone calls them before a warranty expires. It’s not unusual for this to result in additional work.

People lead busy, hectic lives today. Often they have a list of things they want done around the house, unacted upon. Simple inertia is the reason for the lack of action. If they recently replaced a furnace, for example, and put off the replacement of the air conditioner, your call might serve as a reminder, prompting them to ask about the next replacement.

Even if the homeowner doesn’t inquire about additional work, send them a follow up letter. Remind them that, as you discussed in your phone call, their warranty is about to expire, so they should get any repair work done quickly. In the letter, suggest in a “by the way” paragraph or in the post script that the homeowner might want to consider an electronic air cleaner, zoning system, or humidifier.

Carry “Comfort Now” to Close Sales

What is comfort now? When an installation cannot be scheduled for several days, have a couple of old, working units handy to quickly provide temporary cooling (just paint them a gaudy color so the homeowner’s don’t like the temporary fix too much). This is an effective closing technique.

No extra units? Buy a window unit and carry it in your car during the summer and an electric heater during the winter. Use them to close sales now by saying, “If I can get you comfortable tonight, are you ready to go ahead?”
Yes, the window unit is an investment. It’s a minor investment in your sales career that will be paid back the first time it helps you close a sale you might otherwise have lost.

An added benefit of the window unit is its humanitarian purpose. Suppose your prospect is elderly and the temperature is approaching triple digits? Sales aside, you will feel much better leaving one room cool.
Next time: more tried-and-true boredom prevention tactics.

Matt Michel spoke at HVAC Comfortech 2004 on marketing. This rant was solely the opinion of Matt Michel, CEO of the Service Roundtable (www.ServiceRoundtable.com), an organization dedicated to helping contractors prosper. Matt is also the publisher of Comanche Marketing, a free marketing e-zine. Subscriptions are available at www.ComancheMarketing.com. You can contact him directly at matt.michel@serviceroundtable.com. Or send your comments to Contracting Business at letters@contractingbusiness.com.