As an HVAC comfort consultant, there’s nothing worse than boredom. Here are five more tips to open up new avenues to make sales and get your blood pumping.

Recruit Your Spouse

Years ago, the wife of a franchise owner wrote the franchise headquarters to complain about the lack of national advertising. To bolster her case, she made the claim that several people in her office bought from one of her husband’s competitors and all said they would have bought from her husband if they had only known he was in the business. The fact that she failed to even mention her husband’s business to any of them until she heard they had already bought escaped her entirely.

Don’t let it escape your spouse. Make sure your husband or wife tells others about your business.

Contact Maintenance Departments

Large companies often have maintenance personnel on staff. Employees rely on these people for recommendations about home improvement contractors believing they’re connected. While some of the maintenance personnel undoubtedly moonlight, not all do. More than likely, their HVAC contacts are limited to the commercial contractors that service their buildings. Mechanical contractors do not necessarily want to take on residential work. Give the maintenance staff someone to recommend — you! Add them to your referral network.

Invest in Contact Management Software

As you build up a base of contacts from your customer base, your family and friends, your clubs, and your referral network, you will find it difficult to keep up with everyone. Purchase a contact management package like Act! or Goldmine. Use the contact management software to ensure you are remain in periodic contact with everyone in your circle of influence. Use the reminder functions to ensure you follow up on all proposals in a timely manner.

Have you ever run into someone who mentioned that they were going to buy, say, next spring? Did you remember to follow up months later? With the contact management software, you will remember.

If you don't want to purchase a professional contact management package, you can make do with the scheduling features in Microsoft Outlook. Or, you can download freeware or shareware contact management software from cnet.com or tucows.com.

Invest in Technology

Everyone, it seems, has a mobile phone these days. Yet, some HVAC salespeople still lack them. Or, they might as well, given their reluctance to use them.

The technology available today will make you more efficient. It will help you capture more sales. PDAs can improve your efficiency by keeping you organized and serving as a ready reference and data entry device. Attach a GPS module and you can shave drive time between appointments.

Every salesperson today should own a digital camera. Use it to take “before” and “after” pictures of installations, which can be pasted into proposals and presentation books. Take pictures of smiling, happy homeowners following system commissioning. Pictures tell a thousand words, and your camera can help you better educate homeowners in sales presentations.

As a salesperson, you should own a sonic or laser tape measure. These are low-cost tools that still seem to impress homeowners. Buy a smoke puffer that makes air visible. Use the puffer to show homeowners duct leakage. An infrared thermometer is another item every HVAC salesperson should consider. The infrared thermometer helps you identify insulation problems, measure supply air temperature, and so on.

When you are ready to step up your game, consider investing in a velometer and/or flow hood so that you can measure cfm entering rooms. Professionals own professional tools.

Just buying these tools is not enough. You will also need the training to know how to use them. Their use will set you apart. The chance that you will compete with another salesperson who utilizes this type of equipment are slight today.

Always Keep a Follow-up List With You
Downtime can occur at any time during your day. If you arrive to an appointment early and have five or ten minutes to spare, pull out a call list of follow-up calls and see if you can knock one or two off your list. Sell efficiently and sell more.

Matt Michel is president 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.