What did you learn at HVAC Comfortech to start making more sales immediately? A lot, if you attended Comfortech Idol 2008: Tournament of Champions. Comfortech Idol was an annual event, held at HVAC Comfortech, in which HVAC salespeople role-played closing techniques and overcame objections in front of a live audience, who then voted on which salesperson did the best. It was a “grande” learning experience for all.

This year, at the Tournament of Champions, three previous Comfortech Idols gave 15-minute presentations that they loaded with as many of their own sales tips as they could fit during the time allotted. The audience then voted on which Idol provided the most useful information. The winner was declared Comfortech Idol Grande Champion.

The hands-down winner this year was the original Comfortech Idol, Jamie Gerdsen, who won the first competition in 2003.

Jamie’s win is a real-life “Rocky” story. A scheduling conflict was to prevent him from attending HVAC Comfortech this year, so he’d been forced to take a pass on the competition. However, he told me that if something unforeseeable came up and I really needed him, he’d be there for me. A lot of people say that, but very few of them actually mean it.

One of our competitors had a serious medical emergency just two days before the start of Comfortech, and couldn’t make it. I called Jamie and explained the situation to him. Without hesitation he agreed to reschedule his week, jumped on an airplane and jetted out to Atlanta to join the contest.

When he arrived, he graciously accepted my thanks, but told me that, now that he was there, he was in it to win it … and win it he did!

Here’s what Comfortech Idol Grande Champion, Jamie Gerdsen, shared with us:
When I first started selling for the family’s HVAC service and replacement business, I remember going into my Dad’s office ready to quit. I wasn’t seeing the success in sales that I thought I would. I thought that selling was going to be easy. I thought you showed up and people just bought from you.

I remember my dad looking at me and saying, “The difference between a champ and chump is one letter – ‘u’ (you).”

It was at that moment that I made it my mission to become the best residential sales person I could be.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many times do you find yourself talking twice as much as listening?
  • How many times do you feel rushed to move on to your next call?
  • How many times do you feel the customer only cares about price?
  • When you hear about a $2 million salesman, do you think he fudges his numbers?
  • When you hear about someone who closes 90% of his sales calls, do you think he’s lying?

The answer to all of these questions rests with you.

The questions I have asked myself are, “Why am I not a $2 million salesman?” “Why am I not closing 90% of my sales calls?” The answer is me.

When I won Comfortech Idol six years ago, I was new to the business. I didn’t have any preconceived notions about what people would and wouldn’t buy. Or, should I say what I would and wouldn’t inform and educate them about.

I’ve found that the difference between myself and others is my mindset about my job as a salesman. I see my job as simply being able to help prospective customers discover their needs. I do this through asking questions. So your question to me would be, “Where are the nuggets of information; what are the silver bullets?”

The answer is within yourself. To be the person who leads your market, you have to embrace what it takes to be the best. You have to understand your clients’ needs, and help them understand the solution in terms with which they can identify.

Let’s start with three things: Learn as much as you can about how people make decisions. Decision-making is based on all types of information and styles. Understanding and realizing how to relate to different styles, which includes verbal and non-verbal communication is key. Figure out how each person learns, and cater to that. Visual aids are often helpful. Understand what you and your company do best. Don’t be a generalist. Become an expert, and make your focus narrow and deep. Understand what your competition does and doesn’t do.

  1. Learning:
  2. Understanding:
  3. Competition:

Now that we’ve learned some steps to positioning ourselves towards success, let’s put that into practice.

I have broken this up into four segments:

  1. Pre-call preparation.
  2. Running the call.
  3. Assessing the need and offering solutions.
  4. Following-up, or post-sale procedures.

Pre-call preparation:

  • Have a standardized retail price book and a presentation book, with background information on your company, information on operating costs, return-on-investment, and visuals that help your prospects put into context what high-efficiency equipment means to them.
  • Have a “Comfort Survey,” which includes information on the home and background on the customer (including history, equipment lists, and loyalty credits).
  • If it’s possible to do in your area, call the local utility company to see their average household cost.
  • Look up the customer’s address in the company computer and see what customers you already have in their neighborhood, and what your company has done for them.

Charlie Greer is the creator of “Slacker’s Guide to HVAC Sales on Audio CD,” and “Tec Daddy’s Service Technician Survival School on DVD.” For information on Charlie’s products and speaking schedule, or to request his catalog, call 800/963-HVAC (4822) or visit him on the web at www.hvacprofitboosters.com. Email Charlie at charlie@charliegreer.com.

Listen to the champs
If you want to improve your closing ratio, make mo’ money, enjoy increased job satisfaction, feel better about yourself, and be the “idol” of your family, friends, co-workers and prospects, then listen to the entire Comfortech Idol 2008: Tournament of Champions event on the audio CD recorded and distributed by Rollin’ Recording. It’s got the complete presentations by each of the Comfortech Idols, as well as additional sales suggestions by HVAC sales trainers Drew Cameron, Vicki LaPlant, Matt Michel, and Charlie Greer.

Rollin’ Recording records every event at HVAC Comfortech and puts them all on a single audio CD. They’re very reasonably priced, and I buy one every year myself, whether I make an appearance at HVAC Comfortech or not. You can order one over the telephone by calling 800/798-5468, or by visiting them on the web at www.rollinrecording.com.