The Power of Expectations

Everyone has a reason why their market is the toughest, and in Southwest Florida, here’s ours: No one lives here in the summer when air conditioning is needed, and in the winter, when everyone lives here, it’s possible to get by without heating or air conditioning. I know this to be true because I lived with neither for more than a year when I first moved here.

That’s why I found it a bit humorous when an excellent, experienced salesman approached me for a job during our slowest month of the year. This salesman was from the Midwest and completely unfamiliar with our business cycles in Florida. He came here expecting that it’s easy to sell air conditioning year-round.

As this salesperson was ready to start right away, I told him that he had arrived in the nick of time because we were heading into what was historically our busiest month of the year. People would be so anxious to buy, I said, that we’d hardly be able to keep up with the demand. He accepted the job and had a great month. He was excited because he said it seemed easier to sell air conditioning in the winter in Florida than it was to sell it in Kansas in the summer (which I know from experience to be incorrect).

By the same time the following year he had a better feel for our business cycles and knew I’d “pulled a fast one on him.” That year he expected a slow down in business, and he got one.

By the same month the following year, he was in management himself. He made a new hire and pulled the same trick on his new recruit that I’d pulled on him, and it worked. We laughed about that for years afterward, and it just goes to show how a salesperson’s expectations can influence sales volume.

Million dollar salespeople sell a million dollars because they expect to. Salespeople who sell two million dollars do so because they expect to sell two million dollars. Likewise, salespeople who don’t expect people to buy are usually not disappointed.

Confidence in Action
I first saw the power of projecting confidence and a positive level of expectation when I rode with a man who I believe was the best HVAC salesman of his time. His name was Dean Check. I’d only been in the business a few months and wasn’t overly impressed with myself. Dean was there to show me his style.

We ran a call on a chilly Saturday morning during the holiday season for a couple who’d already had a number of bids, and were planning on getting more. I stepped up on the stoop and rang the doorbell while Dean stood down on the sidewalk behind me, out of sight from the door.

When the couple answered the door, they had nervous, concerned, suspicious looks on their faces. I quickly introduced myself, then said, “And this is my associate, Dean Check. He’ll actually be running this call and will take care of your air conditioning concerns for you,” and stepped out of the way.

As Dean confidently stepped forward, the looks on their faces instantly changed from concerned to relaxed and almost happy. I fancy myself a bit of a mind reader, and it seemed to me that they made up their minds right on the spot that they were going to buy from him; that it was only a matter of getting down to business.

They bought from him, despite our price being the highest of all the bids. I was certain then, and I am certain now, that the reason they received him differently than they did me, and they bought from him instead of the contractors they’d seen, was the quiet confidence he projected. He was confident he’d be well received, that he could resolve their heating and cooling issues, and that they’d buy from him.

I saw Dean run a few more calls. He didn’t use any fancy sales techniques. In fact, he broke a number of basic rules. For instance, he wore a beard, tinted glasses, and a lot of gold jewelry. I believe that worked for him because he was just being himself.

I didn’t say anything to Dean, but after watching him work his magic that day, I went home despondent. I didn’t feel like I could ever project that level of confidence. While I didn’t feel confident, I made it a point to “act” confident. For instance, I tried to imitate Dean and another super salesman, Tom McCart, during sales calls.

Self-confidence is self-perpetuating. Once things clicked for me, my closing ratio went up and my self-confidence went up with it. I could tell that people could sense my confidence, and they liked it. Your prospects want you to be confident.

Holiday Spending
At the risk of coming across as a total Pollyanna who has completely lost touch with the realities of life, I’ll say that people spend money more freely during the holiday season than they do the rest of the year. They’re in “spending mode.”

Yes, you’re in competition with presents and vacations. It’s up to you to land them on the sense of urgency, make them want it, make them feel like they’re getting a good deal, and make them feel good about buying from you.

If you’ve never closed a sale, then had one-half of a married couple immediately turn to the other and say, “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy birthday,” or “There goes our Hawaiian vacation,” you’re not projecting enough positivity and confidence.

What to Do
On the way to the call, turn off the music and don’t talk on the phone. Listen to sales instruction on audio.

Do some positive affirmations, such as, “Everyone always buys from me.”

Don’t try to sell propsects anything; just be sincere. If they’re getting quotes to replace their system, they’re obviously having trouble. Instead of focusing on making a sale, discover what their problems are, and propose real solutions for them. That’s the person they’re going to buy from.

During the call, remain calm and confident at all times. Tell yourself, “I got this one. I am projecting confidence. They love me.”

You’ll know you’ve got this down when your prospects start asking you, “Does everyone buy from you?” or “Does anyone ever not buy from you?”

This mindset does not have to be confined to the holiday season. Project confidence and a positive level of expectation every day, on and off the job, and you’ll live a better life.

Charlie Greer is the Tom McCart HVAC Consultant-of-the-Year and the creator of “Slacker’s Guide to HVAC Sales,” now available for a lower price in MP3 format for easy transfer to your digital listening device. Visit Charlie on the web at www.charliegreer.com or become a Facebook friend at www.facebook.com/the.real.charlie.greer. Call Charlie at 800/963-HVAC (4822) or email him at charlie@charliegreer.com.