Part I of a 3-Part HVAC Comfortech Advance Training Curriculum

The headline poses a silly question. One that ranks right up there with, "Do you want me to upgrade you to first class at no charge?" I'm still waiting on that one, but you won't have to wait for me to tell you how you can double your sales this summer.

And let's calm down here for a second. It's fine for you to say, "No, I actually don't want to double my sales . . . I just want to be able to a) close faster, or b) not have to drop my price, or c) stop people from having to ‘think about it' forever, which makes every sale a struggle."

Got you covered on those points too, but I believe you'll be surprised at how easy "doubling" really is. Before you think I'm stepping out of my marketing bounds, please know that our style of marketing is "one on one" selling multiplied through media. I've never made that a secret. Don't worry, your sales coach in CB is still Charlie Greer, who has more faceto-face experience and, better hair, than I do. But this story is worth telling.

Some time back, we found a perfect "match" of marketing and sales styles with a client who was willing to do things a little differently.

Zero to $3.4 million
Simple is good, so if you want more transactions, you're either looking for more incoming leads than you have — a concept saved for part 3 of this series — or to close more of the leads you get than you already do.

Jeff Lee, Flint, MI, left his $1.16 million a year HVAC residential sales job to accept a new position with his current employer, who had no residential department. A rather bold move. Jeff was entrusted to start — from scratch — a "company" within the parent company, to service, sell, and install residential equipment. Somewhere in there, he hoped to replace his income.

Fortunately for him, in three years' time, he has gone from zero to $3,476,000 in sales. How? "I already knew the formula," he says, "and re-applying it would yield the same results. This time however, I tweaked it a little."

By "tweaking," he put a proven marketing formula in place, but focused energy on making every lead count.

"If you can see four appointments and your competition only does three, you're up 25%," Jeff says. "That's a big advantage. The truthis that your customers appreciate a succinct understanding of their wants as much as you."

He followed with a laugh, "Of course it doesn't hurt to get twice as many leads, either."

So, more leads and a faster, more effective closing rate than your competition compound the result. Yet, Jeff wasn't content to stop at a point others would've gladly accepted.

The Missing Third Ingredient
"Most contractors think to get the sale faster, you need to drop the price," Jeff says. "This more than negates the gain, because you've got less profit to build in better customer services.

"But I've found a way to present and close more quickly, often at a higher price than ever before."

These elements — speed to close, ratio of close, and transaction size — have given Jeff a seasonal advantage his competition can't figure out, or haven't taken the time to try.

To double sales, Jeff didn't need to run twice the leads (what half the contractors think), or double his closing ratio (what the other half thinks) at twice the price (what no one tries). He only needed an incremental improvement in all three to double his "normal" sales.

A Better, Faster Closing Method
"To me," Jeff recounts, "closing begins with ‘hello,' and since you're always preaching that we should become the ‘trusted advisor', that's where I start."

Good sales begin and end with trust. Same with referrals, continuity (agreements), upsells, and retaining customers.

"I begin my first five minutes by expressing that I understand heating and air, but I want to understand what they (the customer) want it to do for them," Jeff says. "Most of my competitors talk about how great they are, or jump into technical jargon. I jump into the customer. These five minutes have been pure gold for me.

"My closes — if you want to call them that — last five to seven minutes. The marketing opens the door, my opener puts them at ease, my presentation confirms what they told me," Jeff continues. "My close merely connects the dots to make this an obvious choice. These ‘high performance' methods work together."

Three Closes in Three Minutes
To get you started, here are three closes to boost your summer sales.

The "Return On Investment" Close
This is one of my favorites. You simply say, "Mr. Prospect, you've already seen that this new comfort system will solve your repair problems since you won't have another repair bill to worry about for five solid years. Your new system will also solve the comfort problems you mentioned in the home survey, so your enjoyment, satisfaction, and property value will all increase. But there's something we haven't discussed yet.

"This investment is paying you back. If my figures are correct, and by guaranteeing this system will cut your entire energy bill by 20%, it is actually paying you a return on investment of 6.2% in pure energy savings! And your savings are guaranteed 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 will cost you, and we have a system your size in stock, doesn't it make sense to start saving now?"

The Assumptive/Automatic Close
This is a mind set only the strong need apply. You must have a positive mental attitude and not let your mind defeat you before you've walked into — or potentially away from a deal. You'll find that by automatically "assuming" you have the sale, in many cases, no one will disagree with you, but rather simply follow along at your command.

After you make your presentation and have overcome questions or objections, you merely assume, by saying, "This is an extremely popular model for all the reasons we've covered. Let me check to make sure I've got one in stock for you." If they don't object, then confirm the info to the homeowners, "Yes, I can hold one for installation on Wednesday morning and be finished that afternoon. Which is a better time, 7:30 or 9 a.m.?"

The Forgotten Benefit Close
Often, this can be used on the phone after a sales presentation that didn't end in a sale. It gives you a reason to call back, other than to say, "Just checking to see if you'd made a decision yet," which sounds whiney.

You mention the forgotten benefit, apologize for missing it the first time, and go for the sale right over the phone. It can be a filter upgrade, better thermostat, or a maintenance agreement.

Next Month: Part 2 — Your presentation is likely solid, but we're going to fine tune it for upselling, backend continuity, and referrals.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson Ink(www.hudsonink.com), a marketing firm forcontractors. He and Jeff Lee will be appearing at HVAC Comfortech 2007 in St. Louis, displaying the HVAC marketing makeover that generated $3.24 million in HVAC sales. You may request info on the makeover, free items in the article, or direct a marketing question to freecbstuff@hudsonink.com or call 800/489-9099.

If you want three more "Best Summer of 2007 HVAC Sales Closes," simply fax your letterhead to 334/262-1115, or send an e-mail to freecbstuff@hudsonink.com. At the same time, we'll register you for a free sales teleseminar with Jeff Lee, where he'll share a million-dollar success formula you can copy.