We’re entering a "slower season" for many companies.

The drawback: when salespeople are convinced they’re in the slow season, things tend to slow down.

'We’re Entering Our Busiest Season'
February was our slowest month. I hired a new salesman from out-of-state, where they had an entirely different climate.

He asked me why we were hiring a new salesman at that time. I told him that we were entering our busiest season and we needed to expand. The thought of starting somewhere during their busiest season excited him, and he accepted the position.

He had a huge February. In fact, he outsold our existing salespeople.

His next February was terrible. Why? Because by then he learned that was the slow season.
The funny part is that by then he knew I’d pulled a fast one on him, and he was still stymied by the fact that February was supposed to be slow. We became friends and we laughed together about that for years. He eventually went into management himself and pulled the same routing on is recruits with tremendous success.

The easiest thing you can do is go through last year’s service invoices looking for recommendations that weren’t purchased. Many of them were warnings that they should start considering replacing their equipment or for IAQ. If it’s for a potential replacement, and they’ve already been quoted, call them up in the same manner listed above.

'You Can’t Sell This Stuff'
I used to travel the country hiring salespeople from outside of the industry and making them residential replacement HVAC salespeople.

I made it a point to hire only award-winning in-home salespeople that could demonstrate mathematic and mechanical aptitudes, and I had tremendous success.

Nearly every salesperson I hired started off in a full run selling high-end systems with indoor air quality. As a rule, they outsold the existing, more experienced salespeople. At first.

After a while, they always needed me to come out and run calls with them for a week because they eventually learned that you can’t sell this stuff, especially at these prices.
Sometimes I was able to bring them back around, sometimes I wasn’t.

'It’s Hard to Get the Phone to Ring'
Actually, it’s easy to get the phone to ring, as long as you’re not particular whose phone rings. You can’t necessarily get people to call you, but you can call them. Hence, their phone rings.

You’re allowed to call people with whom you have done business, even if they’re on the “Do Not Call List.”

Call everyone you quoted a system to last year who didn’t buy, and make them an offer they can’t refuse, as long as you can do the installation during your slow season. They had the need back when you quoted them, if they haven’t gotten the new replacement yet, whatever problems they were having have only worsened.

Whether or not you try to close them over the phone is up to you. My preference is to re-visit the job and try to close them in person. I’d call them up and, once we got the initial greetings out of the way and established that they hadn’t replaced their system yet, I’d say, “I’ve been thinking about your job, and believe I’ve got a few ideas on a really nice installation I could do for you that would definitely save you money, but I don’t want to say anything without taking another quick look at your home to make certain my memory is accurate.  Then, I may be able to make you an offer you can’t refuse.  Are you going to be around for the next forty-five minutes or so?”

I’ve found that, after a certain amount of time has passed, if they were willing to sit down with me again, if I was willing to make a small concession on price, I’d make the sale. You don’t need to be a fancy negotiator or take anything out of the job, either. There’s nothing like good, old-fashioned honesty. Just tell them the truth. This is your slow season, so if they’re willing to make the decision now, that they’re going to be forced into during your busy months, you can give them a better price.

Your Most Under-utilized Asset
The easiest thing you can do is go through last year’s service invoices looking for recommendations that weren’t purchased. Many of them were warnings that they should start considering replacing their equipment or for IAQ. If it’s for a potential replacement, and they’ve already been quoted, call them up in the same manner listed above.

It’s very similar when they haven’t been quoted yet. Be up front about it and call them up and tell them you can give them a better price now, when it’s slow, than you could have when you were busy or when you’re busy in the future. The beauty of this is that you’re only running leads for your existing customers, with whom the company has already established a positive relationship, and they’ve already been primed.

CHARLIE GREER has many more techniques on self-generating sales in his “Slacker’s Guide to HVAC Sales.” For more info on Charlie’s products, seminars, and speaking schedule, go to www.hvacprofitboosters.com, or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822). Email Charlie at charlie@charliegreer.com.