Your techs may need training and support to become more comfortable with HVAC financing. Here are four tips to help you do that.
The only thing more uncomfortable than talking about finances is bringing up someone else’s. But if you’re reading this blog, chances are good you understand how crucial it is to offer financing to your customers. Most people don’t plan for HVAC maintenance, and only 44% of Americans have enough savings for an unplanned $1,000 bill. So, they rely on options like HVAC financing.
Unfortunately, chances are also good that your techs only bring up financing if the customer asks. You hired them because they’re skilled technicians, after all, not because they’re loan officers or salespeople. But offering financing to only some customers could mean fewer projects and smaller tickets.
Let’s look at a few ways to get your techs comfortable offering HVAC financing more consistently.
1. CONSIDER TECHNICIAN PERSONALITIES
Training isn’t one-size-fits-all. Everyone has different skill sets, and personalized learning can lead to better engagement and higher success rates. This is why it’s important to consider your technicians’ personalities during hiring and training.
According to Training Industry, soft skills require more motivation and a desire to learn than hard skills. That’s why skills like communication and relationship building are harder to come by than repairing or installing HVAC systems. To address this gap, a New Mexico-based contractor hires people with the soft skills they need and teaches technical skills during training.
This isn’t possible for every contractor, though. You can’t teach someone how to repair an HVAC system in a day. And to navigate this skilled labor shortage, you may need someone in the field immediately. Situational questions about how they’d handle financing or pricing conversations will help you gauge their soft skills and give you an idea of what to focus on in training.
2. LEAN INTO THEIR PROBLEM-SOLVING ABILITIES
It’s important to remember that technicians are problem solvers by nature and do best with methodical, rational work. But when you ask them to offer financing without clear direction, it may just seem like another way to try to increase sales instead of seeming directly relevant to their work.
Instead, encourage techs to present financing as a solution to a problem. That’s what financing is, after all. For instance, let’s say your customer needs their furnace replaced. They don’t have the funds right now, but they’re expecting a bonus from work next month. One of two scenarios is possible:
In Scenario A, your tech could say, “Well, give us a call when you’ve got the cash,” and head out. That customer might call in a month — or they might find a different contractor. Either way, you’ve lost a sale this month.
In Scenario B, your tech could invite the customer to apply for same-as-cash financing as a stopgap. That provides your customer with an immediate solution and your business with an immediate sale upon approval. It’s a win-win.
3. OUTSOURCE YOUR TRAINING
HVAC sales training is likely only a fraction of your job. So, when you’re looking for ways to get your techs more comfortable with HVAC financing, consider outsourcing.
There are abundant opportunities for HVAC sales training, especially in the off-season. Conferences like EPIC provide training on both HVAC sales and financing. You can also reach out to your distributor partners and see if they offer training opportunities. Even if the presentations focus on sales, your techs will learn soft skills they can transfer to offering financing.
Of course, your financing company is also a great resource. For instance, when you offer financing through FTL, we provide training on financing best practices at no cost. We’ll also demo how to use our digital tools and are available to help with questions or troubleshooting while they’re on a job. Ultimately, the easier it is for your techs to offer financing, the more likely they are to do it.
4. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
According to “The Forgetting Curve,” if training isn’t reinforced, the average person will forget 75% of it within six days. So, plan to practice new skills shortly after training.
Like the training itself, practicing can be customized to the needs of your staff. Role play may be a good strategy for larger contracting companies. Choose two techs: one to play the customer and one to play themselves. Ask your techs what they need help addressing in the field. For example, they may need help with handling customer objections to pricing. Use the group time to act out this scenario and discuss tips. Not only will your techs get practice using the new skills they learned, but they’ll also get help with one of their pain points.
Not everyone has the time or resources to practice role play, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up practicing altogether. At FTL Finance, we recommend that your techs offer financing to your customers every time they’re on a call. Consider this: nearly 30% of homeowners expect to rely on HVAC financing. But if they don’t know you offer it, they can’t use it.
An easy way to offer financing every time is to work it into your current closing spiel. For example, say, “We accept cash or credit and offer monthly payment options.”
Getting your techs comfortable with HVAC financing may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Take their personalities into consideration, plan to practice, and let us help with the training.