Solution selling uses your staff’s strengths to find the best solution for your customer — without feeling like a used car salesman. Here are some tips to get started.
You’ve been an HVAC contractor for years, and while you love your work, there’s just one thing that has never sat right with you: the sales process. You don’t like upselling to customers because it feels like you’re just trying to get money out of them. But offering discounts affects your bottom line too much.
Solution selling is a sales method you can use along with the traditional transactional selling method. It’s just what it sounds like: you’re finding a solution for your customer and selling it to them. The goal is to create trust and a relationship with the customer so they’ll return in the future. But how do you get started with this sales method? Here are some tips.
1. UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BUYERS
The key to solution selling is offering your customer the best solution for them, even if it doesn’t provide immediate benefit for you. You can find this solution by first understanding the different types of buyers, then figuring out which one your customer falls into. Otherwise, you may end up offering a solution to your customer that doesn’t resonate with them.
There are three main buyer types: the spendthrift, the researcher, and the frugalist. Let’s walk through selling an IAQ solution to each customer to get an idea of their mindset.
Profile #1: The Spendthrift
The spendthrift is your impulse buyer. Emotions motivate their decision-making; they’ll spend what they need to get all the bells and whistles.
To sell IAQ to this customer, focus on how it will make them feel. For example, they’ll breathe better, sleep better, and their allergies could improve.
Profile #2: The Researcher
The researcher probably did their homework before they even scheduled an appointment. They’re not afraid to spend if it seems like a good deal, but they’ll take more convincing than the spendthrift.
This customer may already have a solution in mind when you show up. But you’ll still need to sell them the best solution for their home. Compare the features of different options and use data and statistics to back up the solution you think is best.
Profile #3: The Frugalist
The frugalist will try to get the best bang for their buck. They may be on a budget, or may just not like spending money (you know the ones). Like the researcher, they want the best deal, but they’re more focused on the price tag than the benefits.
To sell the frugalist on IAQ, focus on the utility savings over time. This customer will also be interested in IRA incentives*, same-as-cash loans (SACs), and/or installment loans.
2. INCORPORATE NEW TOOLS AND PROCESSES
Promotional financing can be a great tool to meet the needs of any buyer. SACs are an ideal solution for the spendthrift and the researcher. These buyers aren’t afraid to spend their money, but having a longer time to pay without interest can make upgrades more affordable. SACs are also a great option for the frugalist who has the money but just doesn’t want to spend it all at once.
On the other hand, installment loans with rate buydown fees are an excellent option for the frugalist on a budget. With these loans, you pay a fee to the lender to get your customer a lower interest rate. This can make upgrades more affordable and ensure your customer gets the best bang for his buck.
Offering promotional financing can feel kind of sales-y, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating sales scripts can help you and your techs feel confident when offering customer financing solutions and solutions to your customers in general. Slow days are a great opportunity to practice role-playing with the scripts so it feels more natural.
3. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT IMPLEMENTING SOLUTION SELLING
Now that you understand buyer types and are ready to incorporate new processes, it’s time to introduce the idea to your staff. First, find one or two employees who will be your cheerleaders, or change champions. They can help you get the rest of the team on board.
Your techs will want to know more than just what solution selling is; they’re going to want to know why you’re doing it. Share the benefits with them: solution selling provides better customer service, can help you increase your ticket size, and gives you future business opportunities (which gives them job security). None of you want to be salespeople, and this method helps you still make sales while finding an appropriate solution for your customer.
Take time during your staff meetings to ask everyone to share their wins, big or small. Maybe someone tried selling a solution for the first time. Or they couldn’t sell a solution today, but they have something to follow up on later. Everything’s a win, and that positive mindset will help keep your team going.
4. LEAN INTO YOUR STAFF’S STRENGTHS
Your techs are problem solvers at heart. That’s why they chose this career path — they enjoy finding and methodically fixing problems with an HVAC system. So how can you work this into the sales process?
Odds are you and your techs probably don’t like the transactional sales process for the same reason: it feels icky and awkward. Finding a solution for the customer can still help your techs make a sale, but it will feel more natural for them and less salesman-y. Solution selling also gives your techs a way to start building relationships with customers so they’ll come back to you down the road.
As you get this process started, you may find some gaps that need to be filled. For example, maybe your customer is ready to go with the solution your tech suggested, but they just can’t afford it right now. Having customer financing options before you even need them will set you up for success.
FTL Finance can help you fill in these gaps and find a solution for your customers. We’re able to approve up to 80% of your customers with our programs and paternships with other lenders. Plus, our digital tools and dedicated support make providing customer financing solutions easy, even in the field.