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April 25, 2024

How Non-Sellers Can Effectively Navigate the HVAC Sales Process

Help your staff navigate the HVAC sales process by tapping into their problem-solving abilities and guiding customers on a journey rather than through a transaction.

How Non-Sellers Can Effectively Navigate the HVAC Sales Process

“Once upon a time, in the dead heat of summer, a family’s A/C unit suddenly went kaput. They called around in distress, and your company swooped in and saved the day. You got a sale, the customer got cool air, and they all lived happily ever after.”

Sound familiar? At first glance, this scenario seems incredibly efficient. Like Batman responding to the Bat Signal, you’re there, then you’re gone (and the customer may not even know what happened).

While that setup works nicely for Batman, it leaves your business little opportunity for the kind of customer interaction that can lead to an upsell. On the other hand, non-sellers (think: your service techs, your installers) may balk at the directive to spend time “closing” or upselling. Not only are they not natural salespeople, but selling feels slimy and self-serving when they’re there to be helpful.

We see this frustrating push-pull go down between contractors and their staff constantly. And we’d argue that the reason selling feels so slimy to your staff is that this transactional, Dark Knight-like approach to the HVAC sales process makes your business the hero of the story, not the customer.

But if you aren’t the hero of the story, then what role do you play? We can find our answer by looking at a tale as old as time: the hero’s journey.

What Is the HERO’s Journey?

The hero’s journey is a common formula for many books and movies. Joseph Campbell introduced the 17 stages of the hero’s journey in 1949, and Christopher Vogler condensed it to 12 stages in 1985 (though not every hero takes all of them).

We won’t rehash every stage, but broadly, the hero’s journey looks like this: Our hero is a regular person in an ordinary world until some event forces them into adventure. The hero is often reluctant to embark on this adventure, usually because they doubt their ability to overcome the challenge they face.

Enter: the mentor. This character offers advice, training, or even a good old-fashioned pep talk to give the hero the courage and strength they need to move forward. (See where this is going?) Throughout the journey, the hero encounters tests, allies, and enemies before eventually overcoming their final challenge, earning their reward, and returning home.

Now that we have this basic understanding of the hero’s journey, let’s return our attention back to the real conversation: What does this tell us about your role in the HVAC sales process?

Why Make Your Customer the Hero in the HVAC Sales Process?

We grow up learning about heroes and seeing them in all aspects of life, so it’s natural to want to become a hero yourself. But when it comes to HVAC sales, it’s important that you be the mentor instead. The Alfred to your customer’s Batman. The Obi-Wan Kenobi to their Luke Skywalker.

Let’s take a look at this from your tech’s perspective. As we said earlier, not all of your techs are natural salespeople. Offering more expensive solutions for your customers’ problems can be uncomfortable. But stepping into the mentor role is much more natural and less sales-y.

Mentors don’t just tell the heroes of these stories what to do; they guide them. So, instead of just offering one solution or an upgrade, your tech can offer customers multiple options at multiple price ranges. This takes pressure off your tech because they’re not explicitly recommending the most expensive option, and the customer gets to make the final decision with their guidance.

This provides a better customer experience, too. Customers want options, and providing options increases your credibility. By letting your customer be the hero, you’re giving them the power of choice and control while building a lasting customer relationship based on trust.

How You Can Be a Mentor for Your Customers

There are different approaches to mentoring, but to keep things simple, use the acronym HERO to help your customer along their hero’s journey:

HEAR:

You learn their problem with their system, then ask a few more questions to determine their needs and listen for clues. You may ask about their budget so your solutions are realistic. Or you may ask other questions, like their home’s comfort level, that they may not think to mention but can bring meaningful insight.

EVALUATE:

What would you want if you were in this situation? Would you want the HVAC tech to go through the motions? Or would you want them to take their time to figure out all possible solutions and then evaluate them to decide what’s best? During your evaluation, consider the problem at hand and the information you gathered through listening.

RECOMMEND:

Once you’ve considered possible solutions for your customer, recommend the most realistic ones. For example, you could recommend a solution your company offers, but would something else work just as well, even as a stopgap? Should you recommend both options or just one of them?

Be proactive in your recommendations as well. Is there something that could improve your customer’s life beyond the specific issue you’re working on? Will they need a new system in three years that they could start saving for now? Remember: a recommendation isn’t a requirement. You can look to the future with your recommendations; it doesn’t have to happen during this visit or even the next one.

OFFER OPTIONS:

Provide your customer with options. Options give your customer the power of choice and control. We recommend using a “Good, Better, Best” model. “Good” will solve the customer’s issue today, “Better” adds onto the “Good” option, and “Best” is the ideal option to solve their problem.

Using this method, you still have control. You determine which options you offer to the customers based on your assessment. But by giving them a say in the process, you provide a better customer experience.

Make Your Customer the Hero of the HVAC Sales Process

Acting as a mentor and using the HERO method helps you successfully guide your customers on their journey and let them be the hero. But what makes a customer feel like they have control of their own story so they become the hero? Options.

Glinda gives Dorothy the option of staying in Oz or following the yellow brick road to get home. Morpheus offers Neo the option of the blue or red pill. Weird Barbie offers Barbie the Birkenstock or the pink heel. While vastly different stories, every mentor offers the hero options, even when there is only one they want the hero to choose.

In our HERO method, we recommend offering “Good, Better, Best” options for the customer so they have some control over the situation. You could also offer financing to help make the ideal solution more affordable and attainable.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: Selling doesn’t have to be self-serving. By centering your customers, offering informed solutions, and guiding them through the decision-making process, you and your team provide real value.

Check out our webinar for a deeper dive into the HERO’S journey, HVAC sales, and customer financing.

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