Don't Sell Products. Sell Comfort!
As the Henry Ford quote goes, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” In HVAC, we don’t just make money; we provide comfort.
By Dave Nichols
Naturally, you want to sell products to your customers. That’s necessary for your business to succeed. What you might not have realized is that shifting your sales philosophy from selling products and features to selling comfort, provides ample opportunities to be successful and exceed customers’ expectations.
When I talk about selling comfort, what I mean is connecting and listening to your customers’ needs and wants in order to offer solutions to their problems and make them feel more comfortable in their homes.
Customers don't usually care about all the fancy products and technical terms that go over their heads. You can sell a customer an air conditioning unit that cycles on and off with a temperature swing of six degrees—it cools the home and basically gets the job done. But, if you sell them a unit with a temperature swing of one degree, that provides much more comfort.
In talking to a customer about comfort, consider:
- Temperature and temperature swings
- Too much or too little humidity
- Dust, germs, volatile organic compounds, and other indoor air quality topics
The key is listening to what the customer is telling you. A good rule of thumb is that you should be listening 70 percent of the time and speaking only 30 percent of the time. Salespeople often think they need to carry the conversation when actually they need to give the homeowner an opportunity to do the talking.
Ask questions to get the conversation going. For example, "Do you suffer from allergies?" is a good topic opener. But don't stop there. Find out how severe their allergies are, whether they experience them year-round or just sometimes, etc. Once you have a good understanding of the situation, you can pinpoint the products to include in your pitch to the customer, explaining it in terms they can understand and that are relative to their comfort.
It's all about being in tune with the customer's wants and needs and demonstrating that you're there to help them be more comfortable, not just to earn a sale.
Dave Nichols is a training manager at Lennox.
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