Invitations to Pitch

By Tom Wittman

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were magic phrases to help you turn customer conversations into sales? You don’t need magic — instead, listen to your customer! If you combine your problem-solving skills with these conversation recommendations, your customers will tell you what they want and essentially invite you to review options with them.

First, solve the main problem. The one thing customers want to know when you arrive on a repair or replacement call is, “Can you solve my problem?” Before you can direct the conversation toward any other possible sales, your customers need to know that you understand their most important concern and will take care of it for them. Technicians and Comfort Advisors sometimes end the conversation at this point because they focus on solving that main problem. However, the discussion that happens next is where customers let you know what else they need.

Next, assess the system for other potential problems. Once you’ve addressed the customer’s main problem, the next step is to draw attention to other non-urgent repairs or upgrades that would benefit the customer. By doing a risk assessment on the system, you can draw attention to one or two ways to avoid problems down the line or make the home more comfortable now.

For example, does the customer have a maintenance agreement? Are there accessories that would improve their comfort? Does the system need other repairs? Is it out of warranty and due for replacement soon with a more efficient system?

We’re getting to the point where customers tell you what they need. What you have to do now is listen in a particular way.

Listen to understand, not to respond. Most of us are trained to listen to respond and to show what we know. To sell better, you must first listen to understand. That means asking questions to get more information instead of responding right away with answers. By asking the right questions and listening to understand, you’ll hear what your customers want their HVAC system to do for them. For example, you can ask the following questions:

  • What areas of your home are difficult to cool or heat?
  • Who in your home suffers from allergies, hay fever, or asthma?
  • How often do you have to dust your home?
  • What rooms have the most noise from the system?

Turn the conversation to solutions. Once you understand their situation, you’re ready to talk about the issues that matter to them and ask if they’d like to fix them. When they say yes, it’s not going to be about price or based on how you worded your offer. Instead, it will be based on their confidence that you understand what they need and have a solution to their problem.

You can find more sales insights in HVAC Learning Solutions’ Service Sales Excellence class and online training tools.

Guest blogger Tom Wittman is a national business and sales trainer for HVAC Learning Solutions. 

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