The Secret to Sales Success?..ASK

Reprinted with Permission from Skuttle Butt Fall 2006 by Marty Hansell, VP, COO

I’ve never been one for selling extra HVAC products and services to homeowners that they don’t need. As a consumer, I hate being robbed of my hard-earned cash by salespeople who sell me services I can’t use or goods that aren’t worth the price. On the other hand, I appreciate to those who guide me to purchases that genuinely make my life better, easier or more enjoyable. Along those lines of making lives richer, I read something a while back that confirmed my suspicions about how contractors can make more worthwhile add-on sales. The secret? Just ask. In his article, “Survey Says Contractors Adding Little ‘Value’” (Snips, December 2005), author Dave Gleason captured my attention with a survey he uses in his “Selling in the Home” workshops. When a heating and air conditioning dealership asked 163 homeowners who had recently purchased comfort systems if the installing contractors had discussed service agreements, electronic air cleaners, programmable thermostats or other products or services, the company obtained these eye-opening results: Admittedly, 163 customers is too small a sampling from which to draw reliable conclusions. But assuming that these numbers are indicative of reality, here’s the encouraging truth: On average, add-on products and services were purchased 69% of the time they were offered!

Sales Is Helping People

I realize that, to many contractors, sales can be intimidating. A common attitude is: I don’t sell; I install. But inside this issue of Skuttle Butt, HVAC sales and service guru Matt Michel makes an excellent point. “Sales is the art of helping people buy,” he says. “Sales is something you do for people, not something you do to people.” If you think of sales as helping homeowners obtain those health and comfort aids they really want or need, then you’ll no longer view it as an unwelcome inner demon pressuring you to annoy customers with the deal of the week.

My Challenge

Here’s my challenge to you…For the next year, make a point of offering worthwhile add-on products and services to your residential customers whenever you have the opportunity. Don’t sell; help. Keep track of your success rate. I’m willing to bet that you see a significant boost in sales and an increase in customer appreciation. Maybe you’ll even grow your customer base. Also, if you will, let me know how it’s going. And please, tell your customers about Skuttle brand humidifiers, air cleaners and make-up air controls whenever it’s appropriate. For many homeowners, they make life-enriching add-ons that are truly appreciated.