How to become a better HVAC sales & service pro
Whether you are a salesperson, a technician or a design engineer it doesn’t matter – having great sales and client-facing skills is imperative in pretty much any HVAC sales related role. The traits that make a good salesperson vary slightly from sector to sector, but in this industry there are some key abilities and skills well worth honing if you want to grow as a professional. Improving all these skills will certainly make you a better HVAC sales pro.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
1. Be knowledgeable
Both on a technical and sales level. Any HVAC sales pro (or even non-sales pro) that wants to be the best they can be will keep their product and tech knowledge up to date. Being knowledgeable isn’t only about technical aspects of your job though, it includes procedures and processes on how to handle situations (sales, customer service) as well as other aspects of the job such as health and safety, project management, etc. Nothing will kill a sale faster than a salesperson that doesn’t know what he’s talking about or appears to lack any confidence in his ability.
2. Be professional
Make a great impression as a professional. As a professional treat yourself as a brand. Take every opportunity to show your skills, pro-tools and pro-attitude whenever given the chance. Be the embodiment of the professional that clients would like and trust to work with. Be meticulous in your approach. Keep your personal appearance in excellent shape. Show the client what you intend to do and explain it. Document the project well and demonstrate a neat, organized and clean approach. You may be able to size a project up in two minutes but it is important to take the time to perform this routine as a ritual that will ensure you remain meticulous both in your approach and in the attention you give your prospect. So, even if you aren’t in sales you should consider yourself an HVAC sales pro.
3. Listen and understand
Take the time to understand the client’s needs well. Don’t sell what you think is the best solution. What you think is best and what the client thinks is best are two different things. Discovering a client’s needs and priorities is paramount to getting a sale and a satisfied client. Listening and understanding are major traits of successful salespeople.
4. Be empathetic
Showing that you understand your client and care for their concerns at every opportunity will help you elevate your relationship significantly. If you mirror your client’s perspective they will see someone they can trust in you. Of course, you first need to understand the client’s situation, needs and wants. Showing that you understand their position and presenting a solution that overcomes their concerns means you listen and care. Empathy is an important trait in sales and service roles, perhaps especially so in the HVAC sector.
5. Build rapport
To develop any client relationship, you must have rapport. Being friendly is just the beginning. A constant effort to develop “chemistry” needs focus and attention. You’ll need to invest in some quality time with a client before you reap the benefits of a good relationship. Be genuine in building your relationship and show interest in the person you are connecting with. Good rapport will help gain trust so you must consciously pursue this goal in every conversation. Most sales professionals have a well developed social skill set. Whether you’re in HVAC sales or service the ability to build rapport it is certainly worth developing.
6. Build trust
Make it your goal to build a reputation for being trustworthy and credible. Protect this reputation by earning and respecting the trust of clients honouring your word and proving your commitment consistently. Honesty is the best policy and a good reputation will help earn trust faster. Show that you have listened and understood what your client needs. Explain your approach and reasoning for your proposal and mention the upside and downside of each option you discuss. When selling any solution it is important to try to connect on a personal level rather than be a distant cold professional.
7. Be in control and organized
Selling solutions is a process. A disorganized individual will always appear less competent, confident and trustworthy as a professional. Having tools in order, processes in place and checklists to manage will make your life easier as well as keep you in control. If you relinquish control of a sales situation it is more likely you will lose the sale. Of course, you need the ability to be flexible to adapt when required, but having an organized approach will allow you to have confidence and flow in the way you interact with a client.
8. Don’t sell; advise and consult
People don’t want to be sold to. They want the experience of making a decision by themselves and they need your advice and input in the process. With your expertise you can aid clients to make the decisions that will ultimately result in their satisfaction. This of course doesn’t mean that you should relinquish control over the process or that you don’t need to understand your client’s needs.
Having a better understanding of what your client wants to achieve will give you the ability to steer the conversation in a direction that will serve them better. So, it makes sense to give clients a good understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each alternative and to impart your vision of which solution would work best for them and why.
9. Respond to objections
A sales objection is a concern that a prospective client brings up that may be an obstacle to you closing the sale. If you overtake this objection and dismiss the client’s concerns as unimportant you are at risk of seeming apathetic, pushy or even insincere. Objections are opportunities to explain why your solution is ideal. The way to do this properly is to have memorized a few good points for the most common objections.
So, if a client expresses concern whether the heat pump you propose is reliable, don’t say they’re all OK and miss this opportunity to convince the client. Explain to the client what guarantees are offered, mention the very low failure rate and any technical advantages of the unit that make it more reliable than other solutions.
10. Be focused and decisive
Do you need to close the deal? Do you need to drop the project? As we discussed earlier you must be in control of the sales situation. But to what end? You should focus on the objective of the sales situation. If you are qualifying the client and it seems that there is no suitable opportunity for a sale you need to end the process and stop wasting everyone’s time. If the client qualifies you should be focused on closing the sale. It isn’t a good idea to be pushy, but it is certainly important to maintain control and to use subtle nudges in the right direction to make the necessary progress.
11. Be positive
Sales is an area that requires thick skin. Rejection, bad streaks or slumps are all too real. If you feel discouraged find some positive energy to keep you going and to bring you back on track. Having a positive attitude will not only help you get through rough spots but will also help your sales performance as positivity is contagious.
Being positive is widely regarded as a must-have trait in sales as it has a major impact on motivation.
As an HVAC professional you may want to download your free copy of the HVAC Pro’s Ultimate Toolkit for Professional Development to learn more!