The HVAC Sales Guide for Growing Companies: How to Create an Effective Sales Process Based on Strategy
Building a profitable HVAC business isn’t just about providing top-notch service to your current customers (though that’s certainly a good place to start). It’s also about finding new customers and revenue streams so your business can continue to grow.
Realistically, there are two ways to increase sales:
Getting more customers a
Selling more services to your existing customer
The secret to both is creating a strategic HVAC sales process. This guide will help you understand the value of an HVAC sales strategy and how to create an effective step-by-step HVAC sales process. We’ll also discuss tips and tactics for refining your sales strategy and sales pitch.
So, let’s get to it!
Does Your HVAC Company Need a Proper Sales Strategy?
If you want to expand your business and increase your revenue, then yes, definitely! You’ll need a reliable, repeatable sales process to consistently find and sell to new customers.
Even if you have a strong customer base or plan to stay small and just want to maintain the status quo, a solid HVAC sales strategy helps ensure you have enough work to stay in business. If you can keep your sales pipeline full of potential customers, you’ll always have enough leads to keep you busy for weeks, months, and years to come.
A well-planned sales strategy and sales process allows you to:
Find and connect with your ideal customers
That is, the people who need your services most and are willing to hire you right now or in the near future.
Reduce how much you need to spend to get a new customer (AKA your customer acquisition cost)
This is in part because a solid sales process helps you focus on better leads who are more likely to become paying customers.
Increase your revenue and profit margins
This can be done by reducing costs, expanding your customer base, and upselling more services to existing clients.
Stay relevant in a highly-competitive field
Achieve this through building brand awareness and strong relationships with local homeowners.
What is an HVAC Sales Process?
Before we dive into how you can create a profit-driving sales process, let’s clear up what your ‘sales process’ actually is.
We’re talking about the steps required to take a potential customer from, well, potential to customer. That is, what are the precise actions you or your sales reps must take to turn a sales lead into a paying HVAC client?
Once you define those steps, it’s highly valuable to track and measure the outcome of each step. This helps pinpoint what sales activities are working best, so you can develop a reliable plan to consistently find new leads and win over new customers.
What Steps Should Your HVAC Sales Process Include?
There are five typical steps in every HVAC sales process, and each one brings you closer to turning a lead or prospect into a paying customer. Your own sales process might involve all or some of these steps, but it can also include additional steps to account for how your team works.
Step 1: Prospecting
The first thing to do when you’re selling anything is to figure out who you’re selling to.
Who are your potential customers?
Where can you find them?
How should you contact them?
Develop an HVAC sales lead list
Sales prospecting, also known as lead generation, involves finding and contacting new potential customers. You should start by making a list of people you want to reach out to, along with how you will contact them (email address, phone number, etc.). This is your list of sales leads.
Leads can come from all kinds of sources. For example, customer referrals, networking at trade shows, your contact form on your website, your social media followers, and even former customers you haven’t heard from in a while.
Your list should include as much information about each lead or prospect as you have access to, including: first name, last name, email, phone number, and where you found them.
Step 2: Outreach
Now that you’ve compiled your list of leads, it’s time to get in touch with them. You can use different channels to contact them, including:
Whether you’re calling, messaging, or meeting in person, plan out what you’re going to say in advance. You don’t need a formal script, but you should have loose talking points and a goal for the conversation.
Focus on getting to know the customer rather than diving straight into a sales pitch. Be friendly, cordial, and as personable as possible to make an excellent first impression.
Step 3: Qualifying
You might assume that any lead who’s willing to give you the time of day is a potential customer worth pursuing. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Focusing your energy on a few high-quality sales leads is often better than trying to sell to everyone who crosses your path – especially because many of them aren’t yet ready to hire you or don’t have the budget for your services.
That’s why it’s important to qualify your leads based on how likely they are to become customers. During your outreach or early on in your conversation with potential leads, work in some qualifying questions to find out how likely they are to hire you in the near future.
Using the BANT framework to qualify HVAC leads
You can follow the popular BANT framework as a template when qualifying prospects. This system looks at whether the prospects has the budget, authority, need, and proper timeline to become a customer.
That is, can they afford your services? Are they homeowners with the power to hire you – or are they renters that need permission from a landlord? Do they need maintenance or service done on their HVAC system? If so, when – ASAP, next week, or not until the end of winter?
Step 4: Demonstrate Value
This step is where a solid sales pitch comes in handy. When pitching your services, try to highlight your unique selling point. What does your team bring to the table that your competitors don’t? Basically, think about why a customer should hire you over the other guys.
If a homeowner expresses interest in your services but still seems hesitant, you can use a few different sales tactics to move the conversation forward.
One option would be to schedule a free home evaluation, where a team member visits the prospect at home, checks out their current HVAC system, and chats with the homeowner about how your team can address their needs and concerns.
This conversation not only lets you demonstrate value, but it also allows you to put together a personalized offering that speaks to the homeowner’s specific needs, budget, and timeline.
Step 5: Seal the Deal
By this point, you already know which prospects are serious about hiring you. All you need to do is close the deal by getting them to commit to a service appointment. But even with a qualified lead, this is easier said than done – especially if you’re not quite sure what approach to use.
Here are some tips to help you win over a new customer:
Do motivate them with a limited time offer. For example, you could offer a special discount for first-time customers who book this week only.
Don’t pressure a customer to agree to something they’re not interested in. Your service offering should be tailored to their specific needs, so they’ll be happy to say yes and pleased with the results.
Do use social proof to inspire confidence in your team’s abilities and expertise. For instance, you can place testimonials from past customers online to show that your services provide long-term value to homeowners.
Don’t give the customer too many options in terms of packages or price points. By limiting the number of choices, you can avoid overwhelming the customer and prevent decision paralysis.
4 Tips for a More Effective HVAC Sales Strategy
1. Communicate Value Quickly and Clearly
Practice your sales pitch and coach your team members on how to communicate value in terms the customer understands and cares about.
So, rather than talking about physical results, like a working furnace or better airflow, discuss the value added to your customers’ lives – like keeping their home comfortable and safe all year round.
2. Target the Right Leads (Think Quality over Quantity)
You don’t want to waste money on advertising to people who aren’t going to hire you. Focus on homeowners located within your service area who can afford your rates, because they’re the ones who have a potential need for your services (whether that’s right now or in the near future).
In addition to using a framework (like the BANT system discussed above), you should study your best customers. Where did they come from? How did they hear about you? What traits do they have in common (i.e. age of their home, size of home, location, service type)? Learn from your past successes so you can replicate those results going forward.
3. Use the Right Channels for Your Business
When it comes to getting the word out about your HVAC business, you should use a combination of different channels to reach as many homeowners as possible. This can include social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; as well as email marketing, cold calling, and direct mail. You should also take advantage of customer referrals by asking satisfied clients to refer your business to family and friends.
4. Get Serious About Following Up
Did you know that 80% of sales require five separate follow-ups to close? That’s five follow-up messages after your first conversation with a lead. Just because you called or emailed back and forth with a prospect once or twice, doesn’t mean they’re going to take the initiative to schedule an appointment. It’s up to you, not the customer, to make these sales happen.
When are the best times to follow-up?
2-3 days after a sales call to see if they’ve had a chance to think about your offer.
2-3 days after you send an outreach email but haven’t heard back.
Within a week of completing a job to see if they’re happy with the results and if they have any questions.
Whenever customers or leads are due for routine maintenance (i.e. during change of seasons or X months after installation).
Not only do frequent follow-ups help close more deals, it also shows that you’re reliable and follow-through on your promises. Plus, staying in touch keeps you top-of-mind for prospects who are still weighing their options. If this sounds like a lot of work, consider leveraging Housecall Pro’s HVAC software, which allows you to send automated follow-ups through our automated marketing feature.
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