In our industry we have two terms for technicians. Service & maintenance techs, and selling techs. Typically, we only allow selling techs to sell equipment and service and maintenance techs to do service and maintenance. But shouldn’t all your techs be selling techs? Each and every home they enter needs products and services you offer, not just equipment, yet we reserve the selling for those who show the potential to close. All technicians have the opportunity to offer and sell much more than just equipment. All your technicians should be selling products and services that the customer needs.
Why should you train all your technicians to sell? Selling creates more revenue for your company. It helps your technicians make more money for their family. It makes your company a preferred place to work. And providing solutions to homeowners lets the customer see your tech as a pro. Your customers need the products and services you offer to live better, more comfortable and healthier lives.
All technicians should be selling maintenance agreements, indoor air quality products and services, humidity control products, thermostats and replacement leads. When they understand the value they offer to the homeowner, they will have the desire to help people. Homeowners all have real needs that our products and services provide. They have a family member that has respiratory issues or a room in their home that is uncomfortable. They might experience dryness in the winter or they keep running out of hot water. They might want the latest technology and controls that they can control from their phone. Every home has a need for additional services you offer.
Many technicians feel that when they “sell,” they are trying to talk customers into something that they don’t need or want. They feel like customers just want them to perform the repair or maintenance and not try to sell them something. However, homeowners need and want their family to be healthier and safe while saving money. Most homeowners want advice from the professionals that visit their home, but if the pros are timid or afraid to make suggestions the homeowner loses. The technician loses the extra income and the company loses the revenue as well.
Technicians want to serve. They believe they bring value to a homeowner when they perform a repair and most do not want their customer to spend too much. Well, if that customer is spending too much on allergy medicine, utility bills or repairs then that technician has solutions to help. And, by not discussing those solutions with the homeowner, they are allowing them to waste money. I would say that is doing the customer a disservice. We don’t know what we don’t know, and it is the technician’s responsibility to let customers know about the ways they can live better.
So, how do we get them to step out of their comfort zone and begin offering solutions to homeowners? Training and encouragement. Training technicians each and every week about the products and services you offer will give them the knowledge to look for opportunities when they are in a home. Training them on how those products and services benefit the people they serve will give them pride that comes when you truly help people have a healthier, safer, more energy efficient home. Technicians need to know all about how your products work and what the benefits are for the customer.
Once your techs know what the products’ and services’ benefits are, they need a way to deliver that knowledge to their customer. Having a conversation with customers is hard for a lot of technicians. They can talk about the mechanics of the repair easily but they feel like they are “selling” when they take it to the next level.
It doesn’t have to be so hard. If they ask three simple questions of the homeowner in a casual way, the customer will respond naturally. It does not have to be an interrogation, just relax and ask whenever they have the customer’s attention. Those three questions are:
“Do you feel like your utility bills are higher than they should be?”
“Who in your home suffers from respiratory issues?”
“Where in your home is it uncomfortable?”
After the homeowner responds positively to any of these questions they will want to ask drill down questions for each one that creates emotion and urgency where the customer will want to effect a change and take advantage of the solutions they provide.
There are a lot of other questions they will eventually become comfortable asking but these three are a great start to helping homeowners understand that they bring more value than just fixing stuff. These questions will start conversations that will require the tech to begin figuring out how to help the homeowner live a better life through their comfort system. They now have a reason to discuss indoor air quality solutions and maybe even updated equipment that will help them have better comfort, lower humidity in the summer, lower utility bills and repairs, etc.
Once they have mastered the main three, you may want to suggest more. A few suggestions are:
“If I could help Andrew breathe better would you want me to?”
“Is your home dry in the winter?”
“Do you ever feel cold and clammy in the summer in your home?”
“Do you ever wake up hot and sweaty and struggle getting back to sleep?”
“If I could help you sleep through the night would you want me to?”
“Have you experienced frequent breakdowns?”
“Did you know that cleaning both your furnace and air conditioner every year can save you money by lowering your utility bills and making your system last longer?”
“If I could help your family be more comfortable in your home, would you want me to?”
“If I could help you lower your utility bills and reduce the breakdowns, would you want me to help you with that?”
“Would it make sense to find out what a sump pump costs so you can stop the flooding in your basement?”
Most homes in North America have old single-stage equipment. They have utility bills that are too high and repairs that always occur at the most inopportune times. One in four people has some type of respiratory issue, and most homes have four people living in them. That means that someone in that home is suffering and needs better indoor air quality. Walmart and Walgreens sell more indoor air quality products than anyone, yet we are the indoor air quality experts. That needs to change.
Your technicians have the opportunity to change people’s lives. They want to help people, so why don’t they do it? They don’t have the training and information they need to have the confidence necessary to do their job. When we have information that will benefit people we usually want to share that message.
Training and product information is the key. Confidence in that information that the products and services they offer are the right thing to do and will truly help people live better, healthier lives will make them want to be their best—the best comfort advisor they can be.
Effective technician communications are a cornerstone of success for every technician and one of the primary drivers of sales. To learn more about how to master tech communications and selling, visit EGIA.org/CBS-techselling and download a free training package complete with videos, online courses, industry research and much more.
Mike Treas brings experience in the contracting industry as a sales manager and comfort advisor for one of the largest and most well-respected residential heating and air conditioning contractors in the United States. He has personally worked with hundreds of contracting companies across North America conducting training and consulting in the areas of sales, sales management, business management, customer service and technician lead generation training. His background consists of 35 years in sales and sales management bringing expertise, knowledge, techniques and strategies proven in the contracting industry to increase sales. He is an EGIA Contractor University faculty member.