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Communication Excellence for Technicians

Sept. 14, 2018
We need to get our technicians to admit that they make decisions for their customers every day.

By Mike Treas

Communicate with excellence. Isn’t that what we want our technicians to do? Communicate with homeowners the opportunities for them to be comfortable, safe, healthy and how to save money. Imagine if your technician was so excellent in his or her communication skills that every homeowner they talked with completely understood all the possibilities available for them to take the best care of their family through their HVAC system. Had all the possibilities laid out for them so that all they had to do is make a decision. To give a simple yes or no. And be happy either way.

What helps you grow your business? Is it repairs? Is it tune-ups? I don’t think so. Sales is what grows a business. Sales of replacement systems and accessories are necessary for growth and long-term success.  Sales.

And technicians typically do not see themselves as salespeople. They want to help people. Help them save money. Help them to have a running system that accomplishes the family’s needs. But do they ever ask the homeowner what those needs are, or do they assume they know what the family’s needs and wants are. I think it is the latter. They assume a lot and who loses? The family AND the entire HVAC company.

All that said, let’s figure out how to fix this. First of all, we need to get our technicians to admit that they make decisions for their customers every day. They decide the customer does not want to have better air quality in their home, so they don’t ask. They decide that the customer does not need to be more comfortable throughout their home, so they don’t ask. They assume that the customer does not want to spend a bunch of money on a new system in order to save money, reduce the inconvenient breakdowns and become more comfortable and healthier. They make all these decisions for customers.

Maintenance agreements lead to trust. Trust leads to sales. Sales grow companies.

Technicians should let customers know that they are there to fix the problem. Let the homeowner know they are going to find out what is causing the issue and will provide solutions adding, “I am also going to be looking for anything that may be costing you more than it should just to heat and cool your home.” Now, when they see worn parts that will fail sometime in the future, old equipment that has high utility usage, inefficiencies in ductwork or just poor installation details, they will be able to talk with the homeowner honestly about what they can do, offering solutions to specific issues. When we tell technicians that they need to go out and “sell” something, we get push back. When they are the pro and they determine just what an HVAC system needs, then they are in charge and they will be proud of their recommendations and their work.

Maintenance agreements lead to trust. Trust leads to sales. Sales grow companies. Techs should always offer a discount option while describing how regular maintenance lowers utility bills and reduces repairs -- and maintenance agreement customers receive a drastic savings on replacement options. Let’s face it, we do not make money on maintenance agreement tune-ups. Those customers are replacement customers lying in wait. And when they are ready, they will use the company they trust. So if they trust you and your technicians, when the tech points out what parts are going to fail in the future, the customer many times will approve the work to be done now instead of waiting for it to fail. And when the technician asks, “Would it make sense to find out what a new one cost, just so you know?” the maintenance agreement customer is willing to take it to the next level.

To take it to the next level of trust, technicians can also ask:

“Who in your home suffers from allergies or respiratory issues?” and, “Where in your home is it uncomfortable?” or, “Do you feel like your utility bills are too high?”

When the customer likes and trusts your technician, they will give them honest answers. Then the technician can offer solutions to the homeowner; solutions that are specific to their family and will provide them with real results based on real needs. A perfect follow up is, “If I could help you with that would you want me to?” You would be amazed at how many times homeowners will respond with a resounding “YES!” Make it specific: “If I could help Andrew breathe better, would you want help with that?” Or, “If I could help your family be more comfortable in the bonus room, is that something you would want me to help you with?”  

Homeowners will respond with true interest when they see that the technician truly cares. When the tech shows empathy and thinks about how their solutions offer families a way to be healthier, comfortable and save money, then people will say yes.

Technicians are the lifeblood of our industry. They need to know how important they are to all of us. Asking just a couple of questions that lead to opportunity and offer solutions that are specific to that family’s needs will lead to sales. Most technicians will tell you they don’t like to sell. But they don’t need to sell; just offer real solutions that are specific to that family and customers will buy.

At EGIA, we understand that technician communication and selling is one of the most important areas of any contracting company – it drives the customer experience, your brand reputation and revenue. To learn more, and to receive a complimentary technician communication and selling training package, visit EGIA.org/cbs-techselling.

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.

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