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Listen to sell

April 16, 2018
If you really want to amp-up sales, practice listening: it really is that simple, but that’s only the largest piece of the puzzle.

The request was relatively straight-forward as they wanted an older model, power-vented, gas-fired water heater moved from the front of their garage to the rear so they didn’t need to worry about accidentally hitting the tank as vehicles entered or left. There was a recirculation loop with a B&G 100 with bronze volute. The old model had not been installed with its burner 18” off the floor, as is required per codes and that became part of the conversation. The existing gas line was CSST, which led to a search for any bonding and we found the main gas line was properly bonded.

The date-code for the water heater revealed it was 15 years along its journey, which placed it near the end of the normal life-cycle for tank-style water heaters. Ask a leading question: listen for clues: provide answers. Although the garage is ground-level, the lower floor is also on the same level and a leak of any sort was a real concern. By being attentive to their needs - both husband and wife – you establish a rapport with trust.  You’ve established yourself now as one of their trusted advisors. Price objections fade off to the background before they even get started. Where do you lead the conversation from here?

1: Was there enough concern to warrant consideration of replacing the 50-gallon gas-fired water heater? Yes. Help the owners take off their blinders by showing them they have options: repeat history and install the same 67% efficiency style water heater while replacing the older not-low-lead-compliant bronze volute with a stainless steel model; or move to a 95% efficiency tankless model that incorporates hot water recirculation utilizing a built-in stainless steel circulator compliant with the low-lead regulations.

2: Given the concerns expressed regarding leaks, provide some guidance about whole house leak detection protection. Another yes. The model chosen has the ability to tie into the home’s burglar alarm system, which is monitored and will contact them no matter where they are 24/7/365.

3: Remote leak detector sensors that link up to their WiFi were another easy sell just by pulling up the information on an iPad.

Never, ever, lie or falsify the products’ features and abilities. Or your own, for that matter.

All of which started from a simple request to give a quote for relocating the existing water heater. One caution however: never, ever, lie or falsify the products’ features and abilities. Or your own, for that matter. Rest assured both the products and you will be researched thoroughly on the Internet. One falsehood uncovered will ensure the deal is off and your credibility/trust destroyed. 

As new homeowners, they wanted to know more about their mechanical systems. An older model gas-fired furnace and central AC provide “comfort”.  Issues to discuss:

1.     No humidification: Start with the basic drum style, by-pass, or steam humidification.

2.     No dehumidification: Do they want a noisy free-standing retail-purchased unit with an onboard bucket they need to pull out and drain daily or a far superior ducted model that can extract up to 16-gallons per day?  Provide referrals from a customer who had incredible humidity problems that were resolved after you installed one.

3.     No outdoor air: Explain why that’s important and discuss the differences between HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator) and ERV (Energy Recovery Ventilator) and why one is better for the application.

4.     No UV (Ultra Violet) sterilization: educate your customer about the health benefits associated with treating both the wet AC coil as well as the airstream.

5.     Air filtration: Pull out the cheap throw-away air filter and show them the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. After explaining various air filters like pleated or odor reducing types, move on to HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) and how beneficial that is for people with allergies and how it reduces dust settling on furniture = less housekeeping time.

6.     Thermostat: Pretty much an unlimited area with tons of WiFi models available.

7.     Another leading question and the answer is one you already know is yes. Are there any rooms where the temperature is different from the thermostat setting? Let’s talk about zoning!

Lots of fertile ground covered with a huge potential for sales and all by listening while providing answers. But that wasn’t all! They are remodeling their master bathroom too, but had not considered radiant floors or towel warmers.

All of this is great, but who has this kind of money to spend? Almost no one, except the rare lottery winner, which is why you need to make this an easy, almost painless process for your customers.  Set up a meeting with your bank to offer interest-free loans for a specified period of time. You pay an up-front fee just like you do if you’re accepting credit card payments only now you’re keeping the money local, which your bank will appreciate. The customer avoids the 21% interest the credit card companies charge. The bank has to approve the customer for the loan, which ensures they are credit-worthy and you get paid as soon as the job is complete and submitted. An unbeatable sales tool that is a win/win/win for everyone.

Dave Yates material both in print and online is protected by Copyright 2017. Any reuse of this material (print or electronic) must have the express written permission of Dave Yates and CONTRACTOR magazine. Please contact via email at [email protected].

About the Author

Dave Yates

Dave Yates material in print and on Contractor’s Website is protected by Copyright 2017. Any reuse of this material (print or electronic) must first have the expressed written permission of Dave Yates and Contractor magazine.

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