Creating Physical Marketing Collateral for Your Business

As a service contractor, very often when you work on a job you’ll be asked to provide some physical collateral to provide more information about your business. Outside of cheap business cards and quote/invoice forms, very few contractors actually consider this as important starting out in the business. However, customers like having access to printed collateral so they can refer their family and friends to your service a benefit that can help your business grow rapidly.

Here are some guidelines for the kinds of business marketing collateral you’ll need as well as printing advice, for the smart service contractor.

Basic Marketing Collateral Needs

Your marketing package should include the following basic elements: business cards and flyers printed on high quality materials. These are the most frequently requested materials by customers so be sure to have multiples on hand for each job. Use the best quality printing service your business budget can afford, and be sure to brand your materials with your company name, a logo, and contact information. The key is to develop a strong brand so you will stand out amongst other contractors in your industry.

Vehicle Promotional Advertisement

To enhance your marketing efforts, it’s important to also develop a vehicle advertisement program that includes high quality vehicle decals or wraps that prominently display your company logo, business name and phone numbers. This is especially important as you will be marketing yourself as you drive around town picking up equipment and to each job site. If you drive your work vehicle for personal errands, your marketing efforts will be increased with every mile.

Brochures and Service Illustration Books

Include detailed information about your services with full-color brochures and contractor service illustration books. These are handy to have whenever you are working up a quote or service plan for a new customer to be able to explain with visuals what you are going to be doing for the customer. Instead of abstract ideas, you will have illustrations and pictures that include detailed figures and information that will help you prove you are the expert in your industry.

Website Marketing

Another key element in developing your marketing collateral is the inclusion of a website address to give your customers a chance to view more information about your company. You’ll also have the opportunity to provide helpful examples of your work, as well as the testimonials from past customers which can be very powerful marketing tools. Work with an experienced marketing company to develop your print collateral as well as your online marketing resources for a streamlined, well branded approach to business promotions.

Select the Best Printing Service

As you start working on your print collateral, be sure to choose a service that offers low shipping costs and the best quality materials. Remember to order ahead of time and order in bulk quantities for savings. This will help you make a good impression with clients, and you can have pride in sharing your company with others.

About the Author: Jake Downs spends most of his time covering different printing companies. When he’s not doing that, he enjoys spending time with his three dogs.

 

Please contact Mr. HVAC if you would like to be a guest writer.

 

The Time to Close the Sale is Before the Sales Process Begins

The most important part of the sales process is the close. You can think of the close as the point in your presentation where you state to them the most compelling reasons to accept your proposal, answer questions, and overcome objections. In this article, I want to challenge you to rethink this sales model and turn it upside down.

If you’ve been selling for a while you know that the key to getting the job is often a matter of overcoming your clients’ objections. Certainly you hear many of the same objections over and over again. You should be able to anticipate these and deal with them before they are raised, and not after. Objections can include any number of things.

Think about the most common objections you encounter in your sales process. For me there are three biggies. They are credibility (can I really do what I claim I can), trust (do they believe what I am telling them), and value (is my price too high). Yours may be different, but let’ use these in order to narrow it down and offer specific advice.

Creating a Sense of Trust
Very few people are going to come out and tell you they don’t trust you. Instead they may say, “I need to think about it for a while.” Once you’re out of their house, you won’t be coming back. Trust can be built up by positive polite actions. The best time to overcome concerns is when you pull up to the customer’ home.

1. Don’t park in their driveway unless invited to. The best place to park is on the street where the vehicle can be seen from the front door. Be sure your vehicle is professionally lettered.

2. For most service industries, the salesperson should arrive wearing a clean uniform. Your client will be impressed with a clean uniform because it suggests you are not simply a salesperson, but that you are also middle class and came ready to work if needed.

3. Make sure your hands are clean. No smoking or smelling of smoke, and absolutely no ball caps. Don’t ever face a client wearing a pair of sunglasses.

4. Be sure to knock on the door rather than ringing the doorbell (there may be children sleeping). Always stand back at least three feet after knocking, so you can be seen clearly through the peephole.

5. When greeting your client, hand them a business card with your left hand, keeping your right hand free to shake a man’ hand. If you are dealing with the lady of the house, wait on her to offer to shake your hand. You never offer to shake a woman’ hand first.

6. Carry a piece of scrap carpet to set your tools on. Never set any type of equipment or tool directly on your client’s floor or carpet. Take your shoes off when entering their home, or wear booties over your shoes. You should respect your client and their home at all times.

7. Offer genuine compliments. Notice their pictures or pets and relate to them. It’ okay to share that you have a cat or dog too!

Building Credibility
Don’t forget, you’ve been called out to solve a problem. You will build credibility (and help with the trust issue) by asking deep probing questions, questions that show you really care about their problem. Whether that problem is temperature, security, bugs or remodeling, your client expects you to recommend a solution. To properly diagnose the problem, you must first perform a thorough analysis.

If you have a technical background, you may be over-relying on your technical skill. Clients don’t buy things, they invest in solutions. Use your technical ability to analyze the situation, but don’t forget to thoroughly question the homeowner. Your discussion with the homeowner is the foundation of your close. You are building trust and credibility.

Using open-ended questions is the key. If you sell air conditioning you might ask, “How do you feel about your current system?” If you are in the kitchen remodeling business you may ask, “How do you feel about your countertops? Are there any materials you are particularly fond of?” Closed-ended questions are also powerful when used correctly. For example, “What is most important to you, the overall price or warranty?”

The Dreaded Price Objection
Our research clearly shows that this is the one objection most salespeople are afraid of. First, let’ make one thing perfectly clear: price and value are not necessarily the same thing. You can pay very little and get a bad deal. You can pay a lot and get a great value.

They key to overcoming the price objection is to build more value into your sales proposal than any other salesperson has. In other words, make your solution such a “great deal” that they would be crazy not to accept it. Let’ elaborate.

Value can be measured using the following formula: Benefit – Price = Value. When you reduce what you are giving the client by what the client must pay, anything left over is called value (or a great deal). To build value you must figure out what is most important to your client and give them a solution. Talk about benefits and not features. How will this appliance save them money, make them more comfortable, or increase the value of their home? Everyone has hot buttons. You must figure out what that hot button is and provide the correct solution. If your solution solves more of their problems than anyone else’s proposal did, then your proposal is the best deal.

Here is some good general advice in dealing with objections.

Treat Objections as Questions
Always treat objections as if your client was saying, “I’m not sold yet on the facts and information you have presented. Could you please give me more information, so that I can make an educated decision?”

Never Disagree With an Objection
Never start a sentence with a “stop word” such as “BUT”. How many times have you heard that “the salesman won the argument but lost the sale”? This doesn’t mean that you have to agree the customer is right and you’re wrong. However, it does mean that you can agree to understand his point of view.

Bring Up Common Objections First
Many times the best way to overcome an objection is to mention it first (before it even crosses the customer’ mind) and overcome it during your presentation.

For example, if you were having difficulty with the price of a super-high efficiency appliance, remind your client several times during the presentation that, “It is the cheapest appliance on the market to own due to its reliability and supreme efficiency.” By the time you get to the close, “The price is too high!” will not be an objection.

Remember this: you help build trust and credibility with your actions from the moment you arrive at the client’s doorstep. Building trust help you to pre-address objections that the client may have, but won’t mention. One thing is certain: People prefer to spend money with those that they like. You must convince your client that you understand their problem and that you have the correct solution. They must believe that you are honest and know what you are talking about. The most important thing you can do is be polite, energetic, and enthusiastic.

The Four Keys To Business Success

There is a lot to running a service construction business successfully. Thousands of books have been written on the subject and many more will be written. However, all of the successful service contracting companies (especially HVAC and plumbing) that I have either been associated with or studies have the following four attributes in common.

  1. Pricing For Profit (through accurate monthly financial statements).
  2. Effective Marketing & REAL Salesmanship (most of us are bidders).
  3. Recruiting & Coaching (have you become the “boss” you quit?).
  4. Organization & Strategic Planning (most make it up as they go along).

 

How To Establish Rapport With The Customer

  • Dress properly. In most cases you should wear a clean uniform.
  • Smile and maintain eye contact.
  • Have a well-prepared opening statement designed to arouse interest and curiosity.
  • Pay them a sincere compliment.
  • Find common interests and get them to talk about them.
  • Do not talk about your own problems.
  • Use the customer’ name and use it often. Do not presume to address them by their first name. Ask for permission.
  • Limit the use of the words “I” and “me”.
  • Be enthusiastic and confident without being pushy or conceded or condescending.
  • Discretely study the home (or office) and look for clues to the customer’ style or interests.
  • Always exercise good manners and never use bad language.
  • Leave your bad habits behind.

©2000 MrHVAC.com, All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this document provided the copyright notice stays intact and the document is not redistributed or offered for sale.

Features Versus Benefits

Heating and air conditioning system features mean nothing to the average client. You must sell benefits, not features. They are interested in WIFM (What’ in it for me?). You must answer this question in order to be successful.

FEATURE BENEFIT
High efficiency Lower operating costs. Decrease environmental problems (one house produces more pollution that two cars).
High SEER rating Lower cooling costs
High AFUE Lower heating costs
Extended Warranty Predictable maintenance costs and inflation protection.
High performance air filtration Cleaner healthier air. Cleaner carpets and drapes. Less dusting and cleaning.
Humidification System Healthier. Reduce dry skin and lips. Protection for fine wood products such as furniture, piano, etc. Lower energy costs (less heat required). No static electrical shock.
Blower door interlock switch Child safety and piece of mind
Galvanized sheet metal Rust resistant
Disconnect Switch Child safety
Set-Back Thermostat Lower energy bills. Enhanced comfort. Extended equipment life.
Insulated duct work More quite operation. Energy savings. Acoustical lining.

Co-Worker Sales and Compensation Bonus Guide – HVAC

The Co-Worker Sales and Compensation Bonus Guide was designed for heating and air-conditioning companies who wish to pay their co-workers (employees) additional money for doing certain “extras”. You can certainly think of this as performance based compensation. The idea here is to offer technicians the opportunity to make a little extra money with making the incentive so strong, it might lead to a conflict of interest.
  • $2.00 shall be paid to anyone who collects for a service call, at the time the service is completed (COD).
  • $5.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who has a Door-Hanger coupon redeemed that has their name or number clearly printed on it.
  • $5.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who has a coupon redeemed that has their name or number clearly printed on it.
  • $10.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who has a customer use our services for the first time as a direct result of having a business card handed to them by that specific co-worker.
  • $10.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who sells an SEA; per system, per year.
  • $10.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who produces a sale by any other means not listed herein.
  • $10.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who receives an unsolicited letter of praise from a customer.
  • $15.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who sells a comfort enhancement such as: humidifier, high efficient air cleaner, programmable thermostat, attic power ventilator, etc.
  • $15.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who fully completes a Customer’ Proposal Request form (CPR), quickly turns it over to the Systems Consultant, and the CPR results in an appointment. No sale required, just turn in the form.
  • $20.00 shall be paid to anyone who collects for an installation, at the time the service is completed (COD). If more than one person is substantially involved, the fee shall be split equally between crewmembers.
  • $30.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who sells a 12 SEER Rooftop Packaged Unit or condensing unit and any 80% single-stage furnace.
  • $40.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who sells a 13 SEER Roof Top Packaged Unit or condensing unit, or any 80% two-stage or any 90% furnace.
  • $50.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who sells a 14 SEER condensing unit.
  • $60.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who sells a 15 SEER or higher condensing unit.
  • $100.00 shall be paid to any co-worker who recommends a qualified friend to us for employment. This person must be hired for a permanent position and last our 90-day orientation period.

Please note: You must fill-out a Bonus Claim Form along with you Payroll Time Journal to receive credit. Customers must pay their invoices or we may reverse the bonus at a later time.

©2000-2011 Mr. HVAC LLC, All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate this document provided the copyright notice stays intact and the document is not redistributed or offered for sale.

Ten Reasons Why You Did Not Get The Sale

  1. Failure to offer financing – specifically low payments.
  2. You did not speak about benefits, you spoke about features.
  3. Failure to ask the customer what they want the product to do.
  4. Failure to address objections.
  5. Failure to identify the customer’ behavioral preferences and adjust accordingly.
  6. You did most of the talking. You should do 15% of the talking and 85% of the listening.
  7. Failure to begin the presentation with a powerful and attention grabbing claim or statement.
  8. You did not use proper vocabulary. See HVAC Grammar School.
  9. You focused on the price of the system and not the value the system brings to the customer.
  10. Failure to understand what we actually offer the customer. Hint: It’ not heating and cooling.