Quality means different things to different people. All customers want to have the highest quality job for the best possible price. I did not say customers wanted the lowest price in a market. This is where most of us get confused. Most of us in the hvacr industry pride ourselves on the quality of our installations when the customer is willing to pay. Some of us cut the quality to match the price or cut our profits to "keep our people busy." Sound familiar?

The idea that all of our customers want to get a quality installation for the best possible price is agreed on by most of us. So why not give the customer want they want? The reason that most of us are unable to accommodate our customers is our inability to sell the value of our quality installations. We let the customer assume that all the prices they will get will be based on the same quality installation. We know that is not true, but without selling ourselves we do let this happen.

The prospects don't realize that you are buying components and putting together a comfort package to fit the application the customer has given to you. The prospect thinks that they are buying a finished product because they have seen the advertising by manufacturers encouraging them to purchase their equipment on television and in magazines.

Prospects look at your price and think all the prices they obtain are from companies who are offering the same equipment to do the job. They compare buying an hvac unit with buying a car or refrigerator. They think they're buying finished goods, but they're not. They are buying various components put together by the contractor to offer a customer the comfort and peace of mind they want.

You're different

To sell anything, including finished goods, you need to sell the buyer on the differences between you and the competition. If you were selling the same car in a town as someone else, you would not only tell customers about the features of the car, because you both are selling the same car. So you would talk about customer service and your service department. You would tell them what separates you from the rest of the auto dealers in town.

What are the things that make you different than your competition? What are the things you do on an installation that make it unique? Remember that even the things everyone does can be sold, if you are the only one talking about them. Selling is the transferring of ideas from your mind to the buyers. You must believe them first.

Lets get specific about selling heating and air conditioning. You should:

1. Talk about why you survey every job. In the past the HL & HG may not have been correct or there may be changes that would affect the load calculations and sizing of equipment.

2. Talk about the ductwork. Explain how sizing can make a difference in the air noise and quality of the delivery of the heating and cooling.

3. Talk about the location and sizing of the registers, diffusers and grilles.

Just take these three items and you can see that when you examine all aspects of the job there is much to talk about and many items to differentiate. Once you set down how you do the job and why, the quality story begins to unfold and the customer will begin to realize there is a difference in the type of jobs you can get, even using the same equipment. You will also see that the quality of the job and the peace of mind that the customer wants are in your hands.

Don't forget the one item you all have that separates all of you is your customer list and if you aren't using them in your selling approach, you are missing the sweetest part of the quality story - satisfied customers who bought your quality job.

(Dave Gleason has more than 40 years of experience in contracting, engineering and wholesaling. He has put these experiences into a comprehensive consultation and training company called Systematic Selling Inc., which offers customized sales seminars and workshops. Contact him at 1165 Antioch Campground Road, Gainesville, GA 30506; phone (800) 447-7355; fax (717) 698-6555.)