Show your technicians what you believe in and they will follow.

Recently, my 14-year old daughter and me spent three days studying motivation and persuasion. (Her involvement may come back to bite me since she learned the same issues and persuasion techniques that I did and will probably use them on me.)

The most important thing that I learned is that you really have to believe, 1,000 percent, in what you are talking about before you can motivate and persuade anyone else about your topic.

For the HVAC industry, that means that you have to believe in high-efficiency systems, have one in your home and experience their positive benefits before you can persuade others to purchase them.

Service technicians must do the maintenance on their own systems to be able to sell a service agreement to customers. They have to believe in them and experience the benefits firsthand.

So, if you, as an owner, don't own the products you are selling to your customers, or your salespeople and service technicians don't own them, they won't be as effective.

The same is true for service vehicles - managers' trucks must be clean before you can expect your employees' trucks to be clean.

Another part of persuasion is influence. There are six principles of influence: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social "proof," liking and authority.

Gifts

Reciprocity is giving gifts. There is an unspoken obligation to give, an unspoken obligation to repay, and an unspoken obligation to reciprocate. So, if you give a dog treats or coloring books to the children in the home, you will have started the reciprocity influence.

Commitment and consistency says that once a person takes a stand and makes a decision, there is a natural, almost automatic tendency to behave in ways that are consistent with it. So, if you get minor approval statements, the person is likely to give you the order later on.

Social "proof" is related to popularity. In social proof, you only ask positive questions. You plant positive images that make you look good. Compare yourself with your employees or customers' most desired outcome. Sometimes you have to determine what that is.

Liking is association. Associate your products with your prospects. You must link yourself to prospects so they think, "We're like each other." You are building trust.

Authority is also important. The way you dress can command authority or take it away.

The way you answer questions can also give you authority. This is true with customers as well as your employees.

The bottom line is that persuasion can be simple and easy. It doesn't have to be hard. It is a system that even a person who hates to sell can orchestrate the principles of persuasion to achieve success.

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