Many company owners wonder if HVAC service technicians should also sell products. Some ask if they should be paid for what they sell.

My answer to both questions is yes. Who is better qualified to sell to customers than service technicians? They certainly know the ins and outs of heating and air-conditioning systems. They have the customers' trust and they know the company better than anyone does. So why not pay them for additional efforts to make the sale?

Here are some reasons not to have service techs sell that I have heard in my classes:

  1. They will try to repair something rather than replace it.
  2. If we pay them a commission for selling, they will replace parts rather than repair them.
  3. They won't sell accessory products because they have strong feelings about their effectiveness or durability.
  4. We will have to teach them how to sell.
  5. We will have to teach them how to run a load calculation.
  6. They will only sell the low-end, low-margin products.
  7. They are too honest.
  8. They'll be competing with salespeople.
All of the above need to be thought about, but they are not a reason for technicians not to sell.

I believe that technicians see more sales possibilities than newspaper and Yellow Pages advertisements could possibly generate. Why isn't this information converted into sales? There is no incentive and little time for technicians to get involved. This is where the changes need to start.

Paying technicians for sales will not make them greedy or less honest. Most will respect the responsibility and perform at the highest level. There will always be dishonest technicians who use the company's trucks and equipment for side jobs. They should be fired.

Allowing technicians to sell leads to a highly effective "team" approach. Oftentimes, there are technicians who are great at troubleshooting and fixing problems but lack people skills. A team of salespeople who go out with technicians will help overcome this, and will create a new avenue for sales. But keep in mind that both salespeople and technicians must share the commission.

If you are using your service department only for repairs, you are losing a chance to make profitable sales. Keep in mind that your customers are also buyers. They like you, trust you and want you to do the job. There should be a decent profit available.