Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first.
You probably know that energy-efficient homes can seal in and recirculate the same germs, allergens and chemicals. You should know this can cause health issues for occupants. You know that indoor air can be several times more polluted than outside air, and that the Environmental Protection Agency consistently ranks indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.
You know all this, but your customers don’t. The largest issue facing indoor air quality in the HVAC market is your credibility — and their awareness.
No one wakes up and says, “Man, what a beautiful day to have my ductwork cleaned.” Unlike preventative maintenance, which many people recognize as a plausible need, IAQ has both the specter of skepticism and the lack of evidence of need to go along with it.
You can say “Your ducts need cleaning” or “Ultraviolet lights will protect your coils” all day and have a hard time convincing anyone without an acute sinus problem, smoke, dust and pet allergies or other health issues that this is a valuable service. And considering how the HVAC market pitched IAQ years ago, it’s not surprising.
When indoor air quality first became a residential issue, many newly minted “duct cleaners” sold the service by overstating the need and lacking the science. It wasn’t necessary. Selling healthy air doesn’t require a degree in molecular science. Ever heard of asthma? About 25 million Americans wish they hadn’t. A full 6.8 million of those are children with parents who are worried sick as well. They’d much prefer to collectively avoid the 19 million doctor, hospital and emergency room visits spent trying to evade death by asphyxiation. Ask them if clean indoor air is about microbes, formaldehyde and the technicalities of UV treatment.
Nice and clean
Nope, it’s about clean air. Asthma is just one of hundreds of problems linked to indoor air quality. As an HVAC sales professional, that makes you uniquely positioned to build your business and provide a beneficial and potentially life-saving service.
So, what are they buying? They’re buying problem avoidance — a benefit that erases sizeable doubt, fear and concern with a healthy alternative.
You’re poised to offer problem avoidance and even a cure for certain airborne menaces. With the maintenance of UV lights, super filtration, humidifiers and other “better air” solutions, you can lock in more customers.
Position IAQ not as equipment, but as a packaged path to better health. Sell it against missed work, doctor visits, pharmacies, medication, family wellness — not microns and density depletion.
Though the HVAC industry has had IAQ solutions for years, it took the Sharper Image and vacuum maker Oreck to show us how to sell over a billion dollars of it — all without a single service appointment. How? Fact-based fear, evidentiary proof and piles of compelling testimonials positioned their “solution” as an easier and less expensive alternative to illness and poor health. Oreck’s infomercials are marketing seminars. Take notes.
What are you selling — and why? Are you selling hardware (technical) or software (benefits)? IAQ benefits are huge for homeowners and contractors. This is especially true while others pull back on marketing or lower prices just to get the sale. But when you offer up-sells, you create differentiation, enhance margin and increase average transaction prices while winning a longer term customer with a higher lifetime value.
Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a national marketing firm for contractors. Snips readers can get a free report, “Five Things That Drive Your Customers Crazy,” by emailing freeSNIPSstuff@hudsonink.com. You can also call Hudson, Ink at (800) 489-9099 for help or visit www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.