Seven Steps to Sales Success

Selling HVAC products and services in this era of mind-numbing change is different than it used to be. Whether you’re selling a $100 service agreement or a million dollar commercial remodel project, you’ll be much more successful when you incorporate these seven elements in your sales strategy.


  1. Building Rapport
  2. Fact Finding
  3. Building Value
  4. Educating Customers
  5. Reducing Risk
  6. Confirming
  7. Assuring


Building Rapport

People trust people more than products

The first sale you must make is yourself. You are judged within five seconds of meeting a customer. Your grooming, dress and attitude can affect the outcome of the sale. If people don’t feel comfortable around you, they won’t buy from you.

People want to buy from people like them. The easiest way to establish rapport is to find a common-ground. The best way can be reading the walls of your customer’s home or office. Find something of mutual interest and talk about it. People won’t display things they don’t want to talk about.

One important, yet often neglected way to establish rapport is through empathy–seeing the customer’s situation through their eyes. By doing this, you and the customer can become a problem solving team. It’s no longer you verses the customer, it’s you and the customer working together to solve the customer’s problem.

Let people know you care about them. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Because you’re in a position to help make peoples’ lives better, let your enthusiasm and excitement show. If you’re not sold, you’ll never be successful selling.


Fact Finding

You’ve got to find problems before you can solve them

Asking questions is the most important aspect of a sale. Period. Questions allow you to determine what benefits people want. Only when you know what’s important can you provide it. One of the best ways to find out what a customer wants is by using a question “check list.” You won’t forget to ask a critical question and they’ll appreciate your attention to detail and concern. When you ask the right questions, people will let you know what you’ve got to do to make the sale.

The number one reason sales are lost is because the salesperson wasn’t listening to everything the customer said. We think more than four times faster than we speak, so it’s easy to think when we should be listening. If you’re not listening with purpose and processing everything that is said, you may not hear the information you need to make the sale.

Fact finding also includes discovering problems the customer may not be aware of. This requires an ability to look at a heating and air conditioning system and determine what opportunities exist to make it better. You must be able to convert problems into lost energy, lost dollars and return of investment.

If you want to beat your competition, you must be willing to be different from them. Be willing to put on coveralls, grab a flashlight and go to work.


Building Value

 People only buy when value exceeds price

Each sale should be viewed as a balance beam scale, with price on one side and value on the other. Everything you do to add value is like dropping gold dust onto the scale. Like weighing fine gold, when the value you add outweighs your competition’s price, the sale is yours.

Value determined by the benefits people received. When you provide more of what they want, you create more value.

If you’ve done a good job of fact finding, you know which benefits to offer . . . possibly increased cash flow, greater comfort or improved reliability. Don’t forget “emotional benefits” like peace of mind, good feelings, and pride of ownership. Paint work pictures that help your customer visualize enjoying the benefits you’re presenting. Once your customer has a mental snapshot of him or herself enjoying what you offer, more than half the sale is made.

The most overlooked way to increase value is with your proposal. Because it’s a written, binding document, the more benefits it lists, the more value you add. Does you proposal provide more measurable value than your competitors’?  If not, incorporate one that does.

Value, like trust, is easier to lose than establish. The easiest way to cancel out value is not paying attention to details. On the other hand, if you sincerely believe that you’ll succeed only after giving your customer what they need to succeed, value will be easy to build and keep.


Educating Customers


“Education is not the filling of a pail,  but the lighting of a fire”-  William Butler Yeats

Most people don’t understand HVAC equipment and systems. And they won’t be able to make a wise buying decision without gaining knowledge and information from you. Be ready to educate customers. When selling replacement equipment, be prepared to explain how it works, how it’s designed and why you’ve determined it’s the best choice.

A proven way to explain something that is new is through the use of an analogy — a comparison between two different situations that are dissimilar, but share common points. Compare repairing an old HVAC system that’s experiencing problems, to painting a house; when paint starts peeling, it doesn’t make sense to just scrape and paint the bad spots. There comes a time to paint the whole house.

People are more interested in people than things, so use stories to make or reinforce important points. Also use photographs, diagrams, graphs and charts. Your customers understand and retain twice as much information when they can see what you’re talking about.

To make sure a customer understands what you are saying, ask “How does that sound?” or “Does that raise any questions?” To find out if a customer wants to gain more in-dept knowledge, ask, “Would you like to hear more about . . .? ”


Reducing Risk

 No matter how low the selling price,  if people believe the risk is too high . . . they won’t buy

Your job is to eliminate any fear, uncertainty and doubt the customer may have. Trust eliminates fear. When people trust you and believe your company will stand behind what you’re selling, fear evaporates.

Describe your company and explain its philosophy of customer satisfaction. Discuss your warranty. Show before and after photos, test results and testimonial letters. Provide a reference list, copies showing licenses and insurance, and ARI test results. Tell about your highly skilled employees and the thousand of dollars you spend on training.

One way to reduce risk is to take full responsibility. Uncertainty can be eliminated once the customer knows that no matter what tasks must be accomplished, you’ll arrange it. If there’s ever a problem, you’ll make sure it’s taken care of.



People can be ready, willing and able to buy, but most resist making a decision

You must ask people to take advantage of your offer. According to a study by Industrial Distribution, 96% of buyers surveyed said the salesperson did not ask for an order. All of your time and effort can be wasted if you don’t ask the customer to endorse your proposal.

After you give a customer an opportunity to accept your offer, they may ask for more information, occasionally in the form of an objection. Listen for the real objection. Determine how you and the customer can mutually resolve whatever stands in the way of the sale. The key is to anticipate every possible situation and be ready with the right information at the right time.



People crave assurance they are doing the right thing

Buying and selling can be an extremely emotional experience. If you leave without providing the right level of assurance, you can wind up losing the sale you just made.

Immediately after the sale, mention again the wise decision the customer just made. If practical, drop by the next day. Look for any signs the customer isn’t totally satisfied with the decision, and be ready with an extra measure of assurance.

Because of increased competition, advanced technology and more sophisticated buyers, selling into the 21st century requires more knowledge and skill than ever. The first phase is understanding the Seven Step to Sales Success. Next is fine-tuning and adapting them to meet your needs. Once these steps are understood and implemented, selling will be easier, less stressful and more profitable for you and your customers.


View All blog