How to Listen People Into Buying

One key to success in selling replacement air conditioning equipment is not to talk people into buying, but rather listen them into purchasing a system they help design. The more a customer is involved in designing their own system, the higher your closing ratio and profits.


The first step is asking questions. The right questions allow you to discover problems, determine needs and goals and help make closing much easier. You can also use the answers the customer gives to help them design “their system”.

Questions that can help you discover problems, include:

“Does your kitchen get uncomfortably hot when you’re cooking?”

“Are there any rooms that are always too hot or too cold?”

 “Does anyone in your family have allergies?”


Questions that allow you to discover your customers’ needs and goals include:

“What would you like to change about your present air conditioning system?”

“On a scale of one to ten, with ten being high, how important is: . . . Saving money on your utility bills? . . . Worry-free air conditioning ownership? . . . Consistent comfort throughout your home? . . . Maintaining or enhancing the health of your family with improved indoor air quality? . . . The value of long-lasting quality?”


Questions that may help you close the sale include:

“Do you know anyone who we’ve done work for?”

 “What factors will be important to you when making your decision to buy a new air conditioning system?”

  “When would you like your new air conditioning system installed?


It’s impossible to think and listen simultaneously. Because we think four to seven times faster than we speak, it is easy to miss important information when thinking instead of listening. By having your questions written down and then taking detailed notes, you’ll stay more focused on what the customer says and means to say (content and intentions). Write down the customer’s exact words whenever possible. You’ll have notes available for the next step, and can improve your listening skills at the same time.


After the fact finding and surveying phases, the next step is to restate the customer’s goals. This is easily done by reviewing the customer’s answers to your list of questions.

“Bob and Mary, you said you wanted a system that would provide better comfort in the kitchen and master bedroom, is that correct? . . . and would help with your daughter’s allergies? . . . and one that would provide worry-free air conditioning ownership, is that right?”

Restating your customer’s goals helps them gain a much stronger feeling of “ownership” for “their system”. Ownership of ideas is an extremely powerful motivator. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, made this clear over two thousand years ago when he said, “Men do not resist their own ideas.”


Not so long ago it was accepted practice to memorize the sales presentation and present it the same way on every call. Today, the greatest success comes from customizing each presentation to show how your system best solves your customer’s problems, satisfies their needs and meets their goals. Because every customer is different, every presentation should also be different.

The key to customizing your presentation is having a presentation manual. A presentation manual can be as simple as a two inch, three ring binder with plastic page protectors. The manual can be divided into several sections including:

Company Story                       (Photograph of all your employees, copy of liability insurance, technician’s training certificate, etc.)

Product Story                          (Manufacturer’s literature, photographs of jobs, warranty data, etc.)

Accessory Story                      (Information on programmable thermostats, air cleaners, service agreements, financing, etc.)

Support Materials                    (Testimonial letters, return on investment data, photographic story of each step in the installation process, quality audit check list, etc.)


As you turn each page of your presentation manual, explain how the information on that page helps solves a customer’s problem, satisfies a need or helps meet a goal.

When you come to the pages showing your liability insurance, license, warranty and service agreement information, explain how these help provide the worry-free system the customer wants.  When you come to the page(s) showing ductwork, grills and registers, tell how you’ll use these items to provide the comfort they are looking for in the kitchen and master bedroom, etcetera.

To help make closing the sale much easier, review the customer’s answers to your question, “What factors will be important to you when making your decision to buy a new air conditioning system?” During your presentation, address each factor and show how you’ll take care of each one.


To help build value for the system the custom is helping design, always get agreement that a customer wants each major item “their” system contains.

“To give you much better comfort in the master bedroom and kitchen, you did want me to include new duct runs and a double deflection register is each of those rooms?  . .

 “To help with you daughter’s allergies, you did want me to include the electronic air cleaner, didn’t you? . . . To get worry-free ownership, you wanted the extended compressor warranty and three year maintenance agreement that includes all parts and emergency calls, is that right?”


Every time you talk about how customers get the benefits they want most, you’re creating or reinforcing value.


Even though at this point the customer usually wants “their system” and realizes they can only get it from you, you still have to ask for the order. One way to help close the sale is to review the customer’s answer to your question, “When would you like your new air conditioning system installed?” If the customer said they’d like their new system installed first thing Monday morning, ask, “If we had our installation crew here first thing Monday morning, would that work for you?” When the customer hears their own words repeated in your trial close, resistance decreases and “yes” becomes a common answer.

When you help customers realize the system they’ve helped design is affordable, best solves their problems and provides superior value, they will buy “their system” from you!

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