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Be the Guest Customers Want to See Over and Over Again

With the holidays so recently in our past we reflect on our guests and think about whether we enjoyed having them in our home or not. Some guests we enjoy having around so much that we overlook the interruption they bring to our lives. Others, not so much. Having guests can raise all kinds of emotions and leave you feeling great … or determined to never allow it to happen again.

So, what makes a great experience with a guest in your home? Are they helpful? Are they entertaining? Are their stories interesting, or are they just wasting your time every time they open their mouth? Do they ask about you or is it all about them? Do they leave you drained and worn out, or do they energize you and give you new hope? Do they bring value to the relationship so that you can’t wait to see them again?

Such is the relationship we have with our customers. Each time a contractor representative is invited into a family’s home, a relationship occurs resulting in emotion that leaves a homeowner feeling like the visit was valuable or the time spent was a waste. Our associates have the opportunity to engage, entertain and educate the people who have invited us to be a guest in their homes. What we do with that time is crucial to the outcome and can, when handled properly, create a happy and willing relationship that results in being invited back regularly and where everybody comes out happy.

When a contractor is invited into a home, the first thing that must occur is to get the homeowner comfortable talking with you. If you take over and do all the talking, then they may not listen when you say something that is really important. When we have discussions with family and friends and we both talk equally, then we are having a mutually beneficial conversation. Otherwise, someone is just talking while the other may be thinking about something else, or even thinking that the other person only cares about themselves.

When we engage people, ask questions about them and their family that create emotion. When we get people to become emotional about what we are discussing they will have a desire to make a change. Once someone wants to make a change in their life, we then have the opportunity to educate them on ways that can occur. The emotion that arises when people talk “at” each other instead of with each other typically is more hostile and not helpful at all. Get your customer to have a conversation with you where they can become emotional about the results and you will open the door for them to want to become educated about how they can make changes for the better.

There are a lot of open-ended questions that we should ask homeowners but I think these three are most important:

  1. Where in your home is it hard to heat and cool?
  2. Who in your home suffers from allergies or respiratory issues?
  3. Are your utility bills and/or equipment repair bills higher than you would like them to be?

Each of these questions should be scrutinized. Dig into the specifics of each answer to find out what the issues are and what the name of the person who has issues is. By asking the questions behind these questions you will create emotion. People buy on emotion. When we help them feel emotion about their family, then we are in a position to offer solutions. Create a list of goals based on the answers to these questions and the customer will want to make a change.

The goals should look something like this:

  1. Getting Miranda more comfortable in her bedroom.
  2. Helping Andrew and dad breathe better.
  3. Saving money.

When you get this specific you are in a position to educate your customer on how they can achieve these goals. You don’t have to sell when you position the solution as the logical way for them to achieve a healthy and comfortable home that saves them money with lower utility bills and fewer repairs. They might even spend less on visits to the doctor and medicines.

Take your customer on a journey that creates feelings about their family’s health and comfort. Find out what is important to them and talk about it. Just like your guests, your customers want someone who is helpful, caring and informative. Be the guest that they see value in having again and again. Have fun with them and teach them something new that helps them take better care of their family and you will create a customer for life.

Love What You Do and Everybody Wins

To make it in in-home sales, the key is to love what you do. You need to love the industry you are in and love the people you serve. Who do you serve? Your family, your customer and your company. Let’s start with loving what you do.

Sales may be one of the most honorable AND dishonorable professions. You have an opportunity to choose an industry that is needed by all and that can help families in many ways. Salespeople get a bad reputation by selling stuff homeowners do not need or want.

We are asked to come into a home to talk about updating the mechanical or plumbing and most customers think they know what they need and want. They are searching the internet, educating themselves so they can tell the professionals that visit their home what they want done. And we cannot tell people that the information they got off the internet is wrong or may not be right for them. All we can do is add to the mix by educating them even more, giving them the information that is appropriate for them based on their family goals. If we do not do an exceptional job asking questions about what they want their purchase to do for their family then we ARE just selling them something. When you know what they want your product or service to do, then you can educate them using their goals so it makes sense.

For example, when you know that Miranda’s room is uncomfortable, you can educate the customer that a single-stage furnace will give her the same comfort as the old one. A two-stage will run for a longer period filling the house and her room with comfort and a multi-stage will run all of the time filling the entire home with comfort better than ever, with even temperatures and the lowest utility bills. Now, when you ask the customer, “which one do you think would be best for Miranda?” they know what the answer is for their family and can convince themselves they need better than basic.

Indoor air quality, better drains, high-capacity garbage disposers, higher amp electrical service, self-regulating pool equipment, etc., will only make sense when we find out what they need and want and educate them on what could happen with anything they purchase. When they know the possibilities and can tell you what is right for them then everybody wins. Educate yourself in your industry to be the best, most educated person in your field and your customers will respect you for it.

Another step in loving what you do is to make sure you work for the best company. Ask yourself, “is there another company I compete with that does a better job at what we do?” If the answer is yes, then you need to do one of two things. Either fix your company or go work for the best. I find the first is sometimes pretty easy if you just try.

Okay, so now you are convinced that no other company in your area does what you do, stands behind their work and people better, and gives the best value. Now all you have to do is get really good at convincing homeowners of that. With conviction and passion, you should be able to convince anyone that doing what you and your associates do is more important than the product itself. Craftsmanship, skill, adjustments, sealing and a hearty “give-a-damn” attitude makes a ton of difference and absolutely leads to a better product in the end. Get your customer convinced you and your associates are the best and no one does it better and you can’t lose.

The next step in the process is to do what no one else is willing to do. Show your customer you are willing to do whatever is needed to give them the value they deserve. Get in the attic and see the insulation so you can do a proper load calculation. Use your sewer drain camera every time to ensure you see all the way to the street. Take the cover off the electrical panel to ensure the safety of the system. Do your job! Educate homeowners more than anyone else to the point where they can tell you what they need. Give them the opportunity to be proud that they are making the decisions for their family, not for you. Be extremely thorough, leave no stone unturned. Be the best.

When you love what you do you can’t be beat. Be who your customers need you to be. Be who your family needs you to be. Be who you need you to be. When you are at the top of your game by being the best-educated, the most positive, the most helpful and the most willing to do whatever it takes to do the job right, not only will you win but your customers will win too.

When We Tell Stories, People Take Action

As a selling technician you ask questions to help your customer understand how you can help them. Imagine when you ask your customer, "Who in your home suffers from asthma, allergies, hay fever, sinus conditions or any kind of respiratory condition?" and they tell you all about their son Andrew who has allergy-induced asthma, takes prescription medicine and even uses an emergency inhaler on occasion. You ask her, "If I could help Andrew breathe better, would you want me to?" She says yes.

When you are at the furnace you pull the filter out. It's one of the cheap fiberglass filters that cost less than a buck, and isn't worth what it cost. You say, "I bet you could read a newspaper through this filter. If I went to your kitchen, got your salt shaker and poured some salt on this filter, do you suppose some of that salt would go through this filter? Right, I bet it would. So, is the dust in your home larger or smaller than a grain of salt? With that in mind, this isn't going to take much of that dust out of the air, is it?

"Have you ever been in your kitchen in the morning when the sun is shining in at an angle? And, have you ever seen dust floating around on that ray of sunlight? That dust you can see with the naked eye floating around on that ray of sunlight is probably all over your house. Your first instinct is to get to another room where you can't see the dust but the reality is that it is there, too. Without proper filtration the dust in our homes just goes around and around through the system and throughout the house. The stuff you can see with the naked eye is also what you see on your TV and what lands on your furniture, so we have to dust it off. The dust you can see is carpet fiber, clothing fiber, dust we bring in from outside, pet dander and some say that most of the stuff floating around in our homes is our own skin. Kinda gross, isn't it?

"Let me explain how filters work. They are rated on a number scale from 1 to 16 and beyond 16 you get hospital quality air filtration. These old fiberglass filters are on the bottom of the scale, say 1 to 3 somewhere. They don't take much of the dust out of your home. Those white wavy filters you've seen at the hardware store can range from, say, a 5 all the way up to 16. The sweet spot or the number we need to focus on is the number 10 filter. The number 10 filter will take out all the stuff you can see with the naked eye. All that stuff that is floating around your home, clogging up your furnace and the indoor part of your air conditioner. Can you see how a number 10 filter could help Andrew breathe better?

"The number 16 filter not only takes out all the stuff you can see with the naked eye but it takes out a whole lot more. It takes out odors from cooking, nicotine, hairspray, bug spray and more. Have you ever been cleaning your shower and had to stick your head out over and over again just to get a breath of fresh air? The stuff we use to clean our houses can be toxic. When you finally get done cleaning the shower, you get away from the shower as fast as possible. Do the bad fumes from the cleaning chemicals magically go down the drain? Or, do they follow you out into your home? Right, and they stay in the air going around and around and around. That can't be good for Andrew to breathe either. The number 16 filter will start taking that kind of stuff out too. Beyond that you could have hospital quality air in your home if you want it. We could give you pure air taking out over 99 percent of all the stuff that is in your home's air.

"As you can see there are lots of filters. Some of the ones you can get from the hardware store that are one inch wide like yours take out so much dust, but because they have less surface area, they fill up fast and have to be changed often leading to high cost and lots of time dealing with it. We now have filters that will clean the air in your home and last, in some cases, up to a full year.

"So, now that you know all about filters and how they work, which number filter do you think would be best for Andrew?"