As contractors, we wonder about this constantly……from quote to quote, why did we win this job and why did we lose that job?
They had a lower price?
That’s what we think in the heating and air conditioning business. The other company won the job because their price was lower. And we all know pricing for replacement jobs can be all over the board. The price can range from $5000.00 to $15000.00…..even for same brand of equipment. So what does the consumer think? It’s confusing for the homeowner! Remember the average person only purchases a new heating and air system 2.5 times in their lifetime. Let’s make it easy for them.
They provided the solution the buyer was looking for…..
It’s more than price these days. Would be buyers have become very tech savvy. They have so much information at their disposal regarding the products we sell today. Often times the buyer doesn’t really know what they want, we have to lead them down the path. The consumer may mention a particular brand they want, but studies show they still trust in the contractor’s recommendation.
Are we as contractors asking the right questions on the sales call?
- Do you have hot and cold spots in the home?
- Have you considered zoning?
- How does your ductwork look?
- How long do you plan to live in the home?
- Do you have allergies?
- Would you like to be able to access the system remotely?
- Did or does your current system keep your home comfortable?
- How are your utility bills?
Sometimes the competition is asking the “right” questions and really getting the homeowner involved in the purchase process. Yes, homeowners can and will get excited about the buying process. We just have to undercover what their true needs are, and we must satisfy those needs for them. Often times, if we ask the right questions, we may uncover needs they didn’t know they had!
The Competition is Fierce
The consumer also has a multitude of options beyond the local contractor today:
Today’s consumer thinks buying a new heating and air conditioning system is like purchasing a standard home appliance. They think it’s just like buying a new tv or refrigerator. They look at different brands or manufacturers, look for similar specifications or features, and then they compare price. The consumer doesn’t understand it is more about you “the contractor” than the brand of equipment. They are ready to buy on features and price. We all know that is not how it works. We have to come out to measure, check ductwork, see if the electrical matches up, check installation limitations, etc….you know the drill. But Look out! The times are a changing! The outlets listed above are catering to how consumers operate today. Look at how the home selling market is changing. You can simply list your home through an online service, or have the real estate company or agent buy your home outright. You don’t even have to list your home and worry about showings! Same goes with the car market. You can buy your car online and have it delivered. Have you seen the Carvana ads? And wait there’s one more, the food delivery services. Think about Door Dash and Uber Eats. They will bring food from just about any restaurant to your doorstep. The point is…..Times are a changing!
They worked around the customer’s schedule
For many years, we contractors had “contractor” schedules. This didn’t really align with the consumer’s schedule. We went to work early in the morning, so we could leave in the afternoon. The old mentality of “the early bird gets the worm”. This worked well for us, but not so much for our potential customer. The average consumer is very busy during those hours. It is often difficult for them to take time off of work to be home to meet us. And heaven forbid, we cancel an appointment or delay it! So, many of today’s heating and air companies are beginning to work around the consumer’s schedule.
- Weekend appointments
- After Hours
- Whenever it’s convenient for the customer
Try it sometime, you may be surprised how well it works! I bet you’ll increase your closure rate! And, even your employees may prefer the non-traditional work hours.
They made it easy to do business with them
This may one of the biggest reasons we lose sales in the residential HVAC business. The other company made it easier to do business with them. This can accomplished in many ways.
- All around great customer service
- Installing around the buyer’s schedule (nights and weekends)
- Offering financing
- Accepting Credit Cards
- Online scheduling
Appearance is Everything
Have you thought above some of your personal buying habits? Why you do what you do as a consumer? Why do we go to Starbucks? They are not the cheapest coffee. Maybe we perceive it is better, there’s a sense of belonging when you go there, and maybe it’s just better coffee. Appearance is huge when it comes to the residential HVAC business. The general public sometimes has a stereotype when it comes to contractors. Please don’t get mad…..but sometimes consumers associate certain traits when it comes to the contracting world. They have become accustomed to bad service, poor quality, poorly dressed, and generally unprofessional business practices. What if we change all of the consumer’s misconceptions? We provide great service, show up on time, uniformed, and deliver beyond their expectations. What do think would happen? Here are some other things that influence consumers buying from you:
- Uniformed employees
- Spotless vehicles
- Great online reviews
- Community involvement
- Background checks and drug testing
- Employee photo ID’s
So their price was Higher after all
Often times we find out the other contractor awarded the job did indeed have a higher price. Studies show that only a small portion of the population buys on price. The vast majority make purchase decisions based on the highest perceived value. Let’s spend our time and energy working on how we can deliver higher value, versus seeing how we can cut costs so we can do the job cheaper. If we all work on what matters to today’s consumer; we will all win more jobs.