How to stay off the nightly news

By Todd Liles How to stay off the nightly news

Sales leads are an essential component of an HVAC business.  There is no denying that you need them, and can’t do business without leads.  There is also no denying that poor lead setting practices can get your company on the nightly news.  RELATED – How to generate more replacement leads

I’m sure you have seen an article, or a news report, on the topic of “Con-artist sales techniques.”  They come with a variety of titles:

“Don’t get taken advantage of.  What you need to know about your HVAC system!”

“HVAC company takes advantage of the elderly.”

“What you don’t know can hurt you!  Buyer beware of HVAC scam.”

The most recent article I read was, “Second opinion saves Riverton woman $11k on AC/Furnace.”  Here is a video clip that goes along with the article.

The characters in this story:

  • A group of news broadcasters who are looking for a story.
  • An elderly lady who wants to take care of her home, and be taken care of by others.
  • An owner that is running service calls in blue-jean shorts, that is doing what he knows to do.

The plot line:

  1. Elderly lady responds to a low cost tune-up offer.
  2. Service tech tells her she needs a new one.
  3. She says yes, then calls her son.
    1. Son automatically thinks the company is ripping her off (assumed).
    2. Son wants to be right, so he calls another company (assumed).
  4. Son gets the story on the news.
  5. We all get to witness the results.

The video is only 3 minutes long, and the article is very short.  So, it is truly difficult to reach an absolute conclusion of right or wrong doing by the first company. 

However, there is no doubt that news reports like the one above, cause damage to our industry.  These types of articles create distrust of air conditioning businesses, and the need to run a profitable business.

Let’s unpack 5 methods that will rebuild trust, and keep you off the nightly news.

5 things to do when setting an HVAC sales lead

  1. Don’t use deceptive marketing methods.  Great marketing can be compared to beautiful art, or horrid pornography.  Both draw your eye in, but one is evil.  I have seen both examples in the field.  Pornographic marketing preys on the weak.  It gives false messages, and wraps itself in sheep’s clothing.  Many companies have sent out cards that say, “Your system’s warranty is expiring.  Call now.”  Or, “Your system is not safe.”  Then these companies will use official looking logos, or fake ID numbers, to create false authority.
  2. Avoid “Bait and Switch” tactics.  I support technician generated leads!!!  I think they are one of the greatest things to come along since sliced bread.  However, I think a good technician lead is based on need.  Not a deceptive tactic of “bait and switch.”
  3. Document your findings.  You need to document and prove your recommendations.  Don’t leave yourself open to the opinion of a lesser skilled service tech to say you are wrong.  Put everything in writing!
  4. When in doubt, over communicate.  I teach sales, and understand the principle of “shut-up” when the client is ready to buy.  I also understand that some clients will buy out of a sense of pressure or obligation.  It is those clients that will get you on the news.  When you are in doubt of the client’s mindset, over communicate.  Ask questions that verify their understanding, and agreement.  This is especially important with the elderly.  RELATED – PRESS PLAY for Sales Classroom Training
  5. Bring in the outside people that need to be involved.  Bringing in another person into the equation can stop or slow a sales lead.  I get that, and I understand how frustrating it can be to lose an opportunity.  However, it is often the thing that needs to be done.  Not every elderly, or young person, needs help in the process.  However, some do.  When in doubt, seek clarity, and seek involvement.  The process will be longer, but the results will be better for all involved.

Question: Have you seen the damages of bad publicity?  What do you think could have prevented it from occurring?  Share on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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