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  • Thursday, November 07, 2019 1:10 PM | Deleted user

    Devin Reed 07/12/19

    “Use your words.”

    It’s a good reminder when you’re angry or upset. But it’s also a good reminder when you’re emailing a prospect or on a call.


    Because the wrong sales phrases — no matter how natural they seem — can kill a deal before it starts.

    Why Some Sales Phrases Need to Go

    Expectations of sales professionals have changed over time. With an unlimited choice of product options (thanks to the internet) and access to all the information they need at their fingertips, buyers have more leverage and higher expectations.

    Having a good product – even the best product – isn’t enough to successfully engage and sell to the modern buyer. Year ago, buyers actually needed to engage with salespeople to become educated about functionality and the state of the market.

    Crazy concept, I know.

    But as market dynamics have shifted, salespeople must evolve to match buyer expectations. A big part of that is crisper communication.

    To become and remain a successful seller in the modern age you need to communicate and engage in a meaningful way. In short, in today’s world, sellers just need to be better.

    And today, we’re going to focus specifically on using your words — your sales phrases — better.

    There are two types of bad sales phrases we’re going to discuss:

    • Those formed from laziness
    • Those that aren’t effective

    It’s not a knock on the profession, because I’m guilty too. We don’t get the results we could (or should) because we’re using these lazy and ineffective sales phrases.

    But that doesn’t change the fact: For salespeople everywhere, the pressure is on to cut through the noise and be memorable to potential buyers.

    Here they are: 6 sales phrases you need to eliminate today and tips for what to say instead.

    Lazy Sales Phrases

    Salespeople have a lot of conversations, and pending the velocity of their sale cycle, the types of conversations can become very repetitive. When any human task becomes repetitive, consciously or unconsciously, we naturally look for ways to cut corners.

    And that’s where lazy sales phrases are made, used, and become habits.

    Ask yourself the last time you used any of the phrases below. If the answer is anytime in the past 12 months, then read on to nix them today.

    RELATED: Do You Make These 13 Mistakes During Your Sales Conversations?

    “Just Checking In”

    This is notoriously known as the laziest and worst sales phrase on the planet. “Just checking in” is a zero value-add for your prospect, and therefore VERY easy to ignore.

    Why are you checking in? This line is so lazy, it doesn’t even bother to say why. Your recipient has to spend time and energy opening the email, figuring out whether they’re missing something (surely you didn’t send an email for no reason, right?), then answer.

    It’s too much work! Email ignored.

    What you’re really trying to say is this: “Are there updates on ___ (that thing you care about)?”

    Try this instead. Let’s say you’re waiting for an update on legal review.

    Don’t: Hi Keith – Just checking in to see if you have any updates?

    Do: Hi Keith – Are there any updates on the legal review process? Our team is on standby if you have any concerns.”

    Or perhaps it’s been a few weeks since you talked to your prospect.

    Don’t: Hi Myra – Just checking in. Do you have 30 minutes to meet?

    Do: Hi Myra – Has timing aligned to regroup? When we last spoke, May was a better time to revisit how we can [insert value prop] for your team. Does it make sense to reconnect on Tuesday?

    By asking if it makes sense to regroup, you spark a dialogue. You’re more likely to get the “why” behind the answers — positive or negative — because you’re not leading with an ask.

    Remember, attention is short and you have limited words to burn, so use them wisely. Cut any and all filler words, and replace with context and value. Make it as easy as possible to respond to you.

    And don’t even think of using, “touching base in its place. “Touching base” is its ugly cousin. Hard pass.

    “Any Questions?”

    This lazy sales phrase plagues discovery calls and demos across sales floors everywhere. It makes me cringe.

    I love to hate this question because, until recently, I also used it. Sellers think it’s a quick “out” to spark a dialogue, but it falls flat. Why?

    What sellers and (most) buyers want is a conversation that is challenging, insightful, or simply interesting. Many sales leaders would call this “meaningful.”

    There’s a time and a place to ensure questions are all answered, but “Any questions?” is the laziest of them all. Similar to “Just checking in,” you put the responsibility on your prospect to generate a topic of conversation.

    When at a natural transition in your demo, try instead:

    Taylor – what’s most interesting about this to you?

    Now they’re on the spot to answer honestly, and therefore, meaningfully. This question will either surface

    1. What they see as most valuable
    2. A question about what you said/showed
    3. Or they’ll say, “I don’t know,” or “nothing”

    The last option is undesirable for them because it will make them seem socially uninteresting to you and their peer participants. So the former two answers are most often the result. And this gives you exactly what you want.

    Plug and play this in your next conversation:

    “What about this _____ (feature, product, story, use case) is most interesting to you?”

    Then stop talking. After a short pause, you will get the conversation you so eagerly desire.

    Use this on every call and watch single-word answers disappear.

    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Talk Less, Listen More. Do You Know The Golden Talk vs Listening Ratio?

    Ineffective Sales Phrases

    Some sales phrases don’t need to be completely removed from your vocabulary. But they are ineffective the way they’re currently being used. They only need a bit of tweaking to make them useful.

    Let’s take a look.

    “List Price” or “Rack Rate”

    Aside from making you sound like a used car salesperson who’s reading the sticker price off a used Nissan, when you use the phrase, “list price,” you completely negate the validity of your asking price.

    You’re subliminally saying, “Here’s our starting point. It’s your turn to take a hack at it.”

    Worse still, when you say any of these words — list pricetypical price, or standard price — at any point in a deal, you can expect your sales cycle to extend 19% longer than when you don’t use these terms (


    Fortunately, by slightly altering your word choice, you can drastically improve the beginning of your pricing talk track.

    Don’t: list price

    Do: approved pricing

    The change is subtle but has a psychological impact.

    RELATED: Reframing the Cost Question as a Sales Advantage

    “Approved pricing” suggests the price is specific to the buyer’s scenario. It feels like there is thought behind the number, which gives it credibility.

    I don’t expect this change to eradicate discounting requests or negotiation from your sales cycle, but at the very least will give you more confidence and a stronger pricing dialogue.

    “Pick Your Brain”

    This sales phrase is a big loser. I mean, think about it: Getting your brain picked sounds taxing and, frankly, unenjoyable. It also means the person doing the picking is getting value at the expense of the pick.

    The mistake is that salespeople try to preface an “ask” with an unattractive, one-sided dialogue:

    Don’t: Hey Marie, 

    Just touching base following my last email. I’d like to pick your brain on your web optimization tactics and share best practices from our 2,000+ clients. Do you have 15 minutes tomorrow?

    Why not “give” value instead?

    Do: Hey Marie, 

    I’ve identified two key areas where we can impact your web optimization results, specifically following our work with other AI-based data labeling organizations.

    What’s the best time for us to connect this Thursday to review?

    Don’t mask a weak or cold ask with a “brain pick.” Instead, be direct with a give-first mentality, and watch your responses increase in volume and warmth.

    “Just Wanted To”

    This sales phrase doesn’t work on multiple levels: It feels passive. It’s casual. And it’s selfish by definition.

    In speech, this phrase often goes unnoticed. We hear it as “simply confirming,” which isn’t terrible.

    Via email, however, it has much more of a negative impact. People often read the first few words of an email via mobile notification or very quickly via desktop. Leading with “just wanted to” makes it sound like you’re setting up an ask or a task — and no one wants either.

    Don’t: Hey Morgan – Just wanted to make sure you have the agreement. Did you get it?

    Instead, be more direct and proactive.

    Do: Hi Morgan – I’m reaching out to ensure you received the agreement. Can you please confirm? 

    You can be direct and still be polite in your ask, so instead of leading with what you want, start with why you’re reaching out.

    Remember, the rule of thumb is to give first. With that approach, you’ll win your prospects’ trust (and earn their time). Don’t let self-interest guide your messaging.

    Don’t Be Lazy with Your Sales Phrases

    You’re not a lazy sales rep. You’re a successful sales professional who is constantly striving for improvement. (Like reading the best sales blogs.)

    That being the case, you need to use your words effectively — not just when you’re speaking, but in email as well.

    Use these updated sales phrases and techniques, and level-up your conversations.

  • Thursday, October 31, 2019 1:00 PM | Deleted user

    People Don’t Read Positive Reviews

    Written by: Jeannie Steinbuch, Digital Sorceress

    Eek!  An irrational customer just left you a 1-star review.  Hey, it happens to the best of us.  But now you have to get 100s of 5-star reviews to even it out, right?  Yes and No.  Bad reviews can work to your benefit, and even turn into sales, if you handle them well.

    Think about how you behave and shop online.  It’s probably similar to how your future customer will act. Imagine you are looking for a house cleaning service for your home.  You google what companies are available in your local area and find three companies near your neighborhood.

    Eastside Cleaners” has eleven 5-star reviews

    Westside Cleaning Company” has 25 reviews with an overall 3-star rating

    Northside Home Cleaning” has 50 reviews with an overall 4.6-star rating. You will click on this company.  Because, well, most people would.

    Risk Vs. Reward

    But Northside only has 4.6-stars, so you dig deeper.  You don’t want to spend all day reading reviews, and what you really want to know is “what is wrong with Northside?”.   You click on the 1-star reviews to read them. Why?  Because you are a human and are forming a risk vs. reward projection in your mind.  What risk are you taking using this company?  What does this company do poorly?  You want to know these things before you hire them.

    It turns out Northside Home Cleaning tends to run late.  The first 1-star review is an angry customer who stated that Northside’s staff came two hours late.  You also read that Northside’s management responded to the angry customer and offered a free follow up cleaning.  Northside didn’t get upset or defensive but instead made it right.  You read a few 2-star reviews, and they end the same way.  Northside is not perfect, but you can see that they always fix their mistakes.  This is acceptable to you.  You might even find yourself thinking, “hey, if they want to show up late and give me a free cleaning the next time, that’s fine by me!”.  Northside gets the sale.

    Turn Negative to Positive

    This concept works across the board. If you address your negative reviews with a positive solution while staying polished and professional, those reviews can earn future customers for your business.  Remember, people don’t read positive reviews.

  • Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:59 PM | Deleted user

    Six Marketing Tips for HVACR Contractors

    Originally published: 05.01.19 by Elaine Duraes

    Small installers and contractors can face an uphill battle when it comes to self-promotion — tight budgets, time constraints and lack of dedicated marketing personnel and resources leave some wondering how and where to start.

    But like many things, marketing can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, and even the busiest professionals can use these six easy tips to boost their business.

    1. Get free support for being a great installer.

    Just like credit card companies and airlines, manufacturers often offer free programs where, after going through a selection process, star installers can be rewarded for their work with access to business or website support tools, or local advertising paid for by the manufacturer.

    Other benefits of joining these programs include support with financing options and networking and quarterly events, helping smaller businesses take advantage of tips and resources from seasoned professionals.

    2. Grow your business with Facebook.

    More customers are hopping online to search for quality services, and Facebook is one of the leading channels they’re using.

    Don’t miss out on the potential to grow your business online — create a Facebook business page showcasing all of your services and expertise.

    3. Keep up with the industry.

    Looking to get in sight from others in your industry?

    Many manufacturer loyalty programs offer access to an exclusive Facebook group where installers and contractors nationwide can connect to gain insight on technologies, training and trends from others in the industry.

    4. Manage your reviews.

    We all know word of mouth helps drive business, and in the digital era, that comes in the form of online reviews.

    Positive reviews can be incredibly beneficial for smaller businesses looking to make a name for themselves, so encourage your customers to leave reviews about their experiences on social media sites. You can do this by sending a follow-up email after installations or projects that asks them to review you on your Google Business or Facebook page.

    5. Stay current on your training.

    One thing a contractor can never get enough of is training — and yet one thing contractors don‘t have enough of is time.

  • Wednesday, October 16, 2019 12:42 PM | Deleted user

    The Nature of Value

    Originally published: 04.01.18 by Roger McCoy

    Understand the difference between value and price — and its impact on the sales experience

    Customer value is commonly discussed, universally seen as important, yet is difficult to define. Value is comprised of two key elements, the benefit the item or service brings to the consumer, and the cost of acquiring and using the item.

    Value and price are not the same thing. Value is the benefit the product or service brings at a cost. Benefit and Cost are components of value. A critical factor is that benefit level is unique for each consumer. Their situation determines how highly they benefit.

    Benefit vs. Cost

    The relationship between benefit and cost determines the value to the customer. The relationship isn’t only linear since customers spend more than cash. They may also consider time, effort, convenience and energy in the value equation.

    The “benefits” might include: quality, ownership advantages, brand, experience, knowledge and image.

    The darkened area in the graphic above represents the intersection of the customer’s needs, the marketplace offerings and your offering. A key component in this process is communicating with the customer and listening actively to identify their needs. Your goal is to solve their problem, interest or need. You must be viewed asexperts in their areas. You’re successful when you can use your product in the solution.

    Another way of viewing value is it’s “the perception of what a product or service is worth to a customer versus the possible alternative.” It’s composed of unique “pieces” having meaning to the potential consumer. These are not necessarily readily identified by the seller.

    Three Bain & Company consultants (Almquist, Senior and Block) have constructed a value pyramid, like Maslow’s Hierarchy, identifying and prioritizing the 30 values consumers use when considering their purchases. The researchers determined that companies that performed well on multiple value elements have more loyal customers and grow faster.

    Also, digital retailers can explain their explosive success to their use of multiple elements. The research also analyzed these 30 value elements by industry and identified those elements most important for success within each industry. Most interestingly, Quality was the highest-level element in each industry.

    Underlying this value hierarchy are three hypotheses:

    1.     Companies that performed well on multiple elements of value would have more loyal customers.

    2.     Similarly, those multiple element companies would grow at a faster rate.

    3.     The astonishing market expansion of digital retailers could be explained, in part, by their multiple elements success.

    Each of these hypotheses were confirmed empirically. In each case, a company’s satisfaction of multiple value elements led to their success.

    They found that some value elements matter more than others. Perceived quality affects customer advocacy more than any other element. They determined which elements influence customer loyalty to a greater extent by type of business. They found that no other elements can make up for a significant shortfall on quality.

    The Various Value Equations

    Many researchers have attempted to quantify value by creating value equations. Despite the complexity of some, they can be grouped into one of two types. The equations are: “Value = Benefit – Cost” and “Value = Benefit / Cost.”

    Note that each includes the same components. Put simply, Value increases as Benefits increase or Costs decrease, and conversely. One model expands “benefits” in detail and offers methods for increasing value perception in a variety of sophisticated ways.

    The challenge in all models is the difficulty in quantifying Benefit. Because of that difficulty, many companies focus on the simpler comparison of Value and Price (or cost). Commonly the discussion is a comparison of perceived value versus cost. “More value for your dollar” is a frequently used phrased. It’s linking value and cost directly.

    Although imperfect, these models readily identify the nature of value and its components.

    The underused, and perhaps more meaningful, term is consumer Benefit. What good does the product or service bring to them? The relationship with the greater meaning is benefit and cost. “Get more for your money?” The “more” in this phrase is benefit. Identifying benefit to the customer is the key to the transaction.

    Value is the result of properly understanding the relationship between benefit and cost. And it’s not static. How the customer perceives the benefit provided will determine whether it make sense to invest at the established price. Or whether it’s appropriate to give a discount to the customer to enhance the value.

    An interesting concept is that of the buyer and seller “sharing” the value of a product. The link is the “price” of the item. As the price increases, greater value is generated for the seller. Conversely, as the price decreases, the value is shifted to the buyer.

    Using Value In Sales

    A common failure of sales people is their focus on the product or service they’re offering rather than listening to the problems and needs of the customer. The goal of every sales person is to create value for customers by understanding their problems and confronting them. Failing to focus on value and the related benefits will commonly result in customer objections. The goal of any sales situation is to overcome the potential objections, before they’re vocalized by the customer.

    When objections do occur, relax and ask questions. The proper questions may answer the objections without hitting them “head on.” Recognize that price objections, though common, may be merely a smoke screen for the real objection.

    Avoid giving pricing until you’ve adequately built benefit for the customer. Once a number is out, it stifles communication. Make sure you’ve completely described the benefits offered to the customer, and confirm they’ve understood them, and they recognize their value to themselves, before offering pricing. It is not what the salesperson says but what the customer perceives that generates the interest.

    Focus on quality and value. “Most people look for three things when making an investment: 1) the finest quality, 2) the best service, and 3) the lowest price. I’m curious, of the three, which are you most willing to give up?” Note that Quality is the number one value element in every industry.

    With the expansion of digital communication and social marketing, and with the additional increase of millennial consumers, the in-home sales presentation is falling out of favor. Producers and suppliers are using technology to provide perceived benefit to consumers while effectively differentiating their product and companies on-line.

    Frequently, sales decisions are made without anyone visiting the home of the consumer or having any face-to-face contact.

    Whether over a counter, in a home or through sophisticated media; the focus is on communicating with the customer, asking questions, determining need, and presenting relevant information that demonstrates how the product or service benefits them.

  • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 11:34 AM | Deleted user

    Stand Out from Your Competition — without Advertising

    Originally published: 06.01.17 by Bob Viering 

    Consumer survey reveals top three ways to capture the attention of a prospective customer.

    Why is it that 80 percent of the contractors I talk to — no, make that 90 percent — tell me they need more calls? Over and over, I hear contractors from New York to Sydney say they’d be doing great if they could just “get the phone to ring.”

    You’d think getting the phone to ring would be easier than ever. There are more places to advertise than there have ever been, and with the advent of social media and “inbound marketing,” customers should flock to your company like magic whenever they have the slightest need.

    If only it were that easy.

    It takes a lot of money and/or effort to get someone’s attention at just the right time so they call you, and not the other guy. Competition is fierce, and when it comes to demand service, the customer doesn’t have a lot of time to be picky.

    How will a homeowner even know you exist, and if she does, why would she call you to repair her air conditioner instead of any of the other companies in your market?

    To attract new customers you need to stand out

    from the crowd. For some, running an ad is the only hope they have of “standing out” — and that hope is slim indeed.

    It’s become more difficult than ever to get someone’s attention with traditional advertising. Mail may never be opened, people fast-forward through commercials and creating a pay-per-click ad that “stands out” is pretty much against the rules.

    Because of all that, traditional advertising can be costly, ineffective and maddeningly unpredictable. But there are other ways to get someone’s attention.

    Recently, Service Nation Alliance conducted a survey of its members’ customers, and got back thousands of responses.

    One of the questions asked of these customers was: What works best when it comes to getting your attention? There were three answers that came up more than any others.

    Online Reviews

    According to customers, the first way you can stand out is through online reviews. The typical shopper puts a lot of faith in those star ratings and testimonials.

    A company with a lot of positive reviews has a big advantage over one that doesn’t. Unfortunately, there may be no way to generate enough reviews to catch up to some of the more established companies. After all, you can’t simply go out and buy a bunch of 5-star reviews (right, Google?).

    Without a doubt, you should strive to create happy customers and good reviews, but you might never have enough to be the company that stands out from the crowd.

    Credible Promise

    The second way to stand out is by offering a credible, appealing promise. Potential customers want to know what’s in store for them when they call your company (peace of mind is a big selling point).

    A slogan or tagline or unique selling proposition can draw people in. That’s a great way for a customer to differentiate between competitors when she lines them up side-by-side; but how do you get into that lineup?

    How will she even know your company exists or that you have the most appealing promise if you aren’t visible to her? For your promise to attract new business it usually means you have to spend more of those erratic advertising dollars.

    Your Fleet

    The third way to stand out offers more hope for the average contractor. It’s your truck.

    A large percentage of respondents said your company stands out when your trucks are frequently in their neighborhood. That’s true, but only if your truck catches their attention.

    It can’t look like all the other white vans in the neighborhood. White vans blend in. They might as well be invisible to consumers.

    There’s a reason white vans are associated with kidnappers — kidnappers don’t want to be noticed or remembered. They don’t want to stand out. They want to blend in. When it comes to white vans, remember: they’re good for kidnappers, bad for contractors!

    An even larger percentage of respondents said your company stands out when your vehicles are clean and have a distinctive wrap, lettering or style. Now that’s something any contractor can do, and if done properly, can make your company more noticeable and memorable than even your biggest competitor.

    There are really creative designers out there who can make your trucks unforgettable and turn them into “rolling billboards” — just look at HVACR Business’ annual Tops in Trucks Fleet Design Contest.

    The impact is immediate. You won’t believe how quickly people start telling you they “see your trucks everywhere” as soon as you put one on the road. I’ve seen it happen over and over.

    If you navigated to in the late 1990s and early 2000s, you’d find “The Company with the Little Red Trucks” — A-abc Appliance & Air Conditioning. At their peak, A-abc did about $12 million in residential service and replacements. The same volume of work would generate $20 million today.

    A lot of that could be attributed to those red trucks. Do you think Ahron Katz was onto something with that tagline? It didn’t take him long to realize how powerful those trucks could be from a marketing standpoint. He knew how to use them to drive sales.

    Those trucks were not only easy to spot, they became an integral part of the brand. People all over Dallas would see them everywhere they looked; either driving down their street or prominently displayed in their phone book, mailbox, TV or pretty much anywhere else Ahron could run an ad.

    An image of the truck appeared on everything they produced. When combined with A-abc’s credible, appealing promise — You’ll be astounded by our service or you don’t have to pay a dime. — it created an unmistakable, successful brand; all because he used red when everyone else was using white.

    You may not be able to attract enough reviews to get someone’s attention, and there’s a good chance your promise is barely being noticed. Based on the survey, the best way most contractors can stand out is to ditch the creepy, windowless, white van and have your trucks outfitted with a professionally designed wrap that is unique, eye-catching and memorable.

    If you really want to ramp up the effectiveness of your truck, add your “credible, appealing promise” right next to your logo. And, when your phone starts ringing, don’t forget to ask for that review!

  • Tuesday, October 01, 2019 12:08 PM | Deleted user

    Make the Most of Your Marketing Dollars

    Originally published: 10.01.18 by Taylor Hill and Carter Harkins

    No matter how much you’re spending, you’ll never know if your marketing is working unless you track it.

    Every business owner wants to know that his or her marketing is working, because marketing isn’t free. But there are a few things that many business owners fail to do that can lead to a lot of marketing money waste.

    Here’s what you need to be willing to do in order to truly get more from each marketing dollar you spend.


    First and foremost, you have to be willing to spend! A marketing budget is an absolute must. You have to have money set aside just for that purpose and you have to be willing to spend or you won’t reap the results, especially in a highly competitive market.

    When setting a marketing budget, the most important thing is that you’re realistic. Don’t assume you can or can’t afford something — get the real numbers and figure out what makes sense for your business.


    No matter how much you’re spending, if you aren’t tracking your marketing, how can you ever know which marketing tactics and methods are working and which are a waste of your money? Tracking is key to making the most of your marketing,

    because it tells you where to feed more money and where to cut the budget. Are you tracking your marketing?

    The whole purpose of marketing is to raise awareness and make your phone ring, right? But if you don’t have metrics in place to track the results of your marketing, you won’t know what to attribute those sales and phone calls to. It doesn’t matter what type of marketing you’re doing, you have to look at the data. What metrics do you have in place?

    Whether you’re funneling money into direct mail, email campaigns, online marketing, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or you’re sponsoring local sports teams, you have to determine how you’re going to gauge the success of those marketing dollars. You can’t just buy an ad — you have to look at the numbers. How much business is that ad bringing you? Are they quality leads that convert? Figure out what success looks like with each marketing dollar you’re spending.

    SEO has a reputation for being difficult to track, but there are ways to gauge the effectiveness of your SEO, you just have to do it right.


    Once you’ve defined success and determined what metrics to use to track the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, you’ll be able to start refining and adjusting to make the most of your marketing spend. But it’s important that you give your marketing efforts time before you start adjusting things.

    When trying something new, let it run for at least three to six months so you can gather enough data to make informed decisions. After that trial period, look at your metrics and if something’s not working, take the time to analyze it and figure out why it’s not working.

    Be willing to tweak things as needed and if something’s not working for you, try something else. Just because your competitor has had huge success with one type of marketing doesn’t mean you will. So constantly look at the data, be flexible, and shift as needed.

    Try New Things

    The marketing world is constantly in flux and new avenues and tactics pop up almost daily. Stay on top of it and be willing to try new things that become available to you. Sometimes being the first in your market to try a new marketing method can bring massive success. Don’t just stick with what you know — be willing to be a little bit adventurous. Don’t be careless, but don’t be risk averse either — the magic is somewhere in between.

    Marketing Brings Leads

    Many people ask us why we, as marketers, started the Blue Collar Proud movement. Well the answer is this: we kept seeing the same things again and again.

    We kept having the same conversations with business owners, and they weren’t marketing related, they were business related.

    Sometimes the problem isn’t your marketing and no amount of ad spend will fix it.

    No matter what type of marketing you’re doing, no matter how well you’re tracking, and no matter how much money you funnel into your marketing, if you run a poor business that offers poor customer service, you’re going to lose money. All your marketing efforts can do is bring you leads, but you have to close the sale. Is your business set up to make the most of the leads your marketing brings you?

    Even the best marketing campaign will fail if the business itself is a mess. If you don’t have good customer service, good leadership, and good systems, or if you have a whole host of HR problems and unreliable, unprofessional employees, all your marketing will do is put a megaphone or a spotlight to your company’s issues.

    So take a step back, look at your business, and pinpoint where you need to improve and what systems you need to put in place before you ramp up your marketing spend.

    Get the business right first so when those leads start pouring in and those phones start ringing, you’re ready to close every sale and gain happy, loyal customers. And make sure you’re tracking every effort, start to finish!

  • Tuesday, September 24, 2019 11:06 AM | Deleted user

    Sell What's Valuable to Your Customers

    Originally published: 08.01.14 by Tony D'Avino

    Peter Drucker, the inventor of modern management, once said, "The customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him."

    That concept resonated with me early in my career as an advertising salesperson. It changed me from being a describer of product advantages, to a catalyst in helping my customers achieve goals and objectives.

    I understood they weren’t simply buying advertising space; they were investing in the outcome advertising delivers — increase in brand awareness, generation of sales leads and, ultimately, acquisition of new customers. 

    That change in thinking made me much more valuable to my customers, as it helped me focus on the issues they really cared about. 

    Here’s a specific story that demonstrates Dr. Drucker’s wisdom well:

    One Saturday afternoon, as I was cutting the front lawn of our home, I was approached by a teenage boy with a small can of paint and a brush in his hand.

    "Good afternoon, sir," he said cordially.

    "Hi," I replied, glad to take a quick break. "What can I do for you?"

    "Well," he countered, "I’m here to do something important for you today. You see, this paint I have in my hand has all the right properties to be the best option for painting your address on your curb."

    For about two more minutes

    I listened to him describe the special features of his Reflect-O-Lite paint (durability, night visibility, color selection, etc.), not because I was interested, but because I was enjoying my bottle of cold water.

    "So," he concluded, launching into the anticipated close, "would you like your address painted on your curb today for the special price of $12?"

    I pointed to the new address sign we’d just hung by our front door.

    No thanks. We’re all set. I really don’t need our address painted on my front curb, I said, “feeling slightly guilty for not supporting this young entrepreneur. "Have a great day, and good luck. Hope you paint a lot today."

    Fast forward to Monday ... After work, I picked up the mail from our mailbox and noticed a flyer in the pile, carrying a bold headline.

    78% of all houses DO NOT have any visible address for emergency access (911) Police, Fire Department or Ambulances

    I read on, now very concerned and disturbed.

    "Tomorrow morning, with your permission only, REFLECT-O-LITE addresses will be painted on curbs for $15. Simply sign this flyer and leave it in your mailbox."

    That young salesperson had now made me aware of a need I didn’t know I had, and by noon on Tuesday, I had a Reflect-O-Lite address painted on my front curb.

    I really didn’t want to buy the painting of my address on the front curb, but I did want to protect my family in the case of an emergency. That young entrepreneur may have thought he was selling me an address painted on my front curb in Reflect-O-Lite paint, but in reality I was buying peace of mind.

    Today’s manufacturers have myriad products you can offer your customers. But, are your customers simply looking to buy HVACR products from you, or are they looking to buy the result of what those products deliver?

  • Thursday, September 12, 2019 1:41 PM | Deleted user

    The focus for the technician should always be to ascertain what the customer really wants and then determine what best fits the customer’s needs. 

    There is an old saying that “a customer does not buy drill bits, they buy holes.” The meaning of this as it relates to our industry is that, even though we sell technology in the form of equipment and services, we are really selling improved comfort, control and energy savings.

    The customer might desire better temperature and humidity control, reduced allergy symptoms or to fix the areas in a space that seem to be too hot, cold or damp. Perhaps they want to be able to access the system remotely on their phone and precool the house before they get home and are interested in what options are best available to them.

    Regardless of the specifics, the focus for the technician should always be to ascertain what the customer really wants and then determine what best fits the customer’s needs.

    The alternative approach is to quickly suggest a range of products hoping one of them will pique the customer’s interest. The risk is that the customer may perceive the effort as an ‘upsell’ of unneeded parts or services and push back, however, regardless of whether one of the suggestions may actually be just what they need.

    The reality is many customers may not have given a lot of thought about what they really want and/or need and what is required to fulfill. The smart approach is to work with the customer to help them first envision the ideal solution and then offer the technology that will allow them to achieve it.

    It may sound simplistic, but there are several steps and conditions that should be met before the customer is likely to agree to anything. The first is to avoid selling the customer something they do not need.

    While there may be compromises, selling the customer something that will not show value in their eyes can be a costly mistake for future business and send a negative message that can spread quickly through customer reviews and social media.

    Uncover Customer Ideals

    Once you have identified a customer looking to possibly update or replace their current system, ask why they want to do so. What are they looking to achieve? It is important for the customer to identify, as close as possible, what they are looking for with indoor air treatment and how they will control it.

    Keep in mind not all customers may be aware of what can be done through today’s technology. In this case, the technician’s job is to guide the customer so they are comfortable to dream bigger than they normally might, given their limited knowledge of available options.

    Highlight the solution in a way that helps them understand the capabilities — and limitations — in a language they understand. If possible, suggest several available alternative methods that will let them achieve as much of their ideal solution as possible, and be honest about where they may need to compromise.

    Today’s systems offer capabilities that many people find valuable. It is not wise to assume a customer would not be interested in them, even if the feature or capability isn’t something the customer mentioned previously.

    Highlight the points that relate to and allow the customer to achieve what they have identified as being most important. For example, if discussing the proper distribution of treated air to eliminate hot or cold areas, focus on how your solution will solve this challenge.

    Realistic, Flexible & Patient

    Take care to not over-promise what your solution is capable of and understand the challenges involved in incorporating your solution, such as space design or their budget — and, if applicable, what is needed outside of your offer before you can start your part of it.

    An example could be the requirement for new windows, additional insulation or the complete reworking of ductwork buried in walls. If your solution costs $XX, and they go for it all the way, having to then tell them they will need to spend an additional 1.5x before you can start will not do your cause any favors.

    Again, do not automatically expect your customer to be aware of this. There is no point in recommending the customer spend thousands of dollars on variable speed, zone control and total energy treatment if the space has leaky windows, non-existent insulation and 60-amp service. There are many types of challenges that should not be solved by simply throwing technology at it.

    Thus, it is important to take a longer, holistic view of the challenge and situation and be realistic with the customer. If they really need to invest in upgrading their ductwork, offer it as a solution to start and explain the benefits. Then, have them build on this investment with a solution you can offer when they are ready for the next step that will provide additional benefits.

    They will see the benefit of this approach (and won’t think you are just upselling) if you let them decide when to take the next step and emphasize you are taking a long-term outlook, understand their current situation and will be waiting to assist with the next step — even if it will be another year or three before they are ready to move forward.

    You are building a relationship that can pay back over the years with preventative maintenance contracts, equipment upgrades and a loyal customer that will take that relationship with them when they move — and, possibly provide positive recommendations for you to their neighbors and social networks. Do not underestimate the value of this last part.

    Finer Points

    Do not get too focused and eager on pointing out all the bells and whistles of what you offer and forget to take the time to work with the customer and listen to what they have to say. Once both you and the customer are confident and comfortable with the solutions you have come up with, however, take time to reiterate how the solution will meet the air treatment needs originally discussed.

    For example, if they have asthma, spend some time detailing how your solution will help. Just make sure you have enough knowledge to back up what you are claiming. It is not constructive to have your customer point out important facts that negate what you just claimed would be a great solution.

    In these instances, it is critical you are aware of the finer points that need to be understood before you go there.

    Also, don’t forget to educate your customer about what is required on their end to maintain the equipment in proper running order. If the customer is currently not capable of programing a thermostat or does not know what a humidistat is for, make sure you have a plan to ensure they can do these things.

    This way, when the system is installed and commissioned, the customer is set up with and comfortable operating a system that works according to how they want it to. Let them know you will return after installation to check up on them and make any modifications needed so they feel protected and assured they will not be abandoned once they sign the check.

    Make sure you keep your promise. Also, this would be a good time to suggest a preventative maintenance plan, especially if the customer is not able to perform basic upkeep functions like replacing air filters.

    Conclusion Points

    • Selling advanced technology should not be done just because it generates greater profits, but rather as a real solution to actual challenges the customer may have.
    • Do not become so enamored with a technology that it becomes the default solution for everything and you end up pushing it when it should not be.
    • Work with the customer to find the key points important to them and go from there. If remedial work is required to prepare the space before you can realize a sale of advanced technology solutions, make sure this is done beforehand and do not push the customer until they are ready.
    • Make sure you have the knowledge before you attempt to provide a solution to specific needs such as medical conditions or other special cases, such as precise humidity control.
    • Promise you will follow up with the customer after the system is up and running to ensure any modifications needed are taken care of — and then make sure you do.


  • Thursday, September 05, 2019 1:09 PM | Deleted user

    Marketing Strategies to Grow Your HVACR Business

    Growing your HVACR business doesn’t have to be difficult — as long as you’re investing your marketing dollars in methods proven to generate leads and customers. Want to know which ones they are? Here are a few successful strategies to guide you:

    Pay-Per-Click Google Ads

    Google’s Display Network — accessed through their platform called “Adwords” — reaches 90 percent of internet users with ads that promote your business. See example below.

    Google’s Display Network includes millions of websites on the internet, which means your ads can be shown on websites like ESPN,, Best Buy and other major sites, and you only pay when someone clicks on those ads (hence “pay per click”).

    You can also target the people more narrowly based on demographics that are ideal for your business.

    These ads can also be used for follow up.

    Have you ever been browsing online for something, and then you lose interest and end up wandering off? Of course you have, it happens all the time. Now, have you ever noticed that, afterwards, you started seeing ads from that same business appearing on other websites? If so, you’ve experienced a little thing called retargeting.

    Retargeting can increase the number of people who actually become leads (like filling out your contact form) by 70 percent. These ads, however, can take some skill to master (lest your budget evaporate quickly on unqualified leads), so I recommend you hire someone to manage your Google ads for you.

    Market Your Services on Facebook

    With 68 percent of Americans using Facebook, plus 66 percent of monthly users using it every single day, it’s extremely likely your prospects are on this social media giant. Facebook now owns Instagram, another huge social media platform, so be sure to double up on your exposure and run your ads on both.

    Keep them coordinated, so that people know they’re seeing your business when they see your ads. Here’s an example of how both could look below.

    Facebook is notorious for constantly changing, so I recommend hiring someone to help you with them to save you time and money.

    Use the Method Prospects Prefer

    It may come as a surprise that “old-school” direct mail is preferred by consumers today — by 70 percent of them, in fact.

    Think direct mail is dead? Check out these stats:

    ·       81 percent of Americans check their mail every day

    ·       70 percent are more likely to remember your business from your direct mail

    ·       60 percent will likely visit your business’s website from your direct mail piece

    Here’s how to coordinate all of these marketing strategies into one cohesive campaign that will amplify your reach, leads and revenue.

    First, design a direct mail piece with one or two special offers. Here’s an example on the right.

    Multiple special offers work great for the HVACR industry because prospects are likely to hang onto a postcard that gives them several ways to save money on their home — regardless of when their AC or heating unit needs help.

    Next step: design digital ads to MATCH your postcard.

    This multi-channel, offline-online marketing strategy puts your HVACR marketing in front of prospects in all the places they spend their time:

    ·       At home (with direct mail)

    ·       On endless internet websites (with Google ads)

    ·       And on social media (top 2: Facebook and Instagram)

    If managing all this marketing seems like way too much work, we created a marketing program that bundles your postcard mailings with your Google/Facebook/Instagram advertising for you.

    We call it Everywhere Small Business, and it comes with a completely automated tracking dashboard.

    Original Source:

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