Considering we’re in the height of the busy and profitable HVAC season, now seems like the perfect time to discuss the three R’s that make for a successful HVAC/R company — Rates, Reputation, and Rapport.
The most successful HVAC/R businesses look beyond the cost vs. price ratio – there’s much more to it than offering your services at a competitive rate. Yes, competitive pricing will get you moving in the right direction, but that’s only half battle. The other half of the story (and perhaps the most important) involves offering solutions to your customers’ problems, and that means offering a variety of solutions to fix those problems.
Financing is something that needs to be offered if you want your business to remain competitive in the industry. Working with a well-established financing partner is the way to go- they will have the knowledge and expertise to incorporate financing options into your existing sales system and sales team, creating a seamless and hassle-free experience for your customers.
Prime financing providers can offer financing to customers with good credit (680 and higher) while secondary financiers will accept some customers who don’t meet the requirements to purchase a big-ticket item like an HVAC system. Second-look financiers will typically take on people in the 550–760 range which is a great tool for your sales team to have so they don’t have to turn away willing customers. These options widen your potential customer pool which increases sales.
Yes, having a stellar reputation is important in pretty much any industry, but it is vital for survival in the HVAC/R industry as it relies heavily on recommendations and word of mouth. Especially in today’s digital world where angry customers can jump on review sites in a matter of seconds and leave scathing comments about your business — whether true or not.
But there is good news for the businesses out there that always do the right thing — staying the course while others take shortcuts, being open and honest with your customers, providing quality work and quality products — you’re already well on your way to building and maintaining a rock-solid reputation. Remember, today’s decisions will affect tomorrow’s success.
A successful HVAC/R contractor knows that building rapport with the customer is about engaging them in an open and honest way and not about aggressively pushing unnecessary upgrades. Being aggressive, throwing your knowledge and skills around, and not taking the time to answer questions builds a relationship alright — a very poor one.
If you take the time with each and every customer you can’t lose, whether they move forward with a purchase or not. If the customer decides to give you their business, they do so willingly and happily. If you have created this kind of rapport then they are well on their way to becoming a loyal and long-lasting customer of yours who will call you whenever problems with their system might arise- and not the next guy they find on Yelp. If they don’t make the purchase this time, maybe it was bad timing or the funds weren’t available, but they will have you in the back of their mind as soon as the timing is right.
Don’t forget — building relationships with your vendors, suppliers and employees is just as important as it is with your customers. You can’t have a successful business unless you foster a welcoming and honest environment with everyone you come in contact with in the industry.