Ask the Experts | Offering Recommendation Sheets

Question: Should we offer a recommendations sheet when meeting with the customer?

Weldon Long; New York Times Bestselling Author:

I think what the questioner means here is to have some kind of sheet where you write three or four options out and present them to the customer. The answer in a word is yes! I think it’s really important to have multiple options and there’s a couple of different ways to do this.

I’ve seen people, very effectively, present three or four options and say, “Which of those make sense to you?” and “If price was no objection, which of these would you choose?” Let them choose the best solution. What I like to do is make a recommendation based on everything I’ve learned about that home owner. If I’ve spent one or two hours conducting a thorough investigation, I know the family now. I know the house, I know what their problems are, what they’re trying to accomplish, what’s important to them and what’s not important to them. So, I’m going to show them all three or four systems at the end. But I’ve always felt like it’s important to say, “You know Mr. homeowner, these are the four options but here’s the system I’m going to recommend. And I’m recommending this system based on you telling me A, B, C, and D.”

I’m going to recommend a system and it will be appropriate. I’m going to recommend something based on what I’ve learned about them. I’ll say something like:

“Mr. homeowner, I’m going to recommend the highest efficiency system because you said earlier that efficiency was really a key priority for you. I’m going to recommend that we go with our variable speed furnace because you mentioned that Bobby’s room is very uncomfortable and this will help circulate the air and keep it more comfortable. I’m also going to recommend we add a return air in Bobby’s room to help address that problem. Thirdly, I’m going to recommend adding this indoor air quality product because you mentioned that your wife has some issues with allergies.”

I’m going to make recommendations but they have to be legit. They have to be based on something my homeowner told me. Then I’m going to ask for the order. If they tell me, “holy cow that’s going to be $25,000 and I was thinking more around $15,000,” then I’ll say great, let’s look at some less expensive options. We can come down on efficiency, we can look at doing the duct work next year, and start crafting a package that works better for them. The key is to recommend a system based on what I’ve found out about them. If I’ve done my job properly, they’ve given me permission to recommend solutions to those things. They might not buy it. At the end of the day, they’re going to make that decision.

There was a study done by Carrier a couple of years back and the net result was that 60% of people take the recommendations that the contractors make. I think it’s important as an expert to make a recommendation. Some people would prefer to have the homeowner pick a system, I’m cool with that too. But the bottom line is we should have multiple options for our customers. We talked a couple weeks ago about compromise choices, people tend to choose something in the middle. If I only show one system, the compromise choice is nothing. If I show three systems, the compromise choice will probably be something in the middle.

So, definitely provide options. Leverage your expertise to make some recommendations. Either way, find something the homeowner is really comfortable with.

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