Ask the Experts | Selling More IAQ Products

Question: How can I get my sales team to sell more IAQ products?

Gary Elekes; Founder, EPC Training:

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has become mainstream now. Most contractors include IAQ products in their sales approach and consumers are now recognizing that IAQ is something real that affects their daily lives. Back in the 80’s and 90’s we were representing IAQ as a “sick building syndrome” that was creating health issues but there wasn’t a lot of data behind it. Now we have great data and very detailed diagnostic tools that are able to validate those types of things. So, we can prove that IAQ efficacy is there.

That said, how do you get your people to sell more? I think the answer is education, role play, practice, and putting the technician in a position where they understand how to have a conversation with the homeowners about the need for IAQ. We want to ask questions, converse, and define what the homeowner’s wants and needs are. If there are wants and desires, then that’s where the financing conversation starts.

For us, it’s a pretty simple answer. We use a couple of different strategies. For one, we bundle. When you’re purchasing a system, a high-end system is going to come with some IAQ options. We’ve moved to what we now call “Customer Choice” where a customer can choose any three of the IAQ products we offer to be included in the high-end system instillation. We created an average price in terms of cost structure, so we don’t care which ones the customer chooses, we just care that they’re happy and their experience is great.

That’s how we do it on the install side, but this question is about how to get your techs to sell more. We create a monthly promotion centered around one specific indoor air quality product. That could be a thermostat, a light, a filtration system, water filtration, or plumbing products as well. What we do is we train our technicians during the last week of the month on the products we’ll be highlighting during the upcoming month.

Let’s say we picked thermostats as the IAQ product. We create a targeted promotion that we give to the technicians so that the customer can get a really good price or financing opportunity. We also stock the trucks with that product so that our technicians have it on hand and can install it immediately. So, the sales team side is putting it into the bundles, creating the financing, creating the special opportunities for homeowners to think about and choose what they want. The technician side sells the point of purchase promotion and install the product.

All that is cool but at the end of the day, if the technicians and sales people don’t believe in it and have a fundamental understanding of what they’re talking about, there will be a discomfort level and they won’t act. What we want to do is train, we want to be organized, and we want to have a system that we approach the customer with. The technicians and the sales people need to be put in a comfort zone.

We spent an inordinate amount of time training on that before we got good at it. If we go back to my early days at Service Experts, it was all about getting people comfortable with what they were talking about, what questions to ask, and how to actually communicate and educate. When people are able to educate, they’re able to define needs and people can then say, “Yes, I’m interested.”

The back end of that is the remediation side. We want to create referrals, we want to create opportunities on social media, and we want to create networking. I think when you’re selling IAQ in today’s marketplace, it’s pivotal to have some success stories and have people who will create referrals for you on social media. It’s one thing to hand customers the EPA guidelines, but it’s quite another thing to have a positive testimonial or review from a happy customer whose allergies were fixed because of the IAQ system you installed. That’s a much more powerful approach to your marketing platform. In my opinion, all of those are things we need to be doing.

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