For many HVAC service providers here in New York City, it’s been a tough year. Many have seen residential customers fleeing the city, and commercial customers closed down for months. In certain business sectors, far too many customers are closing down for good.
HVAC service companies are looking for ways to boost revenue and offer more value to their customers. Selling indoor air quality solutions is a smart way to do both.
Indoor air quality solutions: not just for COVID prevention
Sales of indoor air quality solutions have surged since the pandemic began, as residents and businesses alike are looking for ways to prevent the spread of the virus in their spaces. It won’t be a short-term spike, according to a report by market research firm Technavio. Sales of indoor air quality (IAQ) solutions are poised to grow by more than $9.5 billion by 2024.
However, it’s important to realize that these solutions have existed for some time and do much more than reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. IAQ solutions can:
- Reduce other airborne viruses, bacteria, mold spores, smoke, dust, exhaust, pet dander, VOCs and other chemical contaminants
- Kill microbes on surfaces
- Eliminate odors
- Reduce carbon dioxide levels to boost workplace productivity
The key to selling indoor air quality solutions is about promoting the longer-term health and safety benefits along with COVID prevention.
Here’s how to get started.
Offer a range of IAQ solutions
Here in New York, new local regulations enacted this summer have led to a deluge of requests for MERV 13 filters and a shortage of supply. However, this situation provides an opportunity for HVAC service companies: you have a chance to educate customers about a wider range of solutions and provide options that better meet customer needs.
Here are some of the types of indoor air quality solutions you can offer your customers:
Increased filtration. There are many more options besides MERV 13 HVAC filters. Start with a system inspection and recommend the right filters and filtration devices that won’t compromise HVAC system performance or risk a breakdown.
Ventilation. Especially in New York City, many buildings are designed to be airtight for energy efficiency purposes. Unfortunately, that’s bad for indoor air quality. Adding a makeup air unit or other tactics that introduce more outside air can be helpful for preventing COVID transmission and reducing other harmful airborne contaminants.
Purification devices. There’s a wide range of technology available (including UV, bipolar ionization, and oxidation) that can kill microbes, deactivate particles, and make tiny particles cling together so that they can be more easily captured by filtration systems.
Humidity control. Both high humidity and low humidity are associated with an increased risk of health problems. In fact, the virus that causes COVID is known to thrive in low humidity conditions. Mold and bacteria thrive in high humidity (as do musty odors). You can offer humidity control technology to combat these problems.
Cleaning. Clean air starts with keeping HVAC systems clean. In 2020, the value of cleanliness has never been more evident. Encourage customers to invest in regular coil cleaning, equipment sanitization, and duct cleaning where appropriate.
Remember that not every customer has the means or the need for the high end solution, so be sure to offer a range of alternatives based on their needs and concerns.
Educate your sales and service teams
Make sure everyone is aware of and understands the benefits of the solutions you offer. That includes your sales force, customer service staff, and field service technicians.
Create and share a strategy for handling customer requests related to indoor air quality. That might include developing an “elevator pitch” that gives technicians a quick way to introduce the solutions that you sell.
That way, when a customer asks for MERV 13 filters, your staff can properly direct them to get more information about the right solution for their needs.
You can also consider developing educational materials that explain the benefits of the solutions you offer, and share the basics about the science behind them. You might also be able to use materials provided by manufacturers. These can help to educate both your staff and your customers.
Start with your customer base
Chances are, you’ve been getting calls from new prospects asking about filtration and other indoor air quality products and services.
However, it’s likely that many of your existing customers have the same needs, but might not be aware that you can help them. So, when it comes to selling indoor air quality solutions, your customer base is the low hanging fruit that can boost your bottom line. After all, these people already know and trust you, so you don’t have to overcome that barrier.
You can share your IAQ offerings with customers via email, during maintenance visits, or during sales conversations about new equipment purchases.
Ask and listen
When discussing indoor air quality products and services with customers, always start by asking and listening.
- What are their biggest concerns?
- What indoor air quality issues have they experienced?
- Are their occupants complaining about health problems and symptoms?
- Do they serve their own customers who need to feel safe within the space?
- Are there lingering odors or moisture problems?
- What’s the condition of their HVAC equipment and how well is it performing?
Their responses should guide you to offer the best solutions to address their needs within their budget.
If appropriate, you can also offer indoor air quality testing to identify issues that the customer may not know about.
Finally, share your educational resources with the customer so they can learn more about how they can benefit from IAQ solutions as well as how your solutions work to improve the air within their space.
Create proposals that win business
When crafting your proposals, following a few best practices can help to enhance your close rate:
- Don’t just list model numbers and prices. Your proposal should specify the benefits of each solution you’re quoting. It can be helpful to refer back to your conversation with the customer and include their top concerns.
- Instead of bundling products and services, list and price each item separately. That allows the customer to accept part of the proposal without rejecting it entirely if the price is more than they can afford.
- Always write proposals in clear, straightforward language that the customer can understand! Avoid technical terms and jargon. If the customer doesn’t understand what they’re reading, it’s more difficult to make the decision to move forward.
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