Want to Boost Your HVAC Business? Data Delivers.
By Tim Farmer, Sales Excellence Coach, American Standard
You may have a residential HVAC business to be proud of: You provide excellent service, your prices are fair, and you have a great reputation. But competition is fierce these days. How can you make yourself stand out in the sea of HVAC providers?
In the old days, all you needed was good relationships with local contractors and a list of happy residential customers. The resulting positive word of mouth reputation used to be all an HVAC provider needed to build and grow a healthy business. By adding a little local advertising once or twice a year, hitting a trade show or two, and sending out the occasional direct-mail flyer, you were good to go.
But those days are long gone. Competition is now fierce. Even with great word of mouth among local pros and a sterling reputation with customers, you can still feel lost in the crowd of competitors. Sure, there are more residential HVAC business opportunities than ever before, but what’s the secret to effectively building and managing your pipeline?
The new success secret is data. By putting your customer data to work, you can become far more profitable. And the good news is that if you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve already got that data. You just need to organize it.
Bye Bye, Paper
In the old days, a sales coordinator would book customer orders and handle all record-keeping on paper. HVAC offices would have file cabinets (or stacks of boxes) filled with old paperwork from jobs long forgotten. But that info is actually a priceless resource.
Now, with HVAC software, it’s much easier and far more effective to keep track of all jobs and track spending. It’s also excellent for looking at your product range and taking note of which items are best for which customers. Needless to say, software like this can be incredibly valuable.
This software makes it easy to build an organized online database with all of your existing customers’ information in it. Now it’ll be easy to keep track of every single customer you’ve ever done business with and every job you’ve performed. You may have installed a new AC unit for a customer five years ago. And, because you did such a great job, you never heard from them again. But that customer, whose info you’ve now got online, is exactly who you need to contact now.
Fortunately, you don’t need to call those customers one at a time. Instead, you can email all of them about an AC Tune-up special you’re running. Then, a couple months down the road, you can reach out to them again with news of a Pre-Winter Furnace Tune-up special. A few more times a year you can text them tips and tricks for keeping heating and cooling costs low and performance high. By doing this, you become a known quantity. The local expert.
It’s well known that the highest close rates come from existing customers. But, unlike the old days, you can no longer get away with simply waiting for your customers to contact you—you’ve got to remind them on a regular basis. Just make sure your messages add value to your customers’ lives. Info on sales, seasonal reminders, and tips and tricks are all appreciated.
Some customers respond to a sale or upgrade message. Many others won’t. But that’s fine. What you’re actually doing is creating awareness. So, when they do need help, your company’s name will come to mind first as the local expert. And when their friends and neighbors need help, your customers will refer them to your company.
Hire a Marketing Pro
Another profitable investment could be hiring an outside agency to help you build your brand. An agency like this can build your email program, create your advertising and marketing, update and maintain your website, and even help you with search engine optimization (SEO).
A marketing agency will know all of the ins and outs of creating your online presence. They can help make sure you’re listing on customer referral sites like Yelp and Angie’s List. Sites like that build confidence and trust, and customers expect to be able to check out providers there before hiring them. They can also help you get a Google Maps listing and Google Alerts, and will show you how to get into local online business directories and industry-specific listings.
Just as fixing an air conditioner, a refrigerator, or a furnace aren’t “do it yourself” tasks, neither is data marketing. Face it: you’ve got your HVAC expertise. Choose a marketing agency that’s made data their expertise.
Today, we all live in an online world—your business needs to live there too. By taking a few steps to put your data to work, you can help ensure that any time a consumer searches for HVAC help, your company’s name is front and center.