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The Best Way to Market to Neighbors Where You've Just Completed a Replacement

by Charlie Greer

Here's a tip for getting more work out of neighborhoods where you've just completed a replacement job:

When the job is sold, the salesperson informs that customer that he or she will be back after about one month to do a final quality inspection.

After one month passes, call the customer and ask if everything is all right so far and schedule the final inspection for some evening. Then ask the customer, "Would you say that all of the homes in your neighborhood are about the same age and that I ought to look at them also?"

Naturally, the answer to this question will be, "Yes."

Then, using "SelectPhone Pro CD" software or one similar, call their nearest neighbors. Say, "Hi, this is _______, with _______ heating and air conditioning company. I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"

After their response, continue with, "I just replaced the air conditioner or furnace for ________. They live about four houses down from your (or whatever). Did you see our trucks?" Yes or no, it makes no difference. You're just getting the conversation going and giving them a moment to get their mind off whatever they were doing.

Then say, "I'm going back to do my final quality inspection tomorrow (or whenever) in the early evening. They told me that all the homes in their neighborhood were about the same age and that I ought to have a look at them.

So tomorrow night, and only tomorrow night, at no charge, while I'm in the neighborhood, I have volunteered to take a look at anyone's air conditioner and furnace who wants me to (bad English, but gets the point across). It takes about five to ten minutes and there is no charge for this service.

Would you like me to put you on the list?"

In view of the fact that this is a free and valuable service, you can only see a maximum of four people that night, and you have an almost unlimited number of people you can call, you don't need to go into any kind of sales pitch. They either want it or they don't

The fact is, if you want to see four people and you reach four people when you dial, and you follow that script word-for-word, you'll get four appointments. I'm almost never turned down.

When you arrive at their door, two of the four will be kind of "cool," as if they wonder why they set the appointment in the first place. Don't waste their or your time. Make it a brief, positive exchange, give them your business card and a refrigerator magnet and move on. The other two will have a serious need and will be glad to see you.

Nearly every single home has an equipment, comfort, service or noise problem.

See four people per night, four nights in a row, and see if you don't make at least two equipment sales. That's a piddling 25% closing ratio.

You could buy a house with those commissions alone!

Almost everyone who sees you will buy a maintenance agreement, if nothing else.

I sell a lot of air returns, do a lot of duct sealing and duct cleaning and set minor service calls. All of these lead to relationships and eventual replacement sales.

Some guys think it's too much work to make the four to six phone calls to set up four appointments. Some guys won't make a half dozen phone calls four nights a week to be able to pay cash for a Cadillac!

Go figure.

Personally, I'd rather pick and choose who I go out to see. I make the phone call and, if I like the sound of the person I talk to, I'll go out and see them. If I don't, I politely get off the phone and dial another number.

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