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The Psychology of the Sale: Is It Easy for Your Customers to Buy From You?

Stephanie Figy
March 26th, 2024
6 Min Read

“People expect perspective and insight, not a sales pitch. What brings value within the home has nothing to do with how tactically sound you are. It has to do with being genuine and authentic, while offering insight the customer maybe hasn’t heard before.” 

— Steven Altman, VP of Sales at Cooper Heating and Cooling

The start to every close begins before a customer’s first contact with the company. It requires knowing who your customer is and why they would want to conduct business with your home services company.

In a panel discussion at Pantheon 2023, moderated by Jerrod Butler, VP of Sponsor Programs at GreenSky, sales VPs shared insights into pricing strategies, promotional initiatives, and selling tactics that make it easy for home service customers to buy. 

“You know your products, you know your customer service, but do you really know who your customer is and how to engage them?” Butler asked. 

Understanding Who Your Customer Is 

When you consider a process that makes it easier for customers to buy, it starts with knowing who that customer is.

“You have to know your customer base, especially in this time when consumer financing is becoming a big piece of it,” says Chase Boyce, VP of Sales at HomeTown Services. “We have a younger generation that is now becoming homeowners. A lot of them have never experienced these large home repairs before. You have to educate them in a different way than the trades have done in the past.”

National Association of Realtors data shows homeownership continues to climb among Gen Z and Millennials. To build trust with these younger customers, Cooper Heating & Cooling focuses on communicating their proposals.  

“We're trying to mitigate risk at this point,” says Steven Altman, Cooper VP of Sales. “At the beginning of my sales career, I remember walking into homes and customers would have a pot of coffee ready. Today, you’re getting blown out the door within 30 minutes. It’s a different dynamic, and you have to be smart about it.” 

Boyce refers to the importance of speed to lead to meet the new generation of homeowners, who aren’t used to waiting. In addition, he finds the younger generation wants options. 

“They’re used to comparison,” Boyce says. “They get multiple estimates. They want to know the details, whereas some of the previous generations may have taken our word for it. This generation says, ‘Show me. I want to see pictures. I want to see what my options are. How can I pay for it? What is your company going to do for me?’ And I think that is one thing that is vastly different in today's homeownership.”

Customers want the process to be easy, according to GreenSky VP of Sales Reid Benjamin. 

“They want to make a purchasing decision, typically without even speaking to anybody else,” Benjamin says. “They want to do most things digitally. If you do some research ahead of time, you can make purchasing a lot easier for your customers.” 

Understand Your Customers’ Why

“Why do your customers select you or another business to complete their project? What stands out about your business that ultimately attracts these customers to you?” Butler asked the panel. 

Altman notes his company culture differentiates the business. 

“If you think about how many different people interact with the customer before you actually collect 100% of the money, it could be six or seven different people,” Altman says. “Everybody has the ability to impact that customer. You have to meet the needs of the customer, and if you won’t do it for yourself, at least do it for your teammate who will be interacting with them next. That’s why we win.” 

Boyce oversees a family of 14 brands, and notes the why often differs. Sometimes it’s dependability or price, and it may even boil down to a customer just liking your logo. No matter what, he stresses the importance of providing outstanding service. 

“In today's age, you have to be on at all times, because one bad interaction can really make you lose the sale,” Boyce says. 

Helping Your Customer Buy

After nailing down the who and why, it’s easier to guide your customer to a buying decision. 

“People expect perspective and insight, not a sales pitch,” Altman says. “What brings value within the home has nothing to do with how tactically sound you are. It has to do with being genuine and authentic, while offering insight the customer maybe hasn’t heard before.”

Providing financing helps seal the deal. According to Juniper research, estimated consumer spending using “buy now pay later” services will reach $437 billion globally by 2027—a 290% increase from 2022.

“Financing has evolved from just a nice-to-have to a need-to-have,” Benjamin says. “If everybody's offering plans and promotions, it becomes less of a differentiator at that point and more of something that you absolutely need to have when people are comparison shopping.”

Altman notes his team became more successful at selling financing after utilizing ServiceTitan customer financing, which allows techs to effortlessly present multiple plans with monthly payment options. Customers can apply right on site and receive instant approval. 

Financing customers typically fall into two buckets, according to Benjamin:

  1. Discretionary buyers

  2. Affordability buyers

“You might see a shift in who the buyer is,” Benjamin says. “The discretionary customer is typically going to be a promotion-based buyer. They’re buying on a 12-months-with-no-interest option. It might shift more to the other bucket, where it’s predicated on affordability. Running a 9.9% interest rate over 120 months typically appeals to that type of buyer.” 

Boyce agrees that shift is happening, whether due to inflation or life events. 

“You have to be in tune to that,” Boyce says. “For that reason, you may roll financing into your advertising, with a campaign of, ‘You can get a system installed as low as X amount monthly.’”

He also recommends including financing right in the proposal. 

“It's now a piece that the sales process revolves around,” Boyce says. “Five years ago, it was, ‘We offer financing if you need it.’ Now, first of all, nobody wants that said to them in this day and age. But also, you have to say to a homeowner, ‘This is what you're getting. We're going to do exactly what we said we're going to do, and here's exactly how you can afford it.’ If you can take down barriers, you’ll be successful.”

To meet all types of finance customers, Cooper offers four packages on each proposal, including a no interest plan and a plan spread out over 180 months with lower payments. 

All panelists stressed the importance of training your team to offer financing options, and introducing financing earlier in the process.

“In sales, you can't make a decision for a homeowner,” Boyce says. “You don't know their situation. The goal should be to help them become your customer.”

ServiceTitan’s financing integration with Greensky allows you to offer financing plans in ServiceTitan Mobile - all at no additional cost for ServiceTitan users.

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