Selling IAQ? To educate HVAC customers, give technicians the right tools first
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Indoor air quality has always been important, but the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has put increased focus on the topic. That, in turn, magnifies the importance of educating HVAC professionals on how to explain IAQ to customers, effectively and responsibly.
Scott Harkins, VP of Sales at Resideo, a global supplier of HVAC and smart home equipment, and Angie Snow, VP and co-owner of Western Heating and Air Conditioning in Orem, Utah, joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel for a webinar on selling indoor air quality (IAQ) during a global Coronavirus crisis.
The key, both said, is education on the benefits of IAQ. Here are seven ways Harkins and Snow said HVAC companies can help technicians provide that education:
1. Make sure the IAQ plan is meaningful and easy to communicate.
The Coronavirus pandemic placed HVAC companies in a situation unlike any they have faced before. It can be hard to know where to start, Snow said. “Nothing is different,” she said, “but at the same time everything is different.”
An honest, clear, simple plan of action for improving IAQ—and an effective way for sharing that plan with customers—is essential. “IAQ offerings are going to become really popular,” he said, “not just right now, but into the future.”
Give your technicians a plan for explaining those offerings.
2. Educate technicians to serve clients who have a hyper-awareness of health.
Clients are thinking a lot about indoor air quality these days. Educating technicians to offer solutions is the first step to alleviating IAQ concerns, Snow said.
“We make sure our technicians understand the product, what each of the products can do and the benefit,” she said.
Western Heating and Air Conditioning put together information sheets and sent IAQ links to clients with service confirmations, giving them a chance to review products before the technician arrives.
“We just point them in the right direction, and then we’re there to answer any questions,” Snow said. “We can’t do that unless our technicians really understand the products, and believe in them.”
3. Encourage everyone to talk responsibly about IAQ and Covid-19.
Some ads and marketing pitches Harkins has seen are implying that UV upgrades or HEPA filters can eliminate the Coronavirus threat. He says that’s not honest.
“In fact, there’s no air quality solution that will protect the homeowner,” Harkins said. “It might make the air cleaner and create a healthier environment, but there is no solution on the market today that will protect any consumer from a respiratory virus in their home.
“There are ads out there that are at least suggesting, ‘Let us come in and sell you something that will protect you,’ and that just doesn’t exist in the marketplace.”
Touting the benefits of IAQ solutions, Harkins said, should be enough.
4. Design IAQ solutions that build on each other.
IAQ solutions come in a variety of price ranges, from upgraded filtration systems to UV lighting units to air exchangers and humidity control. Snow goes beyond good-better-best by offering five levels of IAQ equipment, each building on the others. Packages can run from a basic package to advanced equipment such as air exchangers. “There’s a package for everyone’s budget, their needs,” Snow said. “We just educate them.”
That preparation puts Western Heating and Air Conditioning in position to take advantage of an industry-wide run on IAQ technology.
“Our technicians are getting really excited about it because they don’t have to sell it,” Snow said. “Customers are just asking about it.”
5. Turn your techs into living testimonials on IAQ.
Snow has installed IAQ technology in the homes of some employees, giving her living, breathing testimonials in the field and on the phone when customers call.
“When they can see that (IAQ products) actually work and they believe in them, it’s so much easier for them to sell them,” Snow said. “They’re basically just sharing their experience.”
6. Give customers all the information they need to make a good decision.
Many customers, even before Covid-19, were living with poor IAQ. But they didn’t know it.
Facts technicians can share with customers to illustrate this point include:
Government studies show indoor air quality is two to five times worse inside than outside.
One in six people are allergic to the air, or something in the air, in their home.
In addition to allergens, CO2, cooking smells and other contaminants diminish air quality.
Contaminants in the air can lead to headaches, itchy or teary eyes, respiratory issues and more.
Those problems can sometimes be fixed, Harkins said, by simply opening a window. But IAQ products can help, too.
HVAC companies can identify the issues using Resideo’s AirCycle, an in-home diagnostic device that pinpoints problems and offers solutions.
7. Stay engaged with customers who aren’t ready to buy now.
With IAQ concerns likely to be ongoing, even customers who aren’t ready to buy now offer opportunity. Educating them on their options deepens your relationship.
Whatever you do, Harkins said, remain engaged. “We’re all in home service for a reason, and we can actually bring real value,” Harkins said.
“Let’s nurture this client relationship right now,” she said. “There are some real fears out there. I’m OK if a call is rescheduled or canceled, but I’m not OK to lose a client.”
8. Focus on the purpose of maintenance, and how IAQ upgrades help.
Maintenance, and the importance of doing it regularly, is another area where customers can be educated, Snow said.
Emphasizing the purposes for scheduled maintenance—to preserve the equipment, prevent future breakdowns, save on energy costs and keeping the system safe, sanitary and clean—can provide opportunities to talk about IAQ.
“(Indoor air quality products) help the system run cleaner and better, and have a longer life,” Snow said. “A lot of times when the clients understand those benefits, as well as the health benefits, it’s kind of a no-brainer. It’s an investment in your system.”
The bottom line
Indoor air quality is likely to remain top of mind for consumers even after the Covid-19 pandemic fades. And educating customers—and technicians—on the benefits of better IAQ will bring value in good times or bad.
The integration of Resideo’s catalog into ServiceTitan simplifies that education. Residio entered into a partnership with ServiceTitan in April 2020, making its smart home products available in the pricebook of the all-in-one home and commercial services software. That allows for seamless presentation of detailed information, including photos and videos, on Residio’s IAQ solutions and other products for technicians in the field.
Snow has already integrated the Resideo products into her pricebook, via ServiceTitan, at Western Heating and Air Conditioning, giving her technicians a powerful educational tool.
“We are really excited about the integration,” Snow said. “I love it because it takes a lot of time out of putting that in the pricebook because it’s already integrated.
“This will be a great feature for ServiceTitan users.”
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