Building an HVAC Maintenance Program: Win-Win-Win
Guest Blogger: Luke Weiden
Let’s set the record straight — Selling maintenance programs is not an overnight success. It takes time, dedication and believing in the system! We have been focused on it for 12 years and still aren’t done perfecting it. We’ve tried just about everything throughout the years, and we have learned what works and what doesn’t work. No matter what anyone will tell you, it all comes down to the culture. Everyone from the owner to the kid sweeping the shop needs to be informed about the program and how it works. Build a culture around the success of your program and it will take off. New customers calling in for their first time should hear the name of your maintenance program and read about it again in the confirmation email. They should hear about it from the technicians, and after the service call via a happy email or happy call. When it comes to maintenance agreements, we found that it is best to focus on your program being a WIN-WIN-WIN.
WIN-WIN-WIN: A WIN-WIN-WIN scenario is simple. It’s a “win” for the customer, a “win” for the employee, and a “win” for the company.
“Win” for the Customer: Obviously the customer will benefit from the maintenance performed, but what else will make them want to sign up? You have to show the customer the value the agreement offers, besides the maintenance itself. Here are a few benefits that we think enhance the value and make it hard to say “no” — 30% discounts on repairs for members, a lifetime guarantee on any repairs made as a member, discounts on new equipment installation, priority service, and discounted after hour appointments. Don’t hesitate to ask a few long-time customers what they think would add value.
“Win” for the Employee: This win is twofold for employees. First, there must be a generous spiff to the employee that sells the agreement. A percentage of the total agreement goes a long way with motivation to sell. Second – It needs to be conveyed that they are creating future guarantee work for themselves and their peers when times are slow. With enough maintenance agreements, maintenance can be performed year-round and keep the employees working when weather is mild.
“Win” for the Company: Based on historical data, we can expect about 10-12% of the active agreements to turn into a replacement sale leads every year. That means that for every 1000 agreements, we can count on 100-120 replacement leads. That means work created with maintenance customers is being distributed through the whole company because technicians are working, comfort advisors are working and installers are working. There is value in having the reoccurring revenue during slow times, but I think the gold is in the potential replacements that occur from a solid plan. Our closing ratio hovers around 65-75% on leads from the maintenance agreements customers, and the longer they are on the program the easier the sale becomes. Why? These are the customers that become familiar with your team and your services over the years and only want your company to do the replacement.
A successful maintenance agreement is one that fulfills all three categories of WIN-WIN-WIN. If one of those “WINS” doesn’t happen your program will not take off. Develop a maintenance agreement culture from the top down and don’t forget that a good program takes time to develop. Start slow and make sure to get the company behind the program. Now, go WIN-WIN-WIN!
Luke Weiden is Sales Manager at Deljo and Co-owner of American Home Heating in Chicago, IL. Luke manages a multi-million dollar producing HVAC sales team and has a track record of increasing sales revenue, business growth, and increasing bottom lines. He is also experienced in implementing business process, sales structures, and internal key performance indicators.