3 Most important Marketing Principles for the HVAC industry
3 Primary value builders in HVAC industry marketing?
I've heard it said several times recently that "Money follows value". A phrase like this gives you pause. How do I provide more value in my own business? To the people and customers I encounter? Another saying I heard recently went like this, "Every dollar that you'll ever make is in the hands of other people." Now the point, at least the ethical one, is not to take that money from people unwillingly but to create something that people will value more than keeping their dollars. Before you attack me here let me clarify that this conversation is NOT about how to get rich. Its not. Instead it is a conversation about value creation in the HVAC industry and how money will then follow value. The crux here is that in our industry we have great products but the communication of that value is lacking.
Comfort - Efficiency - Safety
Marketers in the HVAC industry should focus (and usually do) on these 3 Primary Elements. The only missing piece here might be PRICE. Lower prices equal better value tolerance. While I agree that price is important to picking the right product, usually, extreme reductions in price equal a sacrifice in one of the other areas. Areas that are comparatively more important than price.
Take for instance the fact that there are many unlicensed HVAC installers out there bidding out jobs to the same customers we and other licensed contractors face. This is certainly prevalent in my market of Houston. The unlicensed provider or low baller win jobs because they have price points which are extremely low. Still in most cases you'll see that the systems they install are more likely to be unsafe, inefficient and/or uncomfortable. This is a result of poor workmanship, not enough training, and failure to bring the HVAC system up to mechanical code. So is creating the value inhibited? No, more often communicating that value is the problem.
How then is Value created and communicated?
Communicating value seems to be the problem most contractors have. How do we communicate well to our customers both in our ad spaces AND in our home consultations. Properly communicating will result in happy customers because they understand what you stand for and how you are a quality HVAC company.
The process to do this is not complex but it requires focus and consistency. Promote products in your advertising that help people in those primary principles. Be consistent with it both to customer and to staff people. Of course look for ways to be different than your competitors on how to provide your products and how you message them. Practice and plan with your technicians on how to communicate with in-home materials.
Continually press your sales staff to be knowledgable about the products you have and WHY they are important. When selling something dont come to the customer and say. "hey you need this. If i change it your system will be fixed" Instead your conversation should go something more like this, "here is what I have found. This is an issue. Here is why. Would you agree that we should replace this with something more ___________ (fill in the blank)?......" Value creation.
The customer understands these principles to their core. It is a matter of communicating well.
Examples of products that hit on all these elements.
Electronic Air Filters - Electronic Air Cleaning - filters are amazing at removing contaminants in your home environment. Your home can smell better and you'll breath easier. Filters combine both comfort and safety. Additionally, the best filters will allow for an HVAC system to operate on a lower static pressure whereas an improper filter can suffocate a system increasing the pressure on the system and reducing its life span. So why is this an item that is only sold on very few homes?
I would argue that this results from an identity issue in your field staff. It is a matter of how HVAC technicians view themselves. More often they view themselves as fixers. Like the fire department they come swooping in when the house is burning. Ready to snuff the blaze and then wait for the next fire. When instead there should be a mentality shift where they are out to fix but also prevent future fires and improve the quality of living for their customers. Improving their condition. Looking beyond just the immediate problem but helping and showing customers how they can help with their home.
Maintenance - This is foundational to building a positive relationship with customers. Events that are lower cost that allow for your HVAC system to last longer and run more effectively. It is also an opportunity to spot problems before they occur and see if there are any safety related problems with the system's operation. It would not be uncommon on a maintenance visit to unclog a drain line and install a overflow prevention device keeping water from overflowing into the house. Or catching and fixing a vent pipe that is improperly run that is leaking CO2 into the home. Maintenance actually allows us to hit on ALL 4 elements. Efficiency, Safety, Comfort and yes is a low Price item. Still if we go without showing and explaining to our customers what we have done and why we do it they may begin to wonder "Why did I pay him to come here and spend 30 minutes tinkering. Did they actually do anything?"