The 4 Secrets To Crushing Your IAQ Competition


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Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Analysis is the HVAC equivalent of the filtration issue in the plumbing industry. If you fail to meet the need of this huge market, you may as well hold the door open for your competition.

So, don’t cheat yourself out of leads, sales, and new customers. And if you help them live longer and healthier, that’s a benefit for all of you. Here’s how you can crush your competition and reign over IAQ in your market:

Target your market.
True or false: Because you’re marketing indoor air, your target should be everyone that breathes. (Hint: Please say “false.”)

Even though you would like to be able to expand your marketing budget to every breathing person in your market, you’ve got a limited supply of time and resources. So, you’ll need to choose your targets carefully and launch your message with precision.

First, you can get a list of allergy sufferers. That’s a great target, filled with people who’d rather suffer less. Plus, newer neighborhoods are often filled with young children whose parents may be concerned about asthma and allergies. Additionally, these are the areas where modern airtight homes tend to recycle indoor air pollution over and over. Let your message reflect that.

Fine-tune your target with older neighborhoods for a couple of reasons: They could have a higher percentage of elderly occupants developing breathing issues. Additionally, the homes’ ventilation systems might be older and ineffective, so you’ve got an area where you could include indoor air testing with your replacement offers.

You can also offer it with every tune-up you market for massive results. When you do this, your tune-ups move beyond the El Cheapo price, because they’re more valuable.

Differentiate your message.
Your goal in message development is to position yourself so that your value proposition to prospects and customers exceeds that of the competition.

So, do everything you can to deliver outstanding, unexpected, “make ‘em say ‘WOW’” service with every touch, every call into your shop, every envelope you put in their mailbox, and with every service call. Put miles of differentiation between you and your competitors. And here’s a great way to help define your path.

Fortunately, very few of your competitors will even offer IAQ, so when you do, make sure that your techs and salespeople tout this as a difference with your company. If you wait for customers to ask you about it, you’re in for a long wait. No matter what, as you get “out front” with IAQ, you’ll have competitors attempting to catch up (and only a few will). They’ll be seen as “imitators,” not innovators. That’s another reason to be fast and loud.

Choose your ad type and media.
You can’t beat Direct Response for targetability and lead generation. But it’s never a good idea to put all of your marketing eggs in one basket. Choose a balance of Direct Response, All Purpose, Image, Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA), and Retention.

Do the same with your media. Direct mail can be extremely lucrative by drawing leads and sales. Newspaper and radio can be fantastic for TOMA, or Image campaigns. Internet and Social Media can be a great way to spread your message to a younger demographic for practically free. Remember, “match” the media to your message in the market you want. Generate more upsells when your receptionist says to every caller, “And would you like to get a completely free indoor air quality survey?”

When choosing Social Media and Online Marketing, remember your message must be transparent and honest. Clearly communicate offers, giving ‘conditions’ and ‘guarantees’ openly. Testimonials (FTC ruling here) must announce that atypical results are not typical and/or what the average results might be. Every now and then, it is sheer genius to admit a ‘flaw’ in a product of yours. Credibility soars.

Timing is everything.
Spring and Fall are the two big allergy seasons. You want $100 million of research for free? Have your ads ready to run and the first day you see an Allegra allergy ad, start your push.

Waiting too late to run your ads means missing the wave, and running them too soon means they’re irrelevant. Be aware of your area’s peak allergy months and be ready to offer solutions to a problem that over 40 million Americans suffer from.

Now, to capitalize on building a nice income stream from this rich HVAC sector, please know that IAQ sales are typically “two-step sales” generally from one of four sources:

A. Incoming repair, using an IAQ ‘test’ or ‘survey’ as the first step, free with the repair OR evidence that the repair was caused by the dirt in the system. Tip: You can ask customers to sign a “warranty waiver” (on the portion of the warranty from you) if the dirt is not extracted since it may re-cause the problem. I mean, will your mechanic give you a warranty on your transmission if he puts in used, foul fluid?

B. Replacement sale upsell. You can use this to separate the ‘better’ from the ‘best.’ DO NOT include this with your quote where you will get killed against your non-IAQ competition. Make it separate.

C. Market generated service lead (i.e. tune-up) with the IAQ test or survey included in the price of the higher priced tune-up. This gives a low-cost, high-perceived value distinction for your tune-ups. This has been our largest incoming lead generator by far.

D. IAQ stand-alone generated lead, generally a ‘no-cost’ test or survey. There is occasionally a cost if you’re testing out a large market. These are great “awareness” pieces and I’d limit the number of tests you do, which drives up the sense of urgency.

The second step, of course, is the IAQ recommendation of the proposed service. When you are offering genuine value and benefits that meet such a huge need, it’s pretty hard not to come out on top.

Adams Hudson
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Posted In: Building Performance, Residential Buildings, Sales & Marketing

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