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Increase Your Bottom Line Easily with Add-On Sales

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Every business has its ups and downs, as well as times of feast and famine. There are busy seasons and slow seasons and the economy can impact it all, even for HVAC owners. High fuel prices may also be impacting the distance of your service area, further limiting your bottom line. However, there is a way to increase your bottom line without additional advertising or fuel costs and that is with add-on sales to your current customer base.

Why You Should Go for Add-on Sales
Bob Phibbs, the “retail doctor” and owner of, was inspired to start his business helping companies with their retail sells when he attended a Tony Robbins seminar. Today, he is nationally recognized as a sales coach and customer service expert. He’s worked with thousands of business from small ones to corporations, training them how to stay ahead of the competition.

When asked why add-on sales are an important part of any business, he had this to say: “The profit is in the second item. Your marketing, your location, payroll, etc. all go to pay to get that first customer in the door. If you don’t get the add-on, it was yours to lose as you already have them say, ‘Yes’ to you.”

Why Add-On Sales Are Important
Nearly every business uses add-on sales to earn more from current customers. If you go into a fast food restaurant, they will ask if you want a large drink for another 25 cents or French fries with your order. If you call to order a cable TV package, they will suggest adding on movie channels. Add-on sales are obviously an important part of nearly any type of business imaginable and the same holds true for heating and cooling companies.

Jackie Rainwater reported that Peachtree Heating and Air Conditioning out of Atlanta, Georgia found that adding on accessories such as humidifiers, digital thermostats, carbon monoxide detectors and air purifiers upped their revenue about 20%.

Customers may not be aware of the benefits of these different options or that some are even available, so explaining the benefits for that particular household can create an increase in revenue. You’ve already converted this person into a customer, so as Phibbs mentioned, any additional sales are pure profit at this point.

Ideas for Add-ons
The best add-on sales are those that spring from the need the customer has. There is a way you can upsell to the customer without being pushy or overcharging. To accomplish this, ask:

What special needs does this customer have? Does a family member have severe allergies? An air purification system might be a good add-on.

How can the current equipment be improved to meet needs? Would a larger unit cool the house more effectively? Does some duct work need to be replaced or rerouted?

What about long-term costs? Could a more efficient unit be in order?

What about ongoing-service needs? How about an annual cleaning or furnace check can be a help to busy families who might not remember to schedule these appointments, and would be happy to be placed on an automated schedule for service.

How to Ask for that Extra Sale
Even if it makes sense to offer accessories that the customer might need, it can be hard to know the best way to ask for that additional sale. Some customers will already be a bit aggravated that they have to pay out thousands of dollars to replace a non-working furnace, air conditioner, or both.

According to sales expert Bob Phibbs, the key is to use analogies and “make them see what could happen if they don’t” buy this item. If the customer has a concern, try to relate your answer to something they already understand. For example, say you are trying to upsell a digital thermostat and the customer is concerned it will be too complicated to use, you might say:

“It’s as easy to learn to use as a microwave oven. Just hit the numbers you want and set it to run.”

People know how to use microwaves and they know that if they can run a microwave they can figure out this thermostat. You’ve just taken care of the customer’s concern with an analogy.

Phibbs also said, “Assume they will be interested in all the options. Show how it is more convenient – don’t just use the old saw about ‘saving money’ -everyone says that. Look at how Amazon has morphed from low prices to convenience – that’s where the customer loyalty comes in.”

The customer is in front of you. His checkbook is already open and he is ready to buy that new unit. This is the perfect time to make sure he gets the complete package he needs to be truly happy with his heating/cooling options. Offering items that will make his life easier, make his household run more efficiently or save him time and money is a no brainer. Not only will you help him, but you’ll see an increase in your average profit from customers.

Lori Soard

Posted In: Sales & Marketing

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