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Drumming Up Business During Mild Weather

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In the spring and fall, weather is mild and many HVAC businesses go through a slow period. However, with a little pre-planning, you can keep your business thriving even during months when people typically adjust their thermostats for money savings.

When the Phone Doesn’t Ring on Your End…
One of the fastest and most effective ways to drum up business is to call past customers. If you haven’t already been keeping a detailed database of your customers, what work they’ve had done and other notes, you should start immediately.

This database will come in handy during slow times when you want to reach out to customers and offer your services. During those slow April days when your phone isn’t ringing, have your customer service team phone those customers.

However, you aren’t just going to call and ask if they need anything. Instead, you are going to first read through the notes and see exactly what that customer needs. For example, did your technicians make an emergency run because the furnace wasn’t working for that customer? Perhaps the technician on call suggested a replacement unit for the coming year. Take the time to touch base with the customer and remind him about the technician’s recommendations. This is a good time to let the customer know if new units are on sale or payment plans that might better fit his budget.
By the same token, if you replaced a unit during those cold winter months, take the time to follow up and make sure the customer is happy with the new furnace. Suggest a maintenance package for the coming year as well.

Time Your Direct Mail
Take the time to look back over your bookkeeping. What are your slowest months of the year? If you’re like most HVAC contractors, your slow period probably lines up with the mild weather months of March, April, September and October. This can vary, of course, depending on what area of the country you live in and local demands for HVAC services, so be sure to check what is true for your own business.

Once you have the months singled out that are your slow period, decide what specials and sales you can offer during that time frame to draw in business. While people may not be likely to replace a furnace in April with many warm months ahead of them, they will be likely to buy a new unit before the cold winter months hit.

Just as an example, you could offer:

  • March – Half-price tune-ups for current customers
  • April – 10% off new unit installation
  • September – Extra month free on maintenance packages
  • October – Pre-winter safety check package and tune-up

Now, plan to send your mailing out about 7-10 days before the special will be available. This allows several days for the flyer to arrive and a few more days for your customers to think over the offer.

Follow-up with a Phone Call
As mentioned above, you’ll want to take the time to make a personalized phone call. Here are some examples of what you could say:

  • “Hello, Mr. Smith. This is Jane Doe at ABC Heating & Cooling. I see that we replaced your furnace in December. We’re just calling to check and see how that unit is working for you or if you have any concerns.” Allow the customer to respond and address any concerns he has first. If he has none, continue. “For the month of September, we’re offering an extra month free on our maintenance packages, which can keep your new unit running effectively for many years to come. Can I sign you up for one of those packages?”
  • “Hi, Mrs. Jones. This is ABC Heating & Cooling calling. I see we came out on a service call last summer and made a minor repair to get you through the end of summer. Our technician noted that your system will need replaced as soon as possible and I wanted to offer you the option of a full refund on that repair with the purchase of a new system. We have a range of options to help you figure out the financing. Can I send someone over to discuss replacing your system?”

The more specific you can be with the customer, the more likely you’ll fill in those empty appointment slots and keep business going. Try to schedule the appointment as quickly as possible before the temperatures climb or fall and your appointment book is once again overwhelmed with emergency calls. With a little forethought and some cold calls, you’ll not only fill up those empty appointment slots during your slow months but your customers will know you’re paying attention to their wants and needs.

Lori Soard

Posted In: Management, Money, Sales & Marketing

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