The Unified Group recognizes the value of collaboration, that is why the organization of independent mechanical contractors recently welcomed professional HVAC sales representatives from around the country to join forces in Chicago at our 2017 Sales Forum: Creating a Roadmap to Success. The group addressed topics such as: managing the funnel, mastering an elevator pitch, prospecting and qualifying, building the proposal and sealing the deal.
Day one began with members hearing from guest speaker, Les Lent. Les led attendees through his presentation on “Smart Selling”. People in a sales role often struggle to know where that line between being persistent and being a pest lies, but Les informed attendees that 80% of sales people are actually making calls in a less than intelligent manner and most give up too soon. Once in touch with a prospect, it is imperative that proper communication take place between the seller and potential buyer. His detailed program can be summed up in four short words: Ask questions and listen. Attendees were led through communication obstacles, asking the right questions, positive perception of difference and maintaining trust. “Les did an excellent job of conveying the ‘do’s’ and ‘do not’s’ of selling, how we approach new leads and the importance of research and practice”, said Chris Reiter of A&G Piping.
The remainder of the forum was spent in conversation of shared best practices. Utilizing the expertise within our own group allowed for numerous different companies to share their strengths. Tyler Jeffrey of Air Comfort walked attendees through the importance of strong marketing. “Marketing is the process of deciding who you want to talk to, what you want to say and how you say it”, said Jeffrey. “Why should someone choose my business over all the other choices?”. This discussion lead to a breakout session where members worked together to construct strong, purposeful elevator pitches.
Sean Torgerson from B&I Contractors in Fort Myers, shared with the group their Client Relationship Management (CRM) tool. He explained how they use the tool daily, showed how it tracks sales and leads and explained how that data benefits their company.
J&J Air Conditioning’s, Richard York, shared with members how they continue to remain a top competitor in San Jose with their strength in prospecting and harvesting opportunities. York stated, “the best part of the meeting for me was the difference of opinion and interaction with everyone. It wasn’t just one person’s thoughts. This was the most collaborative forum I’ve been to.”
Sales expert and Unified Group Original Founding Member, Fred Roser, stepped to the stage during the criteria for qualifying portion, where he shared that although he classifies himself as a “yes man”, it is important to take the time to truly qualify each prospect through thorough research. Many members also added that the internet is filled with information at fingertips length.
Mike Devito was a critical component in multiple presentations. Devito was the spearhead behind inviting Abstrakt Marketing Group to the event. Air Comfort is currently utilizing their services and they have provided great leads to the company. After sharing Air Comfort’s successes and allowing two representatives from Abstrakt to speak to our members, Devito then went on to facilitate discussion revolving around full-service contracts. A process that Devito has pushed since becoming the Vice President of Air Comfort, he stressed to the group the easy ability to gain customer retention through full-service contracts.
Greg LaHue of Mechanical Systems and Services (MSS) was our fifth company to share their knowledge this week. LaHue expedited detailed discussion on building the proposal. Sharing both his “Short But Sweet’ proposal and his “Senior Thesis” proposal, members were able to learn ways to make positive changes to their own current proposals. Jeff Rollins, from Comfortrol, Inc. said with great enthusiasm, “This class has already worked for me. I sent out a PM Proposal last night and I sealed the deal this morning.”
One highlight of the day was the exhibition from purchasing partner, Jackson Systems. Jackson Systems is an HVAC controls distributor who specializes in zoning, thermostats, and home automation products. Additionally, they also do private brand products for our members and shared with attendees how this can help build relationships and retention.
The final day was spent wrapping up all the knowledge soaked in over the previous 48 hours. Handling objections, sealing the deal, closing techniques, customer feedback, referrals and repeat business, all tied together on day three to complete the sales’ circle. “I was able to take away at least something from every aspect of the meeting. A lot of what we do follows the same process but everyone has something they do different and to be able to learn different things will help with my short and long-term goals”, says Joe Bakken of Air Controls. “Everything about this forum was professional and spot on.”
Special thank you to our task force for a great event: Fred Roser (Lexington Mechanical), Mike Devito (Air Comfort Corporation), Richard York (J&J Air Conditioning), Greg LaHue (MSS), Sean Torgenson (B&I Contractors, Inc.).