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Question: What is better, having selling techs or having techs turn in leads to comfort advisors?

Drew Cameron; President, HVAC Sellutions & Energy Design Systems, Inc:

If you don’t have the resources to employ comfort advisors, having selling techs is obviously going to be necessary. However, if you have an option of handing off leads to a true, trained sales professional, I’d go that route. A sales person – in this case a comfort advisor – is typically trained in the art of communication and knows how to put together custom solutions with load calculations. They’re aware of the latest and greatest technologies available for heating, cooling, and indoor air quality (IAQ), they can prove ROI, and they know how to read people.

A technician usually doesn’t have the same skills that a trained sales professional has. Sure, you could send your technicians to training classes to help them become better communicators, but that won’t make them a sales professional. So, in my opinion, it’s better for the customer and the company to have a trained sales professional run the call. Have the technician set up the opportunity and the comfort advisor close it.

Think about it this way, when a customer calls your company, they call for your expertise. They didn’t want a price, they didn’t want it fixed, they didn’t even necessarily want it replaced. They called for information. They want good information to make a good decision. Your job as a company is to send out the person who is the most applicable expert to give them that good information so they can make that good decision. In most cases, the calls coming into the company are coming in through the service department.

So, most of the time the customer is calling to say their system isn’t working properly. They’re basically asking a technician to help them figure out what’s going on and what they should do. The technician’s job is to then give the customer information on the various options for either repairing the system or replacing it. Once the conversation leads to replacement, the technician is no longer the most applicable expert because they usually aren’t trained to know the latest and greatest equipment options.

They don’t know all the benefits of the various models from the different manufacturers. They don’t understand how variable-staged equipment or variable-speed equipment can solve comfort problems and energy efficiency problems or improve indoor air quality in the space. They might not know how to do a load calculation or how to do a duct sizing. They might not know how to read the customer and deliver information in a compelling fashion that’s going to make the customer do business with you. So, the best expert at that point becomes the comfort advisor.

The best expert is who should be on the call at any point in time. Again, in my opinion, when it’s a repair or maintenance thing, it’s the technician’s job. When it’s a replacement or an upgrade and there’s some design work involved, that’s going to be the comfort advisor’s job.

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