Introverts Can Sell

When you think of a salesman, what comes to mind? Do you imagine a quiet person who helps you solve your problems by listening and evaluating you as a customer? Probably not. 

When most people hear the word ‘salesman' they imagine a flashy personality who will talk to you for hours in order to try to get you to buy something that you may awkwardly be trying to get away from.

 

That’s not the definition of a good salesman.

 

Introverts vs. Extroverts

 

Who would you pick to be a good salesman–the extrovert or the introvert? Most people would pick the extrovert because they believe someone who can talk, is someone who can sell. While it is true that being a talker may get your foot in the door, it is also true that it may turn off a potential customer and be more annoying than anything else. 

 

A good salesperson is one who can talk and listen to the needs of the customer.

An introverted person is more likely to listen to you and learn about your interests, first, before carrying on a conversation. That is exactly what customers want from a salesman, but given what we know about an introvert personality, how do you get an introvert person to walk up to customers and initiate a conversation and proceed to sell? 

 

Anyone can be an introvert and anyone can be an extrovert, depending on the situation. A good salesman is a combination of both introvert and extrovert personalities; combining the social confidence of an extrovert with the listening skills of an introvert.

 

Learn from the Extrovert

If you are an introvert, you won’t naturally have the social nerve of an extrovert; but you can act like you do. What's that catchphrase, “Fake it, ‘til you make it”? 

I DON'T suggest faking it by lying or exaggerating, but for an introvert, this can just mean forcing yourself to get out there and introduce yourself even when it's the last thing you feel comfortable doing.

In your daily life start by simply practicing saying ‘hello’ to passersby, forcing yourself into the public domain and even consider joining a public speaking group.  All of those practices will help you become more comfortable with strangers and in turn they will feel more comfortable around you. Get passionate about work. What you have to sell is pretty incredible. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be selling it and you wouldn’t have customers looking to buy it. Keeping yourself busy by being persistent and helping others. This will help you gain some extrovert qualities and make you a better salesperson.

 

Learn from the Introvert 

If you’re an Extrovert it’s time to slow down and develop a few introverted qualities. It is human nature to enjoy talking about ourselves, but in order to build relationships, we need to listen more. In your next conversation pay attention to what others are saying and ask questions. It will promote better listening skills and build stronger relationships with customers. Extroverts will often say they have a hard time sitting still and focusing on reading, but recognize that reading is an opportunity for you to learn more, to better prepare yourself, and will broaden your horizons as a salesperson.  

 

It’s no surprise that the world of sales is changing. For years people hated to go buy an automobile because they didn’t feel as if the salesperson really had their best interest at heart and would put on a lot of unwanted pressure. These bad experiences are driving the change in sales.

 

We've said goodbye to the days of the cigar-smoking, backslapping salesman and hello to a salesperson who has an obligation and desire to help the customer in what is their best interest.

 

What is one thing you can do today to change how you approach a customer?

 

Compressors and Pumps

Let's go with dictionary definitions of each one first

pump
noun
1. A mechanical device using suction or pressure to raise or move liquids, compress gases, or force air into inflatable objects such as tires.

compressor
noun
1. an instrument or device for compressing something.

Both compressors and pumps move fluids and a fluid

  1. Yields or moves from higher pressure to lower-pressure areas
  2. Has no distinct shape and takes up the shape of its container

Both liquids and vapors are fluids but vapors (gaseous state) are compressible and liquids are effectively incompressible. This means that a compressor is TECHNICALLY a pump but a pump is not a compressor.

In both a pump and a compressor a pressure differential is created between the inlet and the outlet but in the case of a compressor there is a change of volume from inlet to outlet forcing the vapor molecules into a smaller area.

While you can “compress” a vapor by forcing it into a smaller container you CANNOT do this with a liquid without extreme pressures. This is why we must work so hard to ensure that liquid refrigerant stays out of a compressor because it will destroy it when the compressor attempts to compress it, that is unless the compressor is equipped with some method of providing clearance when liquid is introduced into the head.

In practice, most of the “vapor pumps” in our industry are compressors and liquid pumps are just pumps or circulators but do not compress.

— Bryan

 

Liquid Line Solenoid Valves: Long Line Applications

Pump down solenoid valves are commonplace for any refrigeration technician. They are energized with the compressor still running, shutting off flow in the liquid line so the refrigerant is pumped into the condenser and receiver. The compressor will then shut off once a low-pressure switch opens the circuit when the pressure falls below a set pressure. However, there are other applications for which liquid line solenoid valves are useful. Long line applications in HVAC incur a wide range of challenges a technician must evaluate. Among those challenges include oil return, refrigerant migration in off-cycle, compressor workload, efficiency and capacity losses, added refrigerant charge, and metering device selection.

Long line applications (for R410a straight AC and Heat Pumps with ⅜” liquid lines) are generally defined as any system with a line set longer than 80 ft in equivalent length. Equivalent length in this context means that all pressure drops (copper fittings, bends, diameter size changes) translate to a length equivalent to a run of straight copper. Manufacturer spec data for copper fittings will have printed the equivalent length of those fittings in its literature. The length to be exceeded before long line application procedures are used may vary depending on line set diameter size and on which plane the indoor and outdoor units are located, but 80 ft is the general rule for Residential AC and HPs. Any system with a 20 ft uninterrupted vertical rise in the line set should also be treated as a long line application, per Carrier’s Long Line Application Guideline, which will be linked here.

 

There are many ways manufacturers have sought to resolve the challenges with long line applications. Some of these solutions include crankcase heaters and txv metering devices. Most manufacturers will specify an OEM hard-start kit for the purposes of protecting compressor effectiveness against the added refrigerant charge. Some commercial applications require oil traps to aid in oil return. 

 

Liquid line solenoid valves are specifically utilized to prevent refrigerant migration in the off-cycle. The valve is positioned with the arrow printed on the valve body pointing toward the outdoor unit. For heat pumps, the valve must be biflow. It is important to note that the valve is normally closed in these long line applications. When energized with the contactor of the outdoor unit, the coil in the valve body will pull the valve open to allow flow. However, when closed, the valve only stops refrigerant from flowing in the direction of the arrow printed on the valve. With the system in the off-cycle, the solenoid valve will keep refrigerant liquid and vapor from migrating to the compressor down the liquid line. But don't let the refrigerant tubing size fool you! Just because the liquid line is 3/8″ doesn't mean any liquid line solenoid valve with 3/8″ sweat or flare connections will do. Care must be taken when selecting a solenoid valve. Choose valves to match the capacity of the system on which it will be installed (with a pressure drop of no more than 1 psi), then pay attention to refrigerant rating, THEN select by line set diameter size. 

 

Wiring a liquid line solenoid valve will generally tap in with the thermostat’s call for the compressor. The valve should be wired into the Y (outdoor unit contactor) and C (common) terminals on single-stage equipment. For two-stage equipment, make sure the valve opens with a call for the first stage of heating or cooling (Y1). This prevents the valve from remaining closed during compressor operation.

Solenoid valves are incredibly simple in design and operation, and troubleshooting for long line applications is also quite simple. Confirm the coil is receiving its rated applied voltage when the system is energized, and test temperature drop across the valve. A maximum of 3° difference is allowable. The valves are NC (normally closed), so if there is a temp drop across the valve body, but no applied voltage during system operation, confirm your wiring. 

 

Always make sure you are applying industry best practices when installing a solenoid valve. Remove the coil from the valve body before installation to prevent overheating. Use a heat absorption putty, spray, or wet rag on the valve body. Flow nitrogen while brazing, and install filter driers everytime (oversized if possible).

 

Long-line applications are few and far between in residential HVAC. But if you ever encounter a situation where you see a liquid line solenoid valve next to the outdoor unit, pay close attention to the way that system is setup and any other added accessories that may have been installed. You may refer to the Residential Long-Line Application Guideline at any time.

 

-Kaleb Saleeby

Wide, Narrow, Wide Diagnosis

When you walk up to a piece of equipment you want to follow a process to ensure that you accomplish five things.

#1 – You diagnose the fault correctly

#2 – If possible you find the “why” of the failure

#3 – Find any other problems or potential problems with the system that can cause inefficiency, low capacity, failure, safety or indoor air quality issues

#4 – Communicate clearly with the customer and and office about these issues via paperwork and / or verbal communication

#5 – Execute and repair the issues in an efficient and workmanlike manner

In order to accomplish this I recommend looking at the equipment with a wide, narrow, wide mindset

First, speak with the customer, read the call history, understand any concerns the customer may have and any past failures. Look at the equipment, look for any obvious signs of issues like oil stains, corrosion, rubbing wires, bloated capacitors etc…

Then go narrow and FIND THE CURRENT PROBLEM. The difference between a “Sales Tech” and a real service tech is the ability to quickly and accurately diagnose the problem at hand as well as find the likely causes of the failure.

Finally, once you find THE problem, go wide again and look for any other problems BEFORE communicating with the customer. Look at coils, contactors, capacitors, filters, belts, wire connections and potential rub outs, check coils and accumulator for oil stains etc…

When looking wide take the mindest that..

– The system was likely installed poorly / incorrectly to begin with

– Every other repair made to the unit was done improperly

This will put you in the mindset to double-check everything.

Now you are ready to talk to the customer and make repairs with confidence.

— Bryan

Air Filter Static Pressure Drop

I'm a big dummy when it comes to my own air conditioning maintenance. I talk about the importance of changing air filters to customers and techs but I never stay up on replacing my own.

Yesterday I walked into my mechanical room and my 2-ton air handler sounded like a vacuum cleaner about to implode.

My filter was nasty… nasty to the point that I wasn't willing to leave the filter in. So I pulled it out and think to myself “I'll just grab a filter from the office tomorrow”. well… I forgot and I live 35 minutes from my office.

So today I grab a filter from my nearby hardware store, a common brand and pull it out of the plastic wrap to install it. Sure it was a MERV 11, but that was the only option other than the cheap, spun fiberglass “bug catcher”.

I know what you're thinking, I should have known better

I've got to give it to this filter manufacturer for actually printing the static pressure drop on the filter (shown above).

My system is setup for 350 CFM per ton so it's required running at right around 700 CFM which means on my system this filter is going to add 0.26″wc of extra static to the return side of the blower.

With most systems being rated at 0.5″wc TESP (total external static Pressure) this makes up more than half of that, before any ductwork, grilles, registers, balancing dampers or coils in the case of furnace systems.

On a PSC blower motor this extra static from this filter would result in lower airflow, poor system performance and poor air distribution.

With an ECM motor this extra static can result in higher blower motor power consumption and condensate drainage issues/difficulty maintaining trap.

While some systems may be able to deal with the extra static at a cost, many will have issues ESPECIALLY on older systems that have PSC motors and furnaces with coils.

This is why larger filter cabinets with lower pressure drop filters often make sense or oversized filter back return grilles.

When choosing a filter remember that airflow (Pressure Drop) is just as important to consider as filtration (MERV rating) and just because a filter fits doesn't mean it's the best filter for the system

— Bryan

Maintenance During Major Repairs

 

Every contractor is different, I get that.

We don't all need to do everything the same way or include the same services with repairs but there are some “best practices” that can save you a lot of heartache before, during and after you make a big repair.

Catch it During Diagnosis

Let's say you find a failed, shorted compressor on a 7-year-old system that still has manufacturer parts coverage. If you simply quote the compressor and leave you may be missing a lot of other maintenance-related issues that can affect operation once the compressor is replaced. A shortlist of items to check would be –

  • Look at the accumulator for signs of corrosion
  • Acid test to see if a burnout protocol should be employed
  • Check the air filter
  • Inspect the condenser coil cleanliness
  •  Look at the underside of the evaporator coil
  • Perform a static pressure test on the system to check for duct issues
  • Check the crankcase heater (if it has one)
  • Inspect the contactor
  • Check condenser fan and blower motor amps
  • Test all capacitors
  • Visually inspect wires and cap tubes
  • Check high voltage electrical connections

And this is just for cooling side issues. If the system is a fuel-burning appliance you would inspect every part of the furnace operation as well.

  • Venting
  • Condensate drainage
  • Burners
  • Flame proving
  • Safeties

And much more…

Testing all of these things is commonplace AFTER a repair, but it makes so much more sense to do it beforehand so that you can either charge appropriately for any of these items that need to be addressed or let the customer know you are including them to differentiate you from the competition.

Things to Do Along With Major Repairs 

There are a few things you need to do as a matter of course during major air conditioning or refrigeration repairs that just make good sense to prevent callbacks. You can include them in the price or not or not but either way, it will save you more than it costs to do it.

  • Clean the drain line and condensate pan (seriously…. do this)
  • Wash the condenser coil
  • Clean the blower wheel (if it is dirty)
  • Change the air filter
  • Test all modes of operation

Do these things along with all of the standards tests you perform to make sure that you have no issues and that whatever caused the fault in the system has been rectified and you will save a lot of problems. When the customer spends a lot of money getting a system fixed, they don't want to turn around and have it fail for an “unrelated” reason.

While this list is clearly tailored to the residential and light commercial air conditioning market, every piece of equipment has its common maintenance items. So what do you do every time when you make a major repair?

— Bryan

 

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