Selling IAQ Solutions w/ John Ellis
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We work in a process-driven industry; we have processes for installations, warranty claims, service calls, and so on. When we create an IAQ process that allows us to investigate the customer’s home, analyze the customer’s situation, and then quote the customer for a tailored solution, we can significantly improve a customer’s quality of life, especially if they have debilitating conditions like COPD, severe asthma, etc. When it comes to IAQ products, our industry has a bad habit of just quoting the customer for a product instead of investigating and analyzing the customer’s situation.
To create that process, we need to start by collecting data during the investigation phase. We can source that data from customer questionnaires and several measurements. We also need to assess the effects of poor IAQ on the inhabitants, keeping in mind that these effects are often delayed and cumulative. When we take measurements, we need to remember that concentrations of pollutants and particulates can change over time.
Once we’ve gathered that data, we need to analyze it. We compare the measurements to the information and feedback that the customer gave us. At this time, we also need to determine if the pollutant can be removed from the space; some pollutants are behavioral, and others can’t be controlled as easily. Pollutants may also originate in the space or infiltrate the space from beyond the building envelope. We need to consider either removing the pollutants or diluting them.
After we’ve analyzed the data, we can finally tailor a solution to the customer and give them a quote with several options and explanations as to how they work. The scope of work may include ventilation, filtration, air sealing, or a combination of those.
When we approach customers as HVAC professionals, we have to keep in mind that medical conditions are often involved in conversations about IAQ, and emotions can run high as a result (especially when young children and their health conditions are involved). It’s unethical to prey on those emotions, but we can be more effective if we understand just how invested customers are in their children’s health. In some cases, we can improve the customers’ quality of life significantly and reduce their reliance on pharmaceuticals to control respiratory conditions aggravated by their indoor environment.
Overall, we need to recognize that mere IAQ add-ons and cookie-cutter IAQ solutions just don’t work. We need to have a diagnostic process that allows us to create a tailored solution. Otherwise, we’re no better than doctors who commit malpractice. Individual contractors who focus on delivering those solutions can also stand out by using their profitability to do good things for their community and provide better service.
A lot of care needs to go into an ethical IAQ sale; IAQ jobs tend to take longer as a result. During installation, it’s best to use the safest possible cleaning products, keep the area clean, make sure ducts don’t leak, and make sure that no loose insulation or fiberglass can get into the airstream. It’s also our job to educate the customer (and listen to the customer when they want to educate us about their conditions). Because ethical IAQ sales are so involved, the pricing needs to be fair for the work done; low bids only create a race to the bottom.
When it comes to pricing, we need to be able to pay for the quality tools we use. John Ellis’s pricing process is built into The New Flat Rate, and it has an IAQ module that allows you to generate appropriate prices for tiered solutions. The New Flat Rate starts the pricing process during the discovery/investigation phase and treats the whole house as a system. The software also has a training portal that can help you give customers a safe, healthy, and efficient home at a fair price.
You can learn more about The New Flat Rate’s IAQ pricing system at https://thenewflatrate.com/iaq
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