How much does it cost to acquire a new customer? With intense competition and the time-sensitive nature of HVAC repairs, most consumers make quick decisions on whom to hire. This means the cost can often be very high to get a new customer. So how do you grow HVAC sales without a big investment in advertising and focusing on finding new customers? One answer is to look to your existing customer base.
You probably already use maintenance agreements to generate a great revenue stream, but what about those customers that only have one-off service calls? Are you actively marketing to them, or do you lose track after the first call? How do you stay top of mind so that you’re the company they call for that next service event?
Become More Relevant to your Customers
The key to increasing HVAC sales is becoming more relevant to your customers. You want to be their very first call whenever they have an HVAC question. For this to happen, you need to maintain records of all of your prospects and customers, and you need to market to them in relevant ways.
Here are four ways to become more relevant to your customers:
Build a Customer Database
The first step in keeping in touch is keeping track of your customers. If you’re using paper estimates and invoices, are you keeping customer contact information in a computer database? Do you track leads when they call in for information?
Building a customer database is a fairly simple task. It can be accomplished using Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or a program designed for running an HVAC business like FieldPulse. Each can be configured to collect basic contact information and details such as when they first contacted you, how they learned about you, the HVAC equipment they own, and more. With specialty software you can go further by easily tracking all of the work you’ve done for them, which has a great benefit that will be explained below in this article.
Segment Your Customer Database
Now that you’re collecting contact information, the next step is to identify different groups, or segments, within your customer list that will have different needs. For example, someone who is on a yearly maintenance plan might think differently about their HVAC needs than someone who has only called once for emergency repair. In FieldPulse, you can quickly tag customers based on each segment.
Then look at other differences, such as the type of equipment your customers own and whether or not they’re in your immediate service area. Some customers might have decided to invest in top of the line equipment, while others were on a budget. Think about the needs of each of these segments when communicating with them because each will respond to different messages.
Send Targeted Offers and Promotions
Identifying different customer segments can help you increase your sales or fill gaps in your service schedule. Are you doing an install next week? Consider sending an email to other customers in the neighborhood and offer a service special. Or maybe you could reach out to customers with recent installations to remind them of the importance of a maintenance plan. By offering the right service to the right customers you will be more relevant and have a higher chance of success.
If you mark each segment in your database, you’ll be ready to select customers quickly for a targeted promotion. For example, in FieldPulse if you’ve tagged customers for a segment it’s easy to export the list and move it into an email marketing program like MailChimp.
Help Your Customers Remember You
Earning more business from your customers requires staying relevant and easy to remember. It’s easy for customers to lose track of which service professional was last called when HVAC service needs are infrequent. To avoid this, make sure that you keep in touch with emails, mail pieces, and phone calls. Consider thank you cards after larger service calls and follow up phone calls to ensure everything is still going great a month later.
There is definitely a point where communicating too much can have the opposite effect, so don’t go overboard. If your car mechanic sent you an email every week when your car was running well, it would lose its impact. But it’s easy to be perceived as helpful when staying in contact and offering value (whether it’s information like reminding them to test their heater before it gets cold or a discount for maintenance service).
Earn More HVAC Sales from Your Current Customers
It takes a lot to earn the trust of a new customer. Once you’ve earned that opportunity, it’s important to keep building that customer relationship. Do this by keeping track of customers, identifying different customer segments, and keeping your brand in front of them while delivering value. Each of these steps helps to build new business in a way that benefits you both, and will help grow your HVAC sales.