Most HVAC salespeople believe their goal is to close on an HVAC sales call. And while it’s true that you need to sell more HVAC systems, HVAC equipment, air conditioners, and heat pumps to do well at your job and make a ton of money, closing isn’t your goal as a residential HVAC salesperson.
Your goal on an HVAC sales call is to connect with your customer and diagnose their problem(s).
Your ability to connect and diagnose greatly impacts your ability to close more HVAC sales and sell more HVAC equipment. We’ll talk about how to quickly diagnose your customer’s problem in a separate blog post but today is about learning how to quickly connect with anyone on a sales call by understanding the four personality types.
Developed by two psychologists, David Merrill and Roger Reid, in the early 1960s, the four personality types allow you to understand how people behave in certain social situations.
And there is no social situation quite like walking into a homeowner’s home full-time as a residential HVAC sales professional, comfort advisor, or sales consultant.
Outside sales and in-home sales are no joke in the HVAC industry! You deserve access to a personality type “shortcut” to better connect with homeowners and understand customer needs.
Here are the four personality types to look for on an HVAC sales call:
1. The driver personality type
People that are drivers value data and are ok with conflict. They need results, prefer action, and are great at controlling emotion. Their weakness is listening. When you think of a driver, try to think about a person you’ve met in life: the Type A, potentially “aggressive” CEO type. They don’t like a lot of small talk or meandering. They want to get to the point: fast. So if you give too much data, talk too much, or get offended by someone that wants to cut to the case, you won’t do well on your HVAC sales call.
How to tell if a homeowner is a driver personality type: If someone interrupts you and values data, they are a “driver.” Give this homeowner a “3 bullet summary” on the point you’re trying to make, and then stop talking.
2. The analytical personality type
This is the toughest personality to sell to. Analyticals are like drivers because they value data, but unlike drivers who are ok with conflict, analytical personality types avoid conflict. They will never interrupt you while you’re speaking because they are trying to see if you’re full of it! Ever been on an HVAC sales call and had someone just stare at you and not say anything? Awkward right? These are usually analytical people asking themselves one question in their minds: “Can I trust this person?” Speaking of questions, analyticals LOVE to ask a lot of questions and, most importantly, want you to answer their question without trying to take over the conversation. Nothing frustrates an analytical more than a sales professional who doesn’t answer their questions exactly how they’ve been asked. They need to be right, prefer to think, and are great at controlling their emotions like drivers. Their weakness is a lack of willingness to state a position until they are sure.
How to tell if a homeowner is an analytical personality type: If someone does not interrupt you and values data, more specifically, if they are launching data-driven questions at you, do not interrupt them and answer their questions exactly the way they asked them succinctly. Do not try to take over the conversation. Give them the feeling that they need to trust you: the feeling of control.
3. The expressive personality type
Expressives value relationships and feelings over data. They are OK with conflict and prefer to make spontaneous decisions. If you have ever been on a sales call with a customer who loves to talk, then they might be an expressive. Deep down, they love to have fun and be included. You might experience them as “outgoing storytellers, ” and they might come across as ambitious, charismatic, and persuasive. They require approval so be prepared to get questions like, “what do you think?” And be forewarned: Your answer might be a well, thought-out logical one, which might be frustrating to you as a seller because expressives make decisions spontaneously based on how they feel. Logic might not always be a part of their decision making which might make you think they are impulsive, shallow, and manipulative.
How to tell if a homeowner is an expressive personality type: If someone interrupts you and seems very outgoing or talkative, then they are relationship-focused people who are trying to establish a “connection” with you so they can make a decision based on how they feel in their gut. Be sincere, transparent, and most importantly, confident in your prescription. Use opinions and stories rather than facts and data. Make direct eye contact and use your best people skills. Remember: these folks need approval from your expertise. If you don’t have a strong, passionate opinion about your solution or lack of people skills then you will give them a “bad feeling,” and they’ll move on. Also, consider this: if a homeowner communicates to you with stories, then there is a high likelihood that they are an expressive. Talk about your HVAC sales proposal with stories instead of data. For example: “Our customer John Smith had the same application your home did. We put this system in his home, and he saw XYZ results.”
4. The amiable personality type
Amiables value relationships over data and avoid conflict. They need to feel safe. They are very patient, likable, and easy-going. They are quiet but witty. You might leave a sales call and think, “wow, what a nice guy.” This is because they have a high concern for people above all else and are keen to share emotion without dominating others or creating conflict. This can be frustrating during your sales process because these customers can be slow to decide and take action.
How to tell if a homeowner is an amiable personality type: If someone isn’t interrupting you and is sharing how they feel, then there is a high chance they are an amiable person. Remember, analyticals (from bullet point #2) do not interrupt but may be a bit more calculated. This is because they value data. So anyone that isn’t interrupting but smiling or being “easy going” is amiable. Focus on seeking common ground with amiables. Ask them about their interests and family. Be patient and agreeable. Help them understand low-risk and specific guarantees to stress safety. Things like warranty, quality of installation, and ongoing maintenance “done right” sit right with amiables. Don’t lead with options or “probables.”
The HVAC business is tough, especially when it comes to being an HVAC sales representative, HVAC comfort advisor, or HVAC technician. Whether selling air conditioning and heat pumps to new customers or running HVAC service calls to existing customers, every HVAC company should understand how to better communicate with customers. Be rest assured, though: As you follow up with more customers and gain more HVAC sales experience and home sales experience, you will gain the confidence you need to get better at reading people and communicating the way they prefer on sales appointments improving customer satisfaction and your closing ratio.
Pro tip: talk to your sales manager about this and see if your entire team can gather during your weekly HVAC sales meetings to discuss the four personality types you encountered that week on your HVAC sales calls.