The biggest challenge a contractor faces isn’t the work itself but a customer who is often concerned about cost. That customer might be interested in the idea of installing a higher-efficiency HVAC system or doing duct renovations, air upgrades, or adding indoor air quality solutions to their homes but are put off by sticker shock.
In my experience, one of the best ways to change this obstacle is to change how we, as contractors, look at our businesses and the services we provide.
I’ve found that retail businesses often overcome pricing objections by offering customers options on financing those purchases. I know many contractors provide some form of financing, but often they don’t push it.
Total Comfort today is a $17.5 million residential HVAC company located in Minneapolis, MN. We offer to finance 95% of the time and sell around 80% of our jobs using it.
Though we’ve had a retail mindset for many years, it became our focus after partnering with Home Depot® and selling through their stores. In July 2021, we sold the business to a national group called the Turnpoint Services Group (ncilink.com/Turnpoint) – who provided us with additional financing options.
Why Offer Financing?
Providing customers with a financing option is important. Our sales team talks with many customers who don’t have a dire need for new heating and cooling. In fact, customers often are just thinking about upgrading but don’t want to get serious about it for six months or a year. After all, it’s expensive.
Offering financing, especially the zero-interest kind – enables us to help them overcome that objection. Customers can have a new system installed or upgraded now and put off payments for six months or more, depending on the terms of the financing option they choose.
In other words, good financing programs help many people get over the hump of figuring out how to pay for the purchase.
Financing also works well in emergencies when the air conditioner breaks down in summer heat, and they need it replaced right now. It helps close more “up-sell” jobs as well. For example, customers may be thinking they can only afford a lower-end system, but if you give them a year or two to pay for it, they can buy a higher-end system.
Typical objections that can lead to delays and lost sales include:
- Call me back in three months. I think I might be getting a bonus. Then I can afford it.
- Call me back in April after I get my tax return.
- Let me save up for it, and I’ll pay for it next year.
You eliminate these objections when you offer to finance because they don’t have to come up with all the cash. Also, let’s face it — in the retail business, everyone is comfortable with monthly payments.
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