Dealing with Price Objections when Quoting Service

If you are like many contractors, you put a lot of thought into your pricing. When you are quoting a price, you are not just pulling a number out of the air. You probably based your price on your costs, the time you put in, and the profit you expect.

However, as fair and as justified as your prices seem to you, you continue to encounter price objections nearly every time you quote a job. Dealing effectively with price objections is a necessary business skill and one to develop for your bottom line.

Leave room to adjust, but don’t.

When quoting a price, you usually leave yourself some wiggle room, so the sale does not stall and fall apart because of the number at the bottom of the quote. However, just because there is wiggle room does not mean you should play that card first. The wiggle room is a security blanket. Do not be dependent on it.

If you find yourself discounting most of the deals you close, you may need to revisit your pricing or selling tactics. Be confident and know, in easily expressible and easily understandable terms, why people should buy from you.

Price is probably not the main concern.

To find out if it is, ask. It could be the only hold up, but many times price is only one of several concerns.

Your prospect probably has other concerns if he is balking on price. If you can identify and adequately deal with the other concerns your prospect has, the price issue will become less significant, will play less into your prospects decision-making process, and might even go away entirely.

Price matters most when you’re not getting what you want.

Any price you quote that is not for the work your prospect wants done is going to be too much. That does not mean you should not include add-on and valued-add additions in your quotes. You just have to be prepared to justify their presence and show how they will create a lasting and long-term benefit for what they are trying to accomplish.

Quote prices based on what your prospect wants accomplished – no more, no less.

Discover why they buy.

Unfortunately, not everyone buys for reasonable reasons. People buy emotionally. Nevertheless, you can also appeal to reason by asking good questions throughout the process. This will let you know what benefits of your service you should highlight.

Discounts come off your bottom line.

Remember, if you discount your price, that is money you do not get to keep. Sometimes it is better to walk away from a deal than to discount it so much that you are just creating work for yourself that does not pay.

How do you deal with price objections? Let’s talk about it on our Facebook Page.

Technicians Don’t Have to Write Anymore – They Can Speak into Their Mobile Phones

One of the most frustrating things that causes mistakes and loss of profits is trying to read field personnel’s service tickets. Now there is a voice option – technicians can speak their findings and have them recorded on service tickets…in the field using smart phones and mobile applications. Find out about this latest revolution in technology during a live broadcast on March 9, 2011.’s Channel Manager, Ruth King, will talk with Dean Schreiner, President of dESCO, creators of the mobile application. See this latest technology live. Learn what the progressive contractors currently using this technology are saying. Call in or chat in your questions for Dean.

To allow the hosts to answer everyone’s questions, each session is limited to 50 people. There will be four sessions, 8 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM, and 11 AM eastern time. To reserve your seat in the live program of your choice, call 877-520-4321 or email If you miss the live sessions, they will be available from the library after the last live program.

Click here to register for the live broadcast.

“The apps increase the efficiency and accuracy of technicians in the field by offering them all the information they need for the task at hand,” said dESCO President, Dean Schreiner. “The apps help service companies convey a new level of professionalism,” said Schreiner. “It takes advantage of today’s technology, by allowing the technicians to process payments in the field and immediately email receipts, while offering the ability to quote further recommendations on the job site. The apps reduce the dependency of obtaining information from the dispatcher by phone or radio”

The app, ESC Mobile, is a simple and affordable way to outfit service technicians with real-time dispatch information and time tracking in the field. ESC Mobile is available for download from the iTunes app store, from the Android Marketplace, or from the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

For more information, call Jonathan Frei at dESCO at 800-226-7529 or Ruth King at 877-520-4321.

Conference Videos Released as ACCA Indoor Air Expo Ends

The 2011 ACCA Indoor Air Expo is in its final day today. Below are a few videos from the conference.

The Indoor Air Expo is the ACCA Conference where HVAC professionals gather each year to learn about their industry and how to run their businesses better, collaborate with peers, and share their successes from the past year.

This year’s theme, “Take a Stand,” is all about taking a stand for your business to get the best results possible as well as to take a stand for the entire HVAC industry.

This first video is a highlight reel from the show in San Antonio, Texas.

Next up are Chairman John Sedine’s opening remarks at the beginning of the conference.

This third video is ACCA President and CEO, Paul Stalknecht welcoming the attendees to the conference and letting them know what it is all about.

The conference featured more than 30 specialized learning labs and general session that featured some of the top names in the HVAC industry.

From the ACCA Conference website:

The ACCA Conference is the leading educational event designed specifically for (and by!) the best HVACR contractors in America. Sponsored by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, the conference has grown rapidly over the last few years as contractors have learned that there’s only one place each year to meet, and learn from, truly outstanding HVACR professionals from all over the nation.

The ACCA Conference is held in conjunction with the Indoor Air Expo, the industry-wide tradeshow for HVACR, indoor air quality, refrigeration, and radiant panel professionals. In 2011 the industry-wide Indoor Air Expo is co-sponsored by ACCA, the Indoor Air Quality Association, and the Radiant Professionals Alliance. These organizations will be holding their annual meetings at the same time as the ACCA Conference, turning San Antonio into the largest gathering of indoor environmental pros in the country in 2011.

Using Flexible Schedule to Provide Longer Service Hours without Increasing Overhead

Nine to five scheduling can be very limiting for your customers and your business.

Chances are your customers are also working nine to five, meaning they will have to take time off to wait for your technician to their house. When factoring the time they have to take off work, it can mean they are paying twice as much for your services. If your company were available for longer hours, that would mean you are able to give your customers the best possible service when it suits them.

However, to provide these extended service hours without hiring several new technicians or paying lots of overtime, flexible scheduling might be the best alternative. By giving your technicians flexible schedules, you can extend your service hours without increasing your overhead.

It is difficult to discover what the best policies and procedures your company will need to make this work, but it is definitely something important to consider for your service company. It will take more time to create a good flexible schedule, and there may be some trial and error, but if it lets you provide better service to your customers (more sales) and a better work environment for your technicians (better retention), it is a win-win.

Flexible scheduling is about using the resources of people and time in the best possible way to create a positive work environment for your technicians and an effective way to service your customers.

For example, rather than having all your technicians working nine to five, five days a week, you could have two technicians share a truck. One could work 10 hours a day, four days a week, the other could work 13 hours a day for 3 days a week. This can extend your service hours and reduce overtime. A method like this is great for employees that want to do other things during weekdays, and do not mind fewer but longer workdays. However, it is important to figure out what works best for your company and your staff.

Having your technicians work flexible hours can benefit your service company in several ways:

With a well-planned flexible schedule program, it is possible to make it so you have the right amount of technicians available to match the amount of work. That will mean less technician downtime during the week, and less expensive overtime in the evenings and on weekends.

Flexible scheduling and longer service hours will also give your company an advantage over your nine to five competitors. Your company will be ready to help new customers while your competitors are closed.

You may also discover an increase in productivity. Employees go above and beyond for companies that consider their needs. They may also be more motivated and engaged with the flexible time.

Another benefit to flexible scheduling for your technicians is that they will probably take less paid time off. The flexible schedule lets your employees work around family needs and personal errands. The flexible time can also mean less absenteeism, less use of sick leave, and less days in late.

What are your thoughts on using flexible schedules for your techs and installation staff? Let’s talk about it on Facebook.

Quoting for Your Customers and Your Bottom Line

When running a service company, quoting work proposals to your customers is a daily job. Creating quotes can be time consuming, and there is the constant temptation to quote low to win the customers’ business. The conventional wisdom supports this logic, saying that if you offer lower quotes, you will make more sales. The thought is that since customers are very price conscious these days, you will have to be cheap if you want to compete.

However, submitting lowball quotes has many drawbacks. Quoting the bare minimum leaves you with nowhere to go if the customer raises any sort of price objection. It also leaves money on the table for the customers you encounter who are willing to pay more to get high quality work and to have it all done in one visit. With each initial quote your customer accepts, there is the feeling in the pit of your stomach that you may have quoted too low. Finally, quoting low means you are probably only offering your customers solutions to their immediate problems. You are able to offer them so much more, but not if you will not provide a quote that offers a more comprehensive solution.

Instead of quoting the minimum amount, quote the price that will solve all your customer’s problems. Quote for the primary work that the customer needs as well as additional repairs that will save him money over time. That is a good business practice, both for your company (you make a bigger sale) and for your customer (he is happier with your work).

Ideally, the customer will accept your recommendations, making for a bigger sale, but if he declines the extras, you still have a basis for doing business. This is where technicians that are good at performing the work as well as communicating the long-term benefit of their work are so valuable.

Your customers want options. If you quote the absolute minimum, the only options you give is “yes” or “no.” Rather than a basic dichotomy, by quoting more than the bare minimum you give your customers a menu of choices from which to select. Options also provide a point of negotiation your technicians can work with beyond a simple “yes” or “no.”

So, when working with quotes for your customers remember to:

  1. Quote above the minimum require to solve your customer’s problem
  2. Give your customer a menu of options to choose from
  3. Use the extras as negotiation tools

To take advantage of quoting above the minimum, and frequently adjusting quotes to maximize your relationships with your customers, it is helpful for your technicians in the field to have the mobile tools they need to quickly create, edit, and email quotes to your customers.

Selling Service Software to Your Boss

Many HVAC, Plumbing, and other service companies that have been in existence for years and have never used software to manage their dispatches, quotes, invoices, or service agreements. However, in this fast-moving business environment, even traditionally low-tech industries can no longer afford not to use technology in their businesses.

Change is difficult, and keeping the fear of change from influencing your boss’ decision about introducing new technology into their business is difficult but necessary.

Some owners of HVAC, Plumbing, and other service companies are gung-ho about using new technology to advance their business, but others are more technologically averse and need more coaxing and convincing. If you have determined that your company would greatly benefit from service software, but your boss is hesitant about introducing new technologies, here are a few tips to pitch your idea to your boss.

When you know what technology your company needs to move to the next level, you need to get your boss not only accept your point of view, but act on it. To sell your idea to your boss, you have to communicate how your software choice will help your company accomplish what it has set out to do.

For instance, if one of your company’s goals is “same day service,” a dispatching tool that lets your dispatchers schedule your technicians efficiently is necessary. Alternatively, if you company loses money because of lost or illegible invoices, mobile computing tools might be the answer.

To get your boss to listen to your idea for software, you must select the key points and deliver them in a convincing way. Here are some quick ideas for presenting your idea to your boss:

  1. Make a one-page handout for your boss that makes the case for the software you want.
  2. Set an appointment to discuss the document.
  3. Go through the document point by point to persuade your boss of why your company will benefit from your idea.
  4. If you cannot get a commitment from your boss right away, schedule a time to follow-up and get a final decision.
  5. If you believe that your idea is the right one, do not give up after an initial “no,” but instead, focus on communicating the bottom line implications of not going forward and keeping the status quo.

The most important part of selling service software to your boss is that it meets his needs. Your software idea has to solve your boss’ problems, not yours. Your boss cares less about how it will make your life easier and more about how it will contribute to the bottom line.

To sell your boss on your software idea, you have to demonstrate how it will help him reach his business goals.

HVAC Hiring Outlooks Looks Rosy

According to an infographic by, which drew upon data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, and other sources, HVAC Technicians may be one of the bright spots for job growth in 2011.

HVAC Technician Projected Job Growth believes HVAC Technicians will be one of the hot jobs of 2011

The report projects that employers will have 86,600 openings for HVAC Technicians in the coming years, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for young people with strong mechanical skills and a few years of training to get started in the field. HVAC companies in need of new technicians may find it difficult to recruit top talent, with the greater demand for experienced technicians.

Hot Jobs for 2011 predicts which jobs will be hot in 2011

Will your company be hiring new service technicians in 2011? What factors are determining your answer? Let’s talk about it over on the ESC Facebook Page.

Live Broadcast: 5 Easy Ways to Grow your Maintenance Agreements

If you are just getting started with maintenance agreements and want to make sure you get off on the right foot…

If you are stuck – selling and renewing about the same number of agreements each year…

If you want to exponentially grow your maintenance agreement base to have less seasonality, more replacement sales, and a more stable business….

Then join our live, exclusive program tomorrow, Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 11 AM Eastern time.

You’ll learn:

  • The one simple thing that will exponentially grow your sales
  • How to run a contest so that everyone wins
  • Why commercial agreements are a critical component of your plan

Call in or chat in questions for Ruth King, the presenter who has helped thousands of contractors increase their maintenance agreement bases.

Here’s how to participate:

On Wednesday, February, 2, 2011 at 11 AM Eastern time:
Go to the Program Schedule
Fill out the form and use the password, esc (all lower case letters)

If you miss the live session or want to watch it again:
Go to the Library
Click the link for 5 Easy Ways to Grow your Maintenance Agreements
Fill out the form and use the password, esc (all lower case letters)

In addition to the free broadcast, you’ll also get the opportunity to participate in the 2011 Grow your Maintenance Agreement Challenge at reduced rates as an ESC user.

I hope you can make it tomorrow!