Stop me if any of this represents a shocking revelation.
1. People are not overjoyed to spend money on HVAC systems or repairs
2. Oftentimes, consumers focus on price because they don’t value this purchase
3. Most people don’t know who to call or trust for HVAC related purchases
These three facts can make life as an HVAC contractor difficult, especially if your business does not stand out from dozens of others in your trade area. “We have great people,” you say. Get in line, everyone else says that as well, whether it is true or not. When is the last time you heard a contractor say, “Our people are iffy?” Most likely, never. This article is not about marketing channels. You know you need to market your business through your website, through social media, through your service department, through targeted media etc. This article is more about the message. If you were to ask 100 consumers to name an HVAC contractor and state in one sentence what they stand for, I’ll bet less than 5% can do so. Consumers are not tuned in to messages from our industry, so you need to find, for lack of a better word, a “hook” for your message.
Like many people, I have the TV on in the background as I am getting ready for work in the morning. I normally have it programmed for the CBS morning news in order to try and keep up with what’s going on in the world. There are two HVAC contractors who regularly advertise on this program. The only reason I even pay attention to this is because I work in the industry. One of the contractors makes it very clear that their business is all about good service. The theme of the commercial, the visual images and their tagline all emphasize the same thing – that they deliver great service. In all honesty, I cannot tell you what the other contractor stands for. I see pictures of their warehouse with rows of furnaces and air conditioners stacked high, but that’s really the only take away I have from this commercial. Perhaps their message is that they can respond to your needs very quickly because of their inventory, or perhaps that’s an image trying to reinforce some other message. The point is, I don’t really know. I catch these ads like other typical consumers, in bits and pieces, and I do not stop to watch more intently when they come on. If that is the quick take away from someone who is in the business, imagine the impact on the typical consumer who is not really interested in spending money on our products in the first place.
The point here is to consciously think about whether or not your business stands out from all the other choices available to consumers. What is your vision, your passion for your business? How can you clearly and succinctly communicate that through the various channels your message travels in? Solicit ideas from people in your company, your service techs, your installers, your office staff. Look at other consumer related businesses for ideas, it is not necessary that you reinvent the wheel here. Once you have defined that hook, make sure everyone in your business is aware of it – and delivers on it. Every single time.