It’s hard to believe November is just around the corner. Not because the year has seemingly flown by or anything, but because Southeastern Michigan was still experiencing 80° F muggy days in mid-October. It’s been crazy!

As the weather finally begins to cool and homeowners begin turning on their boilers and furnaces, the inevitable no heating calls will begin to roll in, presenting PHVAC contractors with a unique sales opportunity. Especially since the Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a particularly cold winter for the 2021-2022 season, dubbing it the “season of shivers.”

Additionally, a sharp increase in heating bills is expected this winter as prices for natural gas, oil and other fuels are on the rise. The U.S. government said it expects homes to see heating bills jump as much as 54%, according to The Associated Press. Natural gas customers — about half of U.S. households — could pay as much as $746 this winter, which is 30% more than a year ago, AP reports. Electricity — the second-most used heating source for homes — would see an increase of about 6% to $1,268. Lastly, homes using heating oil (about 4% of the U.S.) could see a 43% increase, up to $1,734.

These combined factors make it a great time to upsell your customers to high-efficiency heating equipment. Chris Crew, president of The Blue Collar Success Group, notes that it’s all about the language and presentation.

“Let me start by replacing the word ‘sell’ with ‘serve,’” he says. “While we all know that the word sell is not a bad thing, it’s about the perception that goes with it. Serving customers at the highest level is a process, no selling is needed when you take this approach.”

During the discovery process with the client, Crew explains it is important to have a discussion regarding efficiency. That way, the salesperson understands what the customer’s true desire is when presenting replacement options. He cautions to stay away from technical speak.

“Remember this phrase: ‘Too techy, no checky,’” he says. “Before presenting options, a selling tech or advisor should lead with presenting your highest SEER best option. The language used to present this is very important in the sales process. Your salesperson should share with the client using wording such as: ‘Before discussing options on the system that we designed for you, I do want to share with you our very best system just so you know what is available.’ There should now be a transition statement into presenting options.

“For a plumbing example, this will vary based on whether you are talking about water treatment, water heating or any other major repairs,” Crew adds. “‘Before we discuss the options that you and I have built today, I feel like I would be doing you a disservice by not showing you our very best option.’ The technician or salesperson should then make a transition statement to presenting options. The importance is the ability to sell higher tickets, therefore serving the customer by showing them what is available and educating them in a way they will understand. All three people involved in the transaction win by doing this — technician/salesperson, customer and company.”

How does your team handle upselling? Do you have a set script in place for your salespeople or comfort technicians to follow? The weather is just starting to turn, so now is a great time to review and update your process and include the latest information. If you need help in this area, check out our friends at The Blue Collar Success Group by visiting