Are you getting your point across? The words you use to describe your services must bring complicated concepts down to earth for consumers.

Are you having a hard time just justifying a radiant system's basics, let alone selling a more advanced design?

Let's face it; we're in the business of selling. If we do not sell products, we don't make much money. The products we offer serve a great purpose -- they improve our clients' comfort within their homes and businesses. If we don't offer these products, the client won't buy them. Their comfort is compromised and your pockets are empty.

The difficult part is getting the client to see past the point that they are going to spend more money. Everyone has a budget, usually far less than is required to do things properly. We have to establish a system design that addresses our clients' comfort and budget in a realistic fashion.

To do that, we must be able to convey our knowledge to our clients in a manner that allows them to see the wisdom and experience behind our words. We have to sell products through their eyes, not ours. So what type of words are you using to do this?

More Than Words

Let's say you're fluent in the language of the heating professional, rattling off formulas, theory and installation techniques at your whim. Dazzling your clients with this cumbersome information, however, will only leave the homeowners even more confused than before, still pondering the delta T value of their living rooms and the mean radiant temperature loss of the window in the kitchen. It will also leave you with no sale.

The words you need to use must translate textbook definitions into a language that can be readily understood by Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner. Simplifying this information with comparisons any consumer could comprehend is another skill that we, as salesman, must perfect.

One of my favorite analogies we use helps our clients see the benefits of constant circulation of reset water temperatures in our hydronic systems. By comparing this to our bodies' own circulation system, the client can grasp the information and really understand why I am trying to sell them a $1,000 microprocessor. Here are some sentences we incorporate into direct marketing literature:

    "The heating system is the heart of our home and, like our hearts, its operation determines how we exist. Can you imagine the repercussions if our heart operated like most heating systems? What do you suppose would happen if blood flow was only established as each section of our bodies needed nourishment instead of providing a constant flow of essentials throughout our entire body as it does now?"

    "By allowing the boiler to circulate water through the radiators at a constant rate, we can eliminate the ups and downs we feel as our heating system cycles on and off trying to catch up to the heat loss. If we allow the system to keep up with this loss, the peaks and valleys will be erased and your homes' cold will be cured."

By creating this basic image of a function that can easily be related to, the confusion is erased, and the aura of mystery is replaced with a client that is satisfied with his or her newfound knowledge.

I use the same imagery while I review other aspects of the system, often using the body system as a role model. I recall a high school biology teacher referring to the human body as the "ultimate machine."

Consumers can easily relate to this comparison. It helps make the unfamiliar familiar. The likeness between our bodies and a typical comfort system design is uncanny. The brains of the system would be a system manager, boiler microprocessor, controls or advanced thermostat. This device receives input from the nerve centers (remote probes, sensors, thermostats) to change the operational status of the system. Like our brains, the system manager oversees the system operation as a whole.

Our kidneys and livers are replaced by the indoor air quality components of our heating and cooling systems. Electronic air cleaners, media filters and ventilation systems all serve the same purpose as these vital organs of our bodies, to clean and remove impurities. Our bodies have a very elaborate zone control system that keeps us comfortable. Our blood vessels dilate and constrict to vary the blood flow to areas requiring changes. The residential systems we install serve the same purpose.

These organs are vital to our existence and without them, we would cease to exist. Also note, these components work as a finely tuned instrument, working in unison for a common goal. Why are we leaving these "organs" out of our offerings to our clients?

My biology analogy isn't the only way to convey information to customers. You might have your own ideas. But if we develop the skills to allow our clients to envision our theories and formulas through their own eyes, the selling process will take on a different face and become an enjoyable task rather than a duel to the death over the lowest price.