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Why engineers should consider a career in HVAC sales

Why engineers should consider a career in HVAC sales

almost 9 years ago Empty Jenni Moulson

Design Two

Updated March 2023

Are you an HVAC engineer with a good personality and the knack of putting others at ease? Do you enjoy working as part of a team, explaining technical information and solving problems?

If so, then it might be worth considering a career in HVAC sales.

Working in HVAC sales can be very rewarding, both in financial terms and for job satisfaction.

It’s a varied role, which requires you to be good at multi-tasking. You’ll also need to be adept at presenting, demonstrating and promoting your product not just to individuals but also to groups and at trade shows or seminars.

Above all, you’ll need to be able to identify your potential customer’s needs by asking informed questions, then use your knowledge to offer a solution that’s better than that of your competitors. This is where your technical acumen and understanding of the systems you’re selling will be invaluable. Indeed, a survey carried out by Thornhvac of air conditioning sales engineers found that 80% of them felt strong technical knowledge was vital to their role. Our research indicated this is the same in other HVAC fields such as ventilation and heating. In fact, in some careers such as specification sales, technical knowledge and industry contacts can be invaluable. 

If all this sounds like it could be the right career move for you but you still have reservations, ask yourself what it is that’s holding you back.

I don’t want my income to rely on commission

One of the main issues for engineers considering a career in sales is the worry of moving from a regular salaried job to one that includes targets and commission as part of the package. Whilst this will be a change from most technical HVAC roles, it can offer the potential for greater earning potential. It’s also worth looking at the variety of offers out there as many sales roles with large HVAC manufacturers still pay a good basic salary

I can’t see myself as a salesperson

If the thought of becoming a ‘pushy’ salesperson is putting you off, you’ll find that the HVAC industry is much more about prolonged and detailed negotiation than it is about grabbing a quick deal. Unlike many other sales roles, HVAC sales engineers are technical specialists whose expertise and product knowledge is highly sought after in the industry. You’ll be answering queries from personnel at all levels of the business and you’ll be expected to play a proactive role in helping them find the right heating, ventilation or air conditioning solution.

I don’t want to lose my practical skills

If you’re worried you might lose your engineering skills, fear not: engineering sales could actually provide you with a more diverse knowledge of technologies, as well as giving you the opportunity to deal in different environments. You may even be required to modify products to give your customer the solution they require.

HVAC sales – have you got what it takes? 

In the Thornhvac survey, the top ten attributes that those working in the industry felt were most important for sales success were:

  1. Technical knowledge

  2. Understanding of the construction process

  3. Relationship building

  4. Integrity

  5. Appreciation of the importance of Return on Investment

  6. An awareness of market trends

  7. Thorough knowledge of industry specifications and requirements

  8. Excellent communication skills

  9. A clear willingness to offer great service

  10. Tenacity and an ability to bounce back!

So what’s stopping you?

Thornhvac is a leading HVAC recruitment company serving the UK’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning markets. Contact us on 0115 8714 777 or email

Follow us on Twitter @Thornhvac