Revealed: The top qualities UK employers look for in an HVAC sales engineer

Revealed: The top qualities UK employers look for in an HVAC sales engineer

21 Feb 09:00 by Jason Thornhill


The role of an HVAC sales engineer is a highly specialised and technical position, which is increasingly in demand in the industry as more and more companies recognise the value of people who possess a combination of great sales ability, excellent technical skills and unrivalled product knowledge. 

So, what attributes does the perfect candidate need for the role? We take a look at the top qualities that UK employers look for in an HVAC sales engineer.

Great at sales and negotiation

This is a sales role, after all, so superlative skills in selling and negotiation are a must. The ability to close a sale successfully is the last stage in a skilled process of estimating, bidding, proposals and negotiations which lead to the best solution and price not just for the client but also for the sales engineer’s own organisation.

Part of being great at sales and negotiation, and hitting those all-important deadlines and targets, is an ability to keep cool under pressure. Sales is a classic judge-on-results role, and the work environment can be high-pressured, intense and competitive.

One of the things that raises a sales person above the rest is a focus on quality and detail. Clients are much more likely to work with an organisation and return to them if they’ve provided a high-quality solution to their needs. Finding out the details of their requirements beforehand will impress them, and enable a suitable solution to be offered. Providing high quality after-sales support is also an important facet of a great sales proposition.

Clued-up on technical stuff

Superlative technical knowledge and the ability to perform intricate calculations is what sets apart an HVAC sales engineer from an ordinary sales person, adding extra value that convinces a customer of a product’s suitability for their needs. Technical expertise and excellent problem-solving skills are vital in demonstrating to a client that their technical specifications and requirements have been listened to, understood and fulfilled, and that appropriate equipment and systems have been selected for them.

Most HVAC sales engineers have built up their detailed knowledge and understanding of HVAC systems and processes by studying for a relevant HND or degree, before working in the field for a number of years. They enjoy the technical and analytical aspects of their job, and keep up to date with legislation, standards and specifications. Showing understanding and expertise of both the industry and the products helps to gain the trust and confidence of clients.

Other technical elements involved in the role could be carrying out heating and cooling load calculations, measuring piping, making technical presentations to clients, liaising with technical colleagues such as in R&D and helping design custom-made products, and working with a project’s contractors to find cost-effective solutions to technical requirements.

A natural at relationships and communication

At the heart of the sales process is the customer, and a really great HVAC sales engineer recognises the importance of building, nurturing and maintaining relationships with their clients. Their needs should be managed in a way that keeps them happy and encourages them to return again and again for their HVAC requirements.

Linked to this, and equally vital to the role, are strong communication skills. An HVAC sales engineer should be comfortable talking to a range of people with varying levels of expertise and focus. But it’s not just about talking to people: it’s important to listen as well. Customers need to know that their requirements have been fully understood and interpreted. They want to be offered suitable solutions and designs which give great quality, price and delivery.

But it’s not just clients that an HVAC sales engineer needs to communicate effectively with. They also need to be great at nurturing and maintaining relationships with various stakeholders and contractors on a project. Providing relevant answers to various individuals all with differing requirements is much more skilled – and vastly more effective - than giving a standard answer to everyone.

And within their own organisation, HVAC sales engineers will be often be working as part of a team, so they need to be able to communicate with colleagues at all levels of their own and other departments.

Strong business nous

Good business sense and sound judgement are more top qualities that any great HVAC sales engineer possesses. Keeping an eye on cost, profit margins and targets is hugely important in making sure a sale satisfies all parties involved. Ensuring a product or system remains competitive while meeting sales targets is vital, as is making sure that costs are accurate and that figures have been analysed and interpreted correctly.

Understanding the market

Understanding the market and evaluating its potential is also an important quality for an HVAC sales engineer.

To really be successful in the role requires not just sales results but also the ability to spot new market opportunities and pursue activity that proves successful in breaking into them.

Self-sufficient but great in a team

The role of an HVAC sales engineer requires work to be carried out both independently and as part of a team alongside colleagues from your own and other departments. Self-reliance, confidence and great communication are all key to fulfilling this aspect of the role successfully.

Flexible and open-minded

Flexibility with varying work times and long or irregular hours, embracing industry changes, adapting to client needs, going on training courses: there are lots of activities which require an HVAC sales engineer to be flexible and open-minded.

The role also requires a willingness to travel regularly in the UK, such as from the office to construction sites, other companies, trade shows, networking events and conferences, as well as potential travel abroad.

Keen on career development

Embracing career development and being open to attending training courses is looked at favourably by HVAC employers. It means a person sees the benefits of enhancing their expertise not just to help their career prospects but also to enable them to better assist their clients and, ultimately, work more effectively for their company.

Further study in technical or business-related subjects is also often encouraged, as well as membership of relevant professional bodies.

Other attributes

HVAC sales is a highly competitive market, and anyone making a successful career in this area will also need to possess some key attributes such as being competitive, highly motivated, resilient, driven, enthusiastic and confident. Excellent time management and organisational skills are vital to juggling all the balls involved in the role.

Having integrity and a real passion for products and their benefits will help build trust and confidence with customers. And, because much of the role is client-facing, it goes without saying that being well-presented and professional will help form a favourable first impression with customers.

If you have what it takes to be a leading HVAC sales engineer we'd like to hear from you. Browse our hvac sales engineer jobs or call us on 0115 8714777 to discuss our latest opportunities.