With smart buildings, the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data and biotech all moving the HVAC industry towards new horizons, it’s reassuring to know that many of the best sales and marketing messages remain unchanged by the passage of time. However, as the sector copes with the aftermath of lockdown and the inevitability of a global recession, HVAC sales engineers will be focused on giving their customers the best possible value, both in terms of capital investment and ongoing maintenance.
Most HVAC manufacturers will tell you that their products sell themselves on features rather than cost. However, when it comes to reducing the running costs of a building and minimising breakdowns or down time, customers will be keen to hear more, particularly at a time when economic growth is supressed. Cost has always been a key factor in negotiating a sale and in the present trading environment, this will be intrinsically linked to reliability and value for money.
Maintenance and service
This leads us nicely into the topic of maintenance. In a market where money is tight and competition for the larger projects fierce, a well-known brand with a robust maintenance and warranty package is likely to hold extra sway with super cautious contractors and consultants. There will always be some manufacturers who will reduce their prices to win market share but many already know the benefits of differentiating on the quality of their product warranty. Major capital investment is required for large building projects and those involved in appointing suppliers will be looking for reputable manufacturers and products which will last for years with parts and service readily available. Read more about this in our article about how to succeed in commercial HVAC sales.
A better environment
HVAC has always been about improving the environment we live and work in. Interestingly, as consumer awareness of clean air and healthy buildings has grown, so too has the importance of this tried and trusted sales message. HVAC sales managers and specification engineers generally see themselves as problem solvers, whether they are making recommendations for the refurbishment of an existing building or designing a whole system for a new build project. Improvement in reliability, functionality and environment will all be important discussions during the sales and design process.
Consultants and contractors are looking for energy efficiency and quality. Manufacturers will need to be able to demonstrate compliance with the latest British Standards and a deep understanding of how design impacts on performance of their products and the building in which they sit. This is why HVAC sales is very different to any other sales role. Sales engineers really need to understand how their products work and how they are applied.
HVAC systems require significant investment and most consultants and contractors are acutely aware of the speed of change in the sector, both in terms of technology and regulations. Successful selling requires a deep understanding of how products and systems can adapt to this change without requiring a completely new system in just a few years’ time.