You’re in sales, and you’re looking at your mid-year sales performance and disappointment is setting in. The sales may be in HVAC equipment or it may be consulting services. The process is somewhat the same. The “good news” is that you created a month-by-month sales closing budget prior to the start of the year. The bad news is that you haven’t been hitting those monthly sales goals. June is a good time to “regroup and reorganize” your sales strategy, although this assessment would have been better served at the end of the first quarter.

The alternative sales scenario is you are on track with your sales efforts, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do better. An HVAC sales engineer who is exceeding his or her monthly sales quota shouldn’t sit back and relax because the monthly quotas are being met. Instead, the successful salesperson should be reshaping his or her mid-year to end-of-year quota to increase the closing sales. I’ve been told there are some who will do just the opposite and coast to year’s end so that the expectations for the following year isn’t significantly increased by upper management. The problem with this job satisfaction is that the economy will always have its ups and downs, and a salesperson should anticipate and plan for continuous improvement to get through the bad times as well as the good times.

At first glance, if your sales budget isn’t looking so good, then mid-year is probably the last chance to implement the continuous quality control process that can help achieve a positive impact on the rest of the year. This can be done by:

  1. Collecting data;
  2. Analyzing this data;
  3. Creating solution plans;
  4. Implementing the optimum solution plan; and
  5. Monitoring and measuring the performance.

One should become more determined than before to make this course correction by following time-tested analytical analysis of the current sales process and closing strategy and assess the data collected. Here are some questions to ask:

  1. Are you in a commodity business where cost dictates whether you win or lose the sale? If so, then this challenge leaves the salesperson with but one option and that is to have the lowest price.

  2. Can you deliver the same product faster than the competition so that early delivery could enhance the chances of winning the job?

  3. Are you focusing most of your attention on reaching new customers versus focusing more effort on the needs of past/existing clients? Successful past sales usually provide the salesperson with potential repeat business based on client satisfaction.

  4. Do you see opportunities to offer a better product for less cost, equal cost, or more cost but with an attractive return on investment? This “better product” scheme may be a manufactured piece of equipment within an engineered project delivery solution that will be beneficial to the repeat client.

From analyzing sales data, method of client buying, and solution planning, a salesperson should be able to rethink how their business is performed and how to differentiate themselves to win the sale or the services being pursued. For the creative salesperson, there can often be alternative strategies, although it may take more time than the last six months of the year to position one’s self to offer a “better way.”

So, for the second half of the year, the salesperson needs to be reshaping the sales strategy to receive an increase in business while planting the seeds for next year’s sales. Going back to the data analysis is a short-term solution and may be to out of reach for HVAC contractors who buy your equipment and research their thoughts on next year’s plan that could influence their own sales. By holding out the “carrot at the end of the stick,” it’s possible that the purchase of equipment is still based on low price, but you may get a “last look” that other equipment manufacturer representatives may not get.

With a last look, this gives one the opportunity to continue to communicate with the contractor and get to better understand the contractor’s approach to business. It also helps them to strive to be more than just a commodity, winning jobs on low price.

More next month on this sales strategy and how to provide a better product at a better price rather than simply selling equipment to an HVAC contractor.