January 23, 2015

Tech week


Jose De La Portilla, Senior Technical Training Consultant of HVAC Learning Solutions, talks about the opportunities available in HVAC industry, and shares his own story of coming into the industry; the advantages of determination, hard work, and continually improving your skills.

Visit www.hvacls.com/blog to read more HVAC tips by Jose and Mike Moore!

January 20, 2015

Must-have iPad apps for Comfort Advisors

must have ipad apps

One question I get asked frequently on Twitter is what iPad apps I recommend for Comfort Advisors when they’re on a service call. I spoke with some sales professionals for their recommendations and found that there are many good apps available. So I’ve compiled a list of 10 apps for Comfort Advisors for every in-the-field need.

  • DaveNet — It’s like having a Lennox support team in the palm of your hand. The app includes a document library, OEM repair parts, quick and easy ordering, commercial quick quote, warranty coverage lookup, and much more.
  • Lennox Comfort CenterThe Comfort Center is a pocket product reference guide for every feature and customer benefit you could imagine. The app also incudes video demos, 3D product image rotation, and animated charts and graphs.
  • Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi Demo AppTake all of the must-have features of the iComfort and show them off for an enhanced sales and training tool.
  • Planimeter  — Quickly measure land area and distance on a map and save time while in the field. 
  • iSaveWebNo Wi-Fi? No problem! Save your favorite websites in iSaveWeb for offline viewing in the field, the customer’s home, or even in your truck. 
  • PDF Expert 5Make customer forms a breeze with PDF Expert 5, a quick reading, annotating, and editing app for PDF forms and documents. 
  • CamScannerTurn your smartphone or tablet into an instant scanner or photocopier with just the click of an app. The app also includes features for storing, sharing, and annotating documents.
  • My Measures & DimensionsSnap a photo and add dimensions for a two-step application for visual planning.
  • SkitchTake a photo and use Skitch to add arrows, diagrams, text, and doodles for simple notes in the field. 
  • Decibel UltraMeasure from ambient sounds to noisy HVAC units for a unique selling experience or troubleshooting on the go.
January 15, 2015

Identifying a customer benefit vs. a feature

Feature or BenefitWhen it comes to selling the consumer on a new product or service, the topic of customer benefits and features will be your topline tool. Buy this model because of X! You need this product because of Y! Invest in this service because of Z! But when it comes to defining X, Y, and Z — can you distinguish between a customer benefit and a feature?

I spoke with Lennox Manager of Training Delivery, Vickie Ashmore and Lennox Senior Instructional Designer, Linda Rummans about how defining features and benefits can affect your bottom line.

“It’s important to first know the difference between a feature and a customer benefit,” Ashmore says. “A feature is a specification or technical aspect like dimensions, savings, AFUE, SEER and important information for installation. Whereas a customer benefit is something the homeowner can relate to, like quietness, warranty, or efficiency.”

Another great way to think of it, Rummans points out, is to think of a feature as something that is important to the dealer and a customer benefit as something that is important to the customer.

According to Ashmore and Rummans, there’s a fine line between a feature and a customer benefit, which makes it easy to confuse them if you can’t distinguish between the two. But when you start talking features with a customer instead of benefits, you’ll often lose your customer and bury your chance for a sale in confusing technical jargon.

So how do you combat feature versus benefit syndrome? Here are three tips for distinguishing between the two:

For more sales tips, follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hvaclearning.

January 13, 2015

Evaluate Your Brand

 

Male hand with pen writing on notebook

I’d like to work on a quick exercise today that focuses on branding.

To begin, grab a piece of paper and pen, and write down five things that describe your company. Family-owned and operated? Customer service-focused? Lennox Premier Dealer?

Now, write down five things that describe your website. Is it welcoming? How about professional?

And finally, write down five things that describe your social media channels as a whole.

Now you should have 15 phrases written down. What do you think of the 15 phrases written on your paper?

While the adjectives come from different aspects of your company, the truth is they all represent your brand and your presence within your community — both online and in person.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, execute the following three steps:

  • Repeat this exercise with your fellow managers and see what adjectives or phrases they come up with to get additional input on how your company is perceived.
  • Highlight the problem areas or areas for improvement and create an action plan for successfully updating or making positive changes to your brand.
  • Appoint task managers for execution of the action plan to ensure accountability. 

Think of monitoring your brand like swimming, you don’t just jump right into the deep end, you usually stick your toe in the water to test the temperature. Let this simple exercise serve as dipping your toe in the waters of evaluating and reflecting upon your brand and presence with your customers.

I offer daily tips on Twitter for dealers, Comfort Advisors, and technicians alike. Follow me at @HVACLearning for insight into today’s trending topics.

January 8, 2015

Inside Regional standards ratings

New year 2015

A new year means new products, new goals, and a fresh start for your company and employees. For companies in the HVAC industry, that also means new regional HVAC efficiency standards.

So what does this mean for you and your company? 
Minimum efficiency levels for split AC, heat pumps, and packaged units will vary by region, with North, Southwest, and South divisions. The minimum SEER levels are as follows:

  • North — AC 13 SEER / heat pump 14 SEER 8.2 HSPF
  • Southwest — AC 14 SEER 11.7-12.2 EER  / heat pump 14 SEER 8.2 HSPF
  • South — AC 14 SEER / heat pump 14 SEER 8.2 HSPF

How quickly does the change go into effect? 
The change takes effect Jan. 1, 2015 for all 2015-manufactured products (residential single-phase only.) For products manufactured prior to 2015, there will be an 18-month grace period from the Department of Energy for non compliant products as long as it has a manufacture date prior to Jan. 1, 2015. The final date to sell a non compliant product is June 30, 2016.

How do I begin implementing this change in my dealership? 

  • Research — Do your research to know what products are affected by the regional standards ratings change, and the repercussions for violators.
  • Education — Start by educating each and every employee on the new ratings as well as best practices for choosing a product to install.
  • Inventory — Assess your inventory and begin phasing out the non compliant products before the June 30, 2016 cut-off date.

For more information on the 2015 regional HVAC efficiency standards change, contact your Lennox Territory Manager.

 

  • Meet Mike Moore

    Mike Moore isn't just an HVAC expert;
    he also knows a thing or two about
    HVAC employee training. As one of
    HVAC Learning Solutions founders
    and Director of Training, his biggest
    goal is to help HVAC leaders and
    technicians grow their business
    and build lasting skills. This
    University of Kansas grad has
    a contagious personality, a lot
    of knowledge, and a knack for
    providing HVAC training
    and development.