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5 Marketing Lessons Learned from Trying to Buy an HVAC System

The Back Story

I’m a new home owner. I bought a house with a rudimentary electric baseboard heating system. I can see you sympathy wincing as you think how expensive my electricity bill was this winter. I knew installing a “real” heating system would be my top priority, what I didn’t expect was how terrible HVAC companies are. I did the right first step, I joined Angie’s List and took down names for the highest scoring HVAC companies with the best reviews. I called and made appointments. Everything was going smoothly, I had three companies lined up to give me estimates and then came the appointments.

Company one – email the night before saying “Sorry, can’t make the appointment, something came up, can we schedule for later in the day? ” I respond. Never heard from him again.

Company two – I had to call the morning of the appointment and ask why they were a no-show, apologies given/accepted, appointment was rescheduled, he and his partner showed up the following week, gave me a ballpark estimate off the top of their head for a hot water heating system and said they’d have “their other guy” that specializes in forced air systems contact me to give me a separate quote for AC. Never heard from them again.

Company three – I had high hopes for this company because they had the most professional front end office of anyone I called. Day of the appointment I receive a call from the office telling me the person they were sending got into a car accident and they would need to reschedule. Acceptable excuse, appointment rescheduled. He shows up for the appointment, says he’ll send a quote in a couple days. Two weeks later I receive a quote. It’s a four sentence email with the equipment and a price, no idea what’s included in the price. I follow-up with a series of questions. Never heard from him again.

Why am I sharing this with you?

  1. I’m hoping one of you has an HVAC company you can recommend to me.
  2. My experience is full of marketing and sales lessons.

Hmmm, maybe I should have put 2 before 1, anyway….

Five Lessons learned:

  1. We are all busy – don’t let your busyness interfere with your prospects schedule. It leaves a bad first impression.
  2. Your scope of work is the most important thing you’re presenting to your prospect. It’s hard to determine the worth of a quote if you have little to no idea what it includes.
  3. If you know you don’t have the capacity to make appointments on time or follow-up with needed information then it’s better to tell a prospect that your firm is too busy to take on new work.
  4. If you have a seller/doer model you need to train your seller/doers on how to make sales calls and appropriate and timely follow-up.
  5. There is a HUGE opportunity for differentiation in this market; maybe there is in yours, too. Imagine your HVAC quote showed you where each piece of equipment would be located in your home: that would be a great (and simple to create) closing tool.


Valerie Puchades, CPSM served as SMPS Boston Chapter President for the 2018/2019 program year and is Director of Marketing at GUND Partnership.

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