Three Question Techniques That Will Boost Your Closing Percentage

You can organically boost your sales conversions with the right questions to the homeowner. Who doesn’t want to boost their closing percentage? A closed replacement lead is going to lower your marketing costs and boost your profits. Generating high convertingETHICAL sales is the specialty of Service Excellence Training. 

In our article today, we are going to show you how using the right questions can boost your replacement closing percentages. You will learn the three types of question skills that work to bring the best results from sales and lead opportunities in HVAC, plumbing, and electrical contracting companies:

Discovery Questions

When initially working to uncover a client’s direct needs, an HVAC technician, CSR, or manager should utilize discovery questions. 

Discovery questions should be heavily open-ended such as; 

“What kind of problems are you experiencing?”  

“Can you please give me more details?”

These open-ended questions can be clarified with shorter closed-ended questions such as; 

“How old is the system?” 

“Is the fan running now?”

Using the combination of these types of discovery questions can work to make the initial client-company interaction effective and efficient. These questions also provide the information needed to dispatch the correct team member to the client.

Guiding Questions

Along with discovery questions, guiding questions also work to clarify issues and concerns the client may have. These concerns or issues “guide” the technician, CSR, or sales professional in the right direction. If the client has an early objection, the guiding question can expose it, and the professional can address it before it is a major issue.

Guiding questions are the glue that works to hold the sales and leads process together. They are utilized by company team members to seamlessly guide the sales call along to the next stage as well as help to inform clients.

For example, a technician that has just explained the diagnostic process he is about to perform may ask a prospective client;

“Do you have any questions before I begin the diagnostic?” 

Another example is the use of this question from a sales professional

“John, are you familiar with airflow and how it affects the systems operations?” 

These types of questions work to move the service call along, as well as check-in to see how the client feels up to the current point.

Closing Questions

When both discovery questions and guiding questions have been utilized effectively, then closing questions can work to bring success to the call overall. Closing questions do that work to close a sale.

After a client’s need has been proven and a thorough presentation has been given, then closing questions can be used to “check-in” and “close the sale.” Closing questions must be used carefully. It is best to ensure that they are used when the client has been fully prepped for a close. However, it is vital that a tech clearly asks for the close because most clients will not close the sale themselves.

Some examples of these closing questions are; 

“Which of these two packages do you think will work best for you?”  

“If I can get your request approved, could we schedule the install for Monday?” 

Closing questions should build to the next “yes.” 

Before you close, the client needs to feel comfortable, understand their options, and be prepared to make a decision. Developing strong questioning skills is an area that can help build a successful team. These skills can be easily taught by our team of Coaches at SET. 

In our post today, we explored the three important question types: discovery questions, guiding questions, and closing questions and how they affect closing rates. You are encouraged to share this with your team and practice these skills inhouse. After all, everyone benefits from an ethical increase in sales! Thank you for reading our Comanche Articles. Here at Service Excellence Training, we turn learning into earning!


Todd Liles is the Founder of Service Excellence Training and creator of the PRESS PLAY Training System.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Don’t Get Busy

As a Shark Tank TV show fan, I just finished reading Robert Herjavec’s bestseller, The Will to Win. Throughout the book, Robert tells stories of his Shark Tank experiences, his love of family, his upbringing, and struggles as an immigrant to Canada when he was eight, and of course, business management – and his perspectives were fascinating. Primarily, the importance of thinking time. Rodney Koop, my business partner, and I are all too often saying to each other, “Schedule thinking time!” So, to read it in print by Robert…well, I guess it just made me feel a bit more validated. 

Last week, I vacationed with my family in Florida, off a beautiful key called Englewood. As a first-time visitor to Englewood, Florida, I felt as if I was in a foreign country, or on a tropical island; it was beautiful. My husband and I, with our three young children, had rented a house on the beach…and as luck would have it, we sat inside through most of our time due to a tropical storm.

On one such day, my husband, Josh, went to plug in his phone for charging…I was nursing our infant son in another room, but the scream was easily heard, and unbelievably scary. Josh had received such a shock from the outlet that his arm went numb for 10 minutes!

Now…let’s consider the facts:

  • Two weeks before, some electricians had replaced the breaker box in this home.
  • The home was valued at $1.8M.
  • The homeowners lived out of state and rented this home to families…

Naturally, we contacted the management company, who quickly scheduled for the electricians to return and check the outlet. When he arrived and tested the outlet, these are the words we heard: “Well, it’s testing fine; doesn’t seem to have anything wrong with it – maybe your finger was on the prong of your phone charger when you attempted to plug it in, so that’s why you received the shock? But regardless, this outlet is really old, not grounded, and should be replaced.”

Would you believe that after that, he packed his bags and left?!  

Being Busy Robs You from Being Profitable

Was he so busy that he couldn’t see golden opportunities sitting in front of him? It’s like my friend (in my dreams) Napoleon Hill always said, “You may be three feet from gold,” but in this case, the man was much closer than three feet; his hands were on the outlet! Upon further inspection, it seems that the house could truly use a re-wire, but this service professional had a busy day. Did he call the owners to schedule a re-wire? Did he even attempt to provide a quote? No. Josh wasn’t the only one that was shocked!

But hey, who am I to say this company needed this opportunity? Heck, they could have been slammed with work, and this one may have been at the bottom of their list. But as the daughter of a contractor, born and bred in the industry, I know that’s not the case. 

Let’s revisit those three facts from before. 

  • The breaker box in this home had just been replaced. This call was not a true ‘callback’ because it was a non-related issue, but it was a return visit to an existing customer who had already shown their willingness to spend money on repairs.
  • The home was valued at $1.8M. In a prime neighborhood, the kind of neighborhood that I like to do business in. Don’t you?
  • The homeowners lived out of state and rented the home to families. I’ll betcha’ the homeowners would be willing to pay top dollar on their top-dollar home to make sure their tenants aren’t getting zapped…or worse. After all, getting sued is more expensive than going to the highest bidder for a rewire job. Also, when you live out of state, having to deal with repairs continuously is inconvenient. Don’t you think they’d prefer to see some options to get it all taken care of at once and do an outstanding job so they don’t have to worry about it? Plus, those five-star reviews sure go along ways when booking a vacation home. “The house electrocuted me” isn’t exactly the most desirable review someone could write.

I know that when opportunity calls, we often miss it because we are ‘busy’ and we simply didn’t schedule enough thinking time. I’m guilty of this, too. I just emailed three of my team members to tell them that I am canceling all Monday meetings with them; I’m calling it “No Meeting Mondays.” I am taking the time to schedule a time to think; I am meeting with myself so I’m ready when opportunity knocks.

P.S. Anyone in the Florida area interested in a lead? Give me a call, and I’ll send the owners your way!


Written by Danielle Putnam, President of The New Flat Rate and Immediate Past President of Women in HVACR

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Authentic and Caring Leadership

Earlier this year, I wrote a Comanche Marketing article titled “The Transformational Leader.” I spoke about John Maxwell’s leadership training organization and the problems its students experienced. Leaders who had undergone comprehensive leadership training were not making an impact. Maxwell’s leadership team asked, “What did we miss?” 

After much discussion and debate, they arrived at this conclusion: The training they had done was educational but not transformational. By just giving leaders training, they do not automatically make an impact and do not automatically become transformational in the lives of others.


Of leaders who make a difference, Maxwell, channeling John Quincy Adams, says, 

If your actions inspire people to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are a transformational leader. You influence people to think, speak, and act in ways that make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others.


Why aren’t you learning? Why aren’t you onboard?

Did you ever have an instructor or boss who was condescending, arrogant, and/or indifferent? What is the likelihood that you’ll learn in that class? What is the likelihood of a productive relationship with that manager?

Not likely. And it’s easy to see why.

But what about the instructor or leader who, on the surface, is sociable, interesting, and even nice? These are obligatory actions. They begin in the brain and not in their heart. The motivating force for people like this has nothing whatsoever to do with you. It’s about them and how they treat teaching and/or leading as a means to an end – namely, to put a coin in their pocket. It’s just a job.

There is, however, a type of instructor and or leader who does get results. Let’s revisit another Comanche Marketing article I wrote towards the end of last year and a real-life example of a true leader making a difference for others: Chuck Morales.

“Chuck changed my life! He instills a passion for the industry through education. And now as a teacher myself, I try to do the same!” – A former student of Chuck Morales

I interviewed a handful of Chuck’s students and every single one of them said something similar to “he made a difference in my life!” Furthermore, these technicians have advanced their profession and craft. Chuck not only made a difference in their hearts, they remembered his lessons.

Whether Chuck is teaching a class, working a trade show, or talking to an interviewer by phone, he is genuine, authentic, and inspirational. And he cares…a lot! It’s an emotion that you can feel.


Most of us have this kind of detector

People know when teachers and leaders are authentic, caring, and sincere. And they know when you act and behave one way and your words say something else. The common and not so scientific term for this is B.S. Detector. If your behavior is not conducive to their growth and development, a snowball will survive longer at the equator than they’ll pay attention and learn from you. 

As for leading, you see that snowball lasting for days while they have to live and work in the dry spot of your illusion.


Blast to your past

Think back on your own life. You remember the people who not only made a difference but what their message actually was. I had an accounting teacher who cared. It was over 45 years ago. She was super diligent when it came to business etiquette and procedures. I still remember the proper way to fold a business letter and which way to insert it into an envelope.   

And perhaps more importantly, the remnants of her intellectual earnestness are not as strong as her will, which is still in my heart and mind, to proceed with diligence, rigor, and care. 


It’s who they are

Ordinary teachers teach. Ordinary managers manage. And ordinary leaders lead. It’s what they do. Extraordinary folks like Chuck Morales, who passionately care and strive to make a difference in other’s lives, teach, manage, and coach too. The difference is that it’s not only what they do, it’s who they are!

If you are authentic, if you care, and if your actions inspire others, you too can make a difference in someone else’s life! And if you combine this with high-level business acumen, your snowball will not evaporate and you’ll not experience the same labor shortages as other contractors do. 


Dave Rothacker is an author and specializes in Idea Cultivation for Go Time Success Group.

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Core Competency

In a recent HVAC Service Roundtable Digest, a young struggling contractor, just a couple years into being in business, was asking for some sage advice on running his business. Good questions regarding finances, pay, hiring and firing practices, etc., that we all deal with every day. I applaud this young man for two reasons. First, for reaching out to the HVAC community for advice and mentoring from others. Secondly, readily admitting that his skill set is limited when it comes to running a profitable business. In his post, he mentions, “I’m not sure of the whole financial aspect of this or any business. I was just a tech that wanted a business.” He knows his core competency as a technician and admits he needs help on the business aspects of running successfully. That’s the first step in recovery for a struggling business, admitting that you have a problem, knowing your core competency, and seeking help in the aspects of your business that you are struggling with.

I can empathize with him as I had these same struggles and questions when I first started my IAQ training and sales business in 1990. To help me with the “business” side of my business, I was fortunate enough to have had a business partner that I could trust with handling the day-to-day business operations while I focused on the technology, training, and sales. We tend to handle these situations based on our experience and core competencies. How can we in the contractor service industries use the concept of core competency to help sustain and grow our businesses?

In 1990, C. K. Pralard and Gary Hamel wrote an article titled “The Core Competence of the Corporation”. In this article, they illustrated that core competencies lead to the development of core products, which can further be used to build many other products for end-users. Core competencies are developed through the process of continuous improvements over time, rather than happening in a single large change. This article addressed how to succeed in an emerging global market, and how it is more important to build core competencies before vertically integrating other markets. (Stick with me here.)  

Pralard and Hamel introduced the concept of core competency as a management theory. It can be defined as “a harmonized combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace” and therefore are the foundation of companies’ competitiveness.   

Honda is a perfect example. Their core competency is making engines, and they have applied it very successfully to several markets. These include Honda and Acura brand automobiles, Honda power sports products, including motorcycles, scooters, all-terrain vehicles, and Honda power equipment products, including lawnmowers, tillers, string trimmers, generators, small-displacement general-purpose engines, and marine outboard engines.

I realize that contractors are not manufacturers, nor are they looking into global markets since most stick with their local market. Some are regional or even national, yet this concept of core competency applies to us as well. We can still take the strategies in Pralard and Hamel’s management theory and apply it to our businesses.  

First, know your skills and limitations. 

As our young contractor acknowledged, he knows the technical side but is struggling to make money on the business side. His core competency is technical and is much needed in our industry. Yet, we are running businesses and that takes another skill set. Not that he can’t learn the business side, but he may go out of business doing so since there is always a sense of urgency in running it day to day, knowing your numbers, and making corrections along the way in real-time. Seek advice, counseling, outsourcing, or partner with a trustworthy mentor on the business side. Research best practice groups in your industry that can be very helpful here as well if you implement what they teach. Easier said than done, yet critical to a business’s success.  

Second, once you get the business basics down(or handled), you may look at expanding into other related vertical markets, which is another core competency. Meaning if you are an expert HVAC technician, it does not make you a good plumber or an electrician. And in most cases, there are licensing requirements to abide by, so you will be forced to seek out and partner with someone whose core competency is in the vertical market that you want to tackle next. The same business skills will apply to these industries, and each vertical market has its own set of key performance indicators to measure and hold people accountable. Seek advice here as well.

Finally, each vertical market has subsets within them that have core competencies. Indoor air quality, water treatment, specialized lighting, whole house generators, and more can all be very profitable specialties that require research, knowledge, and specialized training. 

This training should involve the technical aspects of the products, as well as how and when to communicate this information in layman’s terms during a call. Seek out manufacturers to partner with, offer the technical support, and more importantly, the communication skills and training for your team. We realize that most technicians don’t like to “sell” and it isn’t their core competency, but they have the perfect opportunity to get homeowners happily involved in accessory products that have many benefits they look for. Partner with a manufacturer of these accessory products that can train your technicians on how to communicate these benefits during a normal conversation, on every service and maintenance call.                

The bottom line is, know your core competency, focus at being great at it, and outsource or hire out everything else. As owners, we are all leaders in our business, and to be an effective leader, it takes determination and focus.

“The moment a leader steps away from his core competencies, his effectiveness as a leader diminishes.” – Andy Stanley   

So, lead with your strengths, and learn to manage others on your weaknesses.


Steve Mores is the Vice President of Training and Sales at Dynamic Air Quality Solutions

Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!