In this episode of Close It Now, Sam interviews Lisa Gentz, an amazing woman who's dominated the HVAC industry since 2008 (the year of the global financial crisis). She started her journey when her current employer, RSP Heating and Cooling, decided that a female sales person with no HVAC experience would be a good hire.
In her 11 years in the industry she has achieved at least a million or more in sales for 9 of those years. In 2019 she took over as the Sales Manager and have the good fortune of helping 5 sales people find the same satisfaction and success that she has had in HVAC sales.
Women In HVAC And Selling With Care
It's time to raise the standards in the industry! it's time to embrace our society and just take this industry to really make a dent into this century because we all know that the HVAC industry is a big old slow ship that's very slow to turn and move so everything that we can do to speed up the process to bring it current, gets us where we need to be is part of that journey.
So im super excited about our guest today, we have a woman which Is awesome. I love 3x as you know when you listen to my podcast I always love to give shoutouts to women out there in the industry as part of what we're going to talk about today is what it's like as a woman in such a mostly male dominated industry and what we can do to support that so my guest today is Lisa she and last name help me out here but look at most serious answered
Lisa: I said it’s a hard G it’s Gentz. Lisa Gentz.
S: Yep OK so Lisa Gentz she is she's been in the industry over a decade she's been $1,000,000 a year person for over a decade and she's out there doing the dude just like every single one of you all the rest of us and yeah we actually connected through drivetime university she found the podcast is joined the Facebook group and we started chatting and I just really wanted to bring her on today if you watch the video you'll see that I have the challenge accepted shared on today but if you're not watching the video right across my chest is challenging accepted an award that very intentionally so as you're listing because you know getting into the industry as a woman can sometimes be a little bit of a challenge and this is somebody that stepped up dominated the game she now leads a team of about to be five people and they're all out there doing the same million plus a year and just crushing the goals and so they're doing it too so welcome to the show Lisa I'm so glad to have you today as give us a super quick synopsis of why in the world you chose there how do you get here
L: so I had an opportunity as somebody who knew me and knew my sales background I was actually selling cars at the time and they were associated with the business I'm working with now and they knew that they were looking for sales person and she called me and said hey would this interest you and I'm never one to turn down an opportunity came in and talked to them and knew nothing about heating and cooling and the owner of the company said that's great I don't want anybody who knows anything I'll teach you all of that all I wanted somebody who feels comfortable in sales and going into peoples houses and just talking to him well shoot I can do that and and it's worked out well but yeah absolutely green to the industry but miss telling you have it have a great team and good training and it's just been it's been the best decision that I could have made I think the number one thing that prompted me to do this was that I said I was selling cars and I was one of maybe four sales people fighting for every single sale that came on that lot or could I just be the one salesperson and get an trying to make that work and it's like well I'd rather I'd rather be one salesperson than fighting with all of those other people so I'll do it I'll try it and the funniest thing is when I went home to tell my husband that I was thinking I was going to do this I said I gotta crawl into crawl spaces and attics and and look at things I I think I can do that and he just he laughed hilariously said you were going to get in a crawl space
L: but yeah I think I can do that I think I'm going to try it and I never looked back
S: I love it I love it I love it So what I'm just so curious when you're especially when you got started but I'm sure it even happens still you know when you're in the house and you tell the homeowners that you're going to go in the crawl spaces that you're going in their attic you know what's that response like is that everything they surprised they laugh they will believe you
L: yeah it's it's usually oh but you don't have to get in there the other guy didn't get in there like well here's the thing here's how we handle it and yeah I would really like to get in there I need to so that we can make sure that there's no issues the worst thing we can do is install a system and then get in there and find out that you have a problem so I'm going to inspect everything and usually it it's it kind of throws him back a little bit that I'm actually going to do this and I love it when the person the guy that was there before me didn't do it because it just I think it carries more weight you know they're not expecting it from a female there really aren't expecting the female salesperson to begin with and you always get that oh it's a a woman coming out sure is and I just think that it really because it's something different and people aren't expecting it I'd find that I have my customers have less of that defense you know that guarded defense mechanism that you get I don't want to be sold you know it's just hey I'm I'm very nonthreatening coming in and talking to you about what you need and then yeah I'm gonna curl around your attic I see it as I see it as a huge advantage being a woman in the sales for HVAC sales
S: yeah absolutely yeah that's you know you hit the nail on the head it's you know even if it's from our the way we're raised or socialization or just subconsciously something we don't intentionally do right but just and that's why like I mentioned you know everyone's heard Mrs before in the podcast I've always hired for women on my sales team when I could when somebody you know we would intentionally look for women for that very reason of if somebody was willing to learn the things they needed to learn and had the drive then I can man every single time I've turned him into you know $1,000,000 plus rock stars because they have the instant difference of repor there's an instantly and additional amount of guard that's down well and when we think about it too how many times do you got and it's hanging out with the housewife during the day during the warm it's you know it's so much it's a less threatening
L: yes yeah it you know the gone or the days when it's the husband making all of the decisions for the household it's an it's more of a joint decision anymore but still you know another thing that we thought about too is you're right we are dealing with women there during the day and you know they'll say well the other guy that came in kind of made me a little nervous that you know being alone in a house with somebody for two hours that you don't know so I do again that's another advantage woman going in and speaking to a woman
S: yeah absolutely I love it cool so let's talk a little bit about your process so it sounds like from that just the whole ideology an model of less threatening that over time you've developed basically a model of for yourself system for your company for your team that kind of follows suit on that so talk about that a little bit for us
L: so we we use a very low pressure it's more educational than anything we we have a series of questions comfort concerns we call them where we're doing a little bit more just setting up a conversation with the client finding out what they need so we spend a certain amount of time doing that that slows the sales process down too which is really good so you can really gather a lot of information whole home inspection, duct work, equipment and then the insulation and the so the attic, we crawl going to the whole home and doing a heat load that’s done on every sales call so then all of that information is used to educate the client on here's here's what your system is doing here is what we need to do we have found this hey we found a health and safety issue that we need to address so then it's a lot of that education process and then it's presentation of the equipment we like to do used to be a good better best right now now the thought process is good better best Fantastic Four options training I don't think we're reinventing the wheel here you know there's a reason why that no pressure sales boot camps are out there you know all of most ofher a lot of the sales training that I've been in to for the heating cooling industry is is exactly this layout it's because it works and if you work the process through like that and you set up a really good rapport and you educate the client or we should make the sale and I'm still amazed at how many of our competitors don't do it they just take a legal pad and write down here's what you're going to get next one gets it it's astounding to me how they still stay in business doing that
S: absolutely let's in that's why the industry average close rate is 30% and statistically 30% of people will buy from you no matter what so they're not doing any cells that are just an order taker move like OK whoever comes out first and I'll just do what they say because I just don't want to mess with it right versus we get a chance as you know going through a real process to really connect and have a build relationship with that other basically 30% that are we have the influence to have that conversation 'cause we got 30% of people not getting back on this anyway right is also that yeah so that's the that day, they might not like your hair or the color of your shirt or they just had a bad day
L: yeah they're just there's times when you just can't make a connection with the person it it just doesn't happen and and that's personalities clash who knows but but if my sales guys and myself are not hitting a 50% or better close right we're we're starting to worry a little bit
S: right right absolutely yeah so you mentioned earlier as well that you are bringing on another woman onto your sales team yeah so this is love it I'm super excited how do you find her because I know there's a lot of business owners and managers out there that would that understand this concept that women are just deadly in the house when it comes to closing deals how do you find a solid woman salesperson
L: lots and lots of resumes this last time this search is actually for a salesperson's been going on for a couple of months now I would have liked to have had had somebody hired earlier in the year so that we would be a little bit more ready to send them out during the busy period here but it just didn't work out that way but it's you know one and and again nothing against women obviously I am one but when you tell them what the job entails some of all well I didn't realize that so no I can't do that so we kind of weed them out this one she's she's been in a sales position where she was designing kitchen cabinets for client it's really the same type of sales process tell me what you need tell me what you want and then she's taking that and designing a project for them so she's got those skills I think she's going to fit in really well but it was just a lot of sifting through resumes and people and I wasn't necessarily looking for a woman in particular but her sales experience stuck out and happen to be a woman and we're really excited
S: yeah absolutely I love it yeah that's you know the less one of the places that I've found toO forever just kind of a ninja trick for everybody out there Realtors make fantastic HVAC salespeople to make fantastic consultants they had a I've had a couple across the years that came from real estate because they understand Commission based selling 'cause that's Realty they understand the grind you've got to get out there and do the work it is not the age of five job yeah absolutely you know it's whether they say in the industry it's a 40 hour a week job but that's 60 hours a week in the summer time and 20 hours a week in the offseason yeah exactly but but yeah so Realtors especially in housing markets like now statistic 80% of people that get their real estate license never sell a house so when you have that you made that person that's out driving and depending on the success rates so hey listen you can make you know in a day you'll make the same as selling a single house for Commission and it closes a whole lot faster did he get paid
L: yeah you know with a realtor you might make a sale and then it it might drag out for 30 days before your closing and before everything is said and done usually yes one day yeah yeah
S: yeah that's good stuff that's wrong with that yeah no no kidding so fast turn around I love your model that the whole model of value for basically you know generally speaking this we're talking about value first selling which is we build that stack of value and the moment that that stack of value that we've built through rappoorts through actually not just asking the questions but actually listening the listening to understand not just listening to respond and then building Co creating that project with that homeowner and becoming that trusted advisor before they ever see the price the second that exact it is higher than their stack of dollars right then it's game over right yeah
L: yeah exactly that's you know it's been very successful for us from the get go and truthfully I don't think I could sell any other way I just try to treat my clients the way that I want to be treated if if I'm having if I have a salesperson in my house you know and they're trying to sell me on something that's that's the way that I approach it how would I want to be treated and you know and that includes making sure that I'm talking to the wife as well as the husband and making sure that both of them are included in the conversation and a lot of times I get that feedback well those other guys they didn't know they didn't even talk to me about it they didn't even tell me about it because they assume that the husband's going to make that decision so right yeah that boys club mentality right yeah yeah but you're right you have to build value in your company there's there's a million of us out there within 20 mile or 10 mile radius of our shop we probably have 10, 8 to 10 competitors so it's you have to set yourself apart
S: absolutely it's easy to do but at the same time it a lot of times it's like what do we do to differentiate that you know it's like OK so we all know the canned answers uh well you know we've got these warranties and you know this our brand is the best and you know here's our reviews on paper you look like the same company over and over and over walking in the door once a couple user passes certain threshold center what's some of your you know ninja tricks basically to differentiate yourself what let's set you guys apart from I think it's how you communicate that to the homeowners the better better code
L: yeah yeah so number one is that I think the time that we spend sometimes that can work against you a little bit our sales calls are generally a minimum of two hours just in order to get all of the information that we need and and sometimes the customers are oh I didn't know you were going to be here so long but but building the value we just we try not to sell on our brand of equipment because we know that two or three other competitors are selling the same brand of equipment so we're really just selling our company we're selling what we bring to the table and we we have a ton of recent not old not a year old or or you know even six months old recent Google reviews Facebook Facebook reviews Better Business Bureau reviews we work really hard for that and that comes from our our not just our sales but our service insulation department reviews for all of those so we encourage our clients to take a look at those and we're getting more and more people calling us just because hey really we saw your Google reviews and you guys are five stars so that's I think in this day and age Social media and utilizing Google producing is a big part of it Technology in general in the project yeah I I mean you know very heavily on referral based company so we pay a referral space or for a fee to a client if they refer us then we sell our system I send them a check & it and say thank you insert a thank you card for a price check for $100 and so we do that kind of stuff but but as far as building the value in the company it's really just spending that time with the client and like you said it's it's listening it's it's deep listening you know it's it's really hearing what they're saying because sometimes they don't want to tell you where they don't know how to tell you so you spend the time with the client you just your demeanor your professionalism has to speak volumes for it for yourself and then we I I ask that question what can I tell you about my company what do you need to know to make you feel comfortable to work with us I address all of them
S: yeah that's a great question that's a dangerous question
L: yes it is but again I want to find out what they're looking for you know are they just looking for a cheap price I'm just looking for you know I just need the I need the lowest price 'cause great I've got my budget lines but you know I've got some other items too but sometimes you just have to flat out ask the question
S: of course I love it that's one of my man one of my biggest philosophes is at you know for too many years and too many trainings in our industry taught people to dance around subjects yeah to just like and replace the obvious things with you know how how many ways can we ask this obvious question indirectly when it just makes it feel squeaky and gross and you know it's like we're trying to assess the obvious question
L: yeah there's no reason that we shouldn't be trying to put something over on the client an and unfortunately you probably know as well as I do that our our industry has had a reputation for that in the past that were so we're overcoming that reputation as well as then trying to build value in our company it's a it could be a tough road to hoe
S: Oh my gosh yeah absolutely yeah there's like that diverging path that at least kind of recognizing right now in the industry there's that fork in the road and This is why there's could be a half a dozen or a dozen people training the exact same thing but you say it differently and like I said that client that you just might not connect with same thing with you know all the different trainings that are out there you know we may or may not be saying some of the same things but you resonate with somebody differently because of the way they communicate there's kind of this diverging path though of this model of you know like permission based selling which is you know one of my biggest tenants you know being just listening connecting value first no pressure because an understanding that when somebody says you know not right now yes we can force the issue but you know the people that don't say yes to us if...