How To Earn More Money From Every Job (Easy Upselling Guide)

by | Mar 4, 2024 | Capturing Demand, Finding Work, Repeat Business

If you’re reading this and run your own heating & plumbing business, you’ll know just how important it is to find new customers. Whether you still work on the tools or not, having it be your responsibility to find work (rather than just picking up the day’s job sheet) is a stressful position to be in. 

At some point or another, questions start to cross your mind: 

How many new jobs have I found this month? What marketing is working and what’s just a waste of time? Why can I only find small, quick-fix jobs?

Marketing is one of the pillars of a successful trades business, and most businesses get the hang of it.

But then they stop there. 

In reality, being a good salesperson is just as important. Existing customers are much easier to book in for work, meaning very single job you do has the potential to earn you a bit more money.

Upselling, if done right, benefits both your business and its customers.

What is upselling?

In a word, upselling is the act of getting your customers to see the value in & purchase additional services or better products. 

For example, this could mean convincing a customer to replace a troublesome boiler rather than doing a temporary fix, or signing on to a direct-debit boiler cover plan with your company.

Key to the idea of upselling is identifying and targeting a genuine need. Upselling should not be pushy, and it should not involve tricking customers into thinking they need something they truthfully don’t. 

The best upsells are those that effectively explain the benefit of whatever the additional product or service might be. Taking our previous example, the engineer might explain that the boiler, while safe to use, is prone to failing (meaning extra hassle) and less cost-effective to run than a newer model (offsetting some of the cost of a new boiler). 

Why is upselling important?

At its core, upselling is about focusing on your most profitable and loyal group of customers: those you already have. Click to read more about the benefits of keeping your existing customers rather than endlessly finding new ones.

Common upsells for heating engineers:

This is not a complete list, but upsells to keep an eye out for include:

 

  •   Turning a service into a new install.
  •   Offers to add TRVs to each radiator so they can be individually controlled (saving cost and energy on rooms that don’t need to be heated).
  •   Pipe/other plumbing work that might need replacing in the near future.
  •   Signing people on to a boiler cover / maintenance plan offered by your company.
  •   Removal fees (if not already included in your pricing).
  •   “Smart” technology and home integrations like Nest.
  •   Smoke alarm testing & installations, which can even be included on Gas Safety Certificates made through our software.
  •   New radiators, if they aren’t working properly or are not sufficient for the size of the rooms. Calculating the BTU or taking pictures of cold spots with a thermal camera can help here. 
  •   A new hot water tank (unvented, if its suitable).
  •   Power flushing

Note that many of these upsells are big jobs, and we know just how busy an engineer’s schedule can get. Upsold work doesn’t have to be completed on the spot, and can also mean booking in another day for the customer.

Upselling strategies: how to seal the deal

Out of anyone working in a company, those on the tools are in the best possible position to upsell customers. This is for two main reasons: 

  • They’re knowledgeable, authoritative, and experienced (which helps customers trust them).
  • They’re able to listen to the customer and identify problems on the job.

But whether it’s you or your employees doing the upselling, not every engineer will be an upselling natural on their first try. 

To help, here are some quick tips:

#1: Use your knowledge: Help customers understand the benefits of a higher-tier or additional product/service. This makes it much easier for them to justify the expense. 

#2: Talk about the future: Explain how an upgrade today can benefit them later – in terms of quality of life or cost-saving.

#3: Time it right: This is mostly down to common sense and social skills – but don’t ask about an upgrade after a customer has just complained about the cost of living crisis. 

#4: Note things down: Upsells don’t always have to happen on the spot. Noting this down on job sheets and records can mean the next engineer (or even you) who does a job knows about a potential opportunity. 

#5: Be genuinely helpful: Customers are good at spotting an effortless sales pitch. Your goal is to be helpful and offer a way of improving their home – the sales will follow.

Understanding Your Customer

At the end of the day, upselling is all about understanding your customer and their needs. You should be constantly listening and looking out for extra jobs the customer might need or want, gauging their interest in them.

At the same time, it’s important to be neither pushy nor adamant about the work (cases where a gas appliance is unsafe are a different matter, of course). 

It’s also good to be strategic with the way you mention possible extra work to your clients. Some people don’t like being sold to when it feels like a money grab. Instead, always try to be positive, helpful, and informative.

You can try lines like these:

 

“I just noticed that the pipes leading to and from your radiators are starting to show some wear and tear. They’ll be okay for the time being, but if you’d like I can replace them to save you some hassle from leaks in the future?”.

“I’ve just done a BTU calculation and some of the rooms in your house are quite big for the number/size of radiators in them. Have you been struggling to get your rooms at a comfortable temperature in winter?”

“I’ve just taken a closer look at your boiler and, while I can service it and ensure it’s safe to use for the next year at least, I would recommend replacing it either now or in the near future. There are plenty of new boilers on the market which are much more efficient – and therefore less expensive – to run. Let me know if you’re interested in exploring this option and I’d be happy to offer more details”.

How we can help you upsell your customers

For successful heating & plumbing businesses, upselling is simply part of a day’s work. As long as you have helpful intentions, extra work will start flowing in. 

But it can seem like an impossible task for engineers that barely have enough time to finish the job before rushing onto the next customer, and the next, then getting home to a mountain of paperwork.

Gas Engineer Software offers a way for you to streamline workflows in your business so you have time to focus on the parts of your business that count.

Using our software, engineers can complete all their paperwork on the spot – including near-instant quotes with template line items so customers aren’t left hanging.

Start a free trial today – you get full access to the software with no credit card required.

Next steps:

If you’ve been thinking about implementing software into your workflow to save time, here’s what you can do next:

 

Sign up for a free trial here and get 50% off your first 3 months. Offer Ends 30/06/2024

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