Paint The Picture Part 2: Getting Inside Your Clients’ Heads And Understanding Them Better

Paint The Picture Part 2: Getting Inside Your Clients’ Heads And Understanding Them Better

Effective sales pitching is more about knowing the client rather than just being an expert on product specifications. In this closing episode of a two-part series, Sam Wakefield shifts to the sellers’ point of view – how they can paint the picture for themselves by getting inside their clients’ heads and seeing things from their perspective. Using some examples in HVAC sales, Sam shows how you can dig deeper into why people aren’t buying your product and how you can reverse the situation. He teaches you the art of asking questions and listening between the lines to get to the bottom of what is holding your client from taking positive action. Listen and learn more about using customer psychology to pitch sales more successfully.

This is your drive time university. Are you out there crushing it? I hope you are. I know I am. That is what’s going on. I’m back and forth between projects. Let’s do this, guys and ladies. The year 2020 has started bizarre, but I tell you, go back and read one of the episodes that I did in late 2019. I was predicting the future of 2020 is a record year for you. There are lots of things that are pointing to this being a record year and I’m excited about it. It’s going to be a record year because the overall equipment sales have been down by 30% in North America. I don’t know how it was in the rest of the world. I haven’t taken the time to do that investigation, but the global climate for 2019 was milder. It was a milder year temperature-wise, both cooling and heating which led to a downturn in equipment sales.

Painting The Picture For Yourself

What does that mean for us? That means that there’s so much pent up replacement in the world that we are going to cash in this year. It’s going to be around here a record hot year. That means we’re going to be able to crush it. Let’s set some records. Let’s work less and sell more with higher ticket prices and a close rate. How do we do that? One is what we’re going to talk about. We have to paint the picture for ourselves. What does that mean? If you read the last episode, we talked about painting the picture for the homeowner and being able to give them a vision of what it’s going to be like after you’ve completed the project. Once they’ve done the project, what are they going to experience? What are they going to feel? What’s it going to be like?

We have to forecast that vision a little bit. We are leading them through a visualization exercise. In order to be closers, to close the deal, to be stone-cold closers, and to be top performers, you have to be way more than someone who learns all of the manufacturer spec sheets. You have to be way more than somebody who knows all the details of your product or service. We’ve got many people reading this blog who are electricians, plumbers, sell cars, or even sell home security systems. Welcome, all of you, and whatever else you do, let me know. I would love to connect with all of you. This show is originally dedicated to the HVAC project manager, comfort consultant sales professional. The philosophy is the same.

Paint The Picture: We need to paint the picture for ourselves and get to know what is keeping the client from making the purchase.

What I’m finding are people from all different trades and industries. If you deal with people, if you deal with a person and you are responsible for presenting a compelling offer and someone writing you a check and buying your product or service, the philosophy is the same. That means we have to be more than just an order taker. We have to do more and be more. Become a person worth buying from. We have to become psychologists. We cannot present the logic of why they should go with us. We have to be more than just someone who knows all the details, all the manufacturer specs, and all of the different things about your product and service. Your products and services don’t write your checks. Knowing all the things about somebody’s house, the house is not the one that writes you a check.

People will write you a check and people are complicated. There’s a lot to learn about people. It’s all of the psychology behind why people buy and why people don’t buy. We have to paint a picture of ourselves and we’re fact-finders. We find out all of these pieces of information and we have to build a narrative in our own mind of what’s going on. What’s the big picture? We have to read between the lines. We have to figure out what is going on in their life and in their mind. One, why are you there? Two, what’s keeping them from saying yes right away? What is holding them back? What are the triggers that are keeping them from making a buying purchase or from doing the deal? That’s what we talk about when we mean to paint the picture.

Painting the picture for yourself. A great example is, let’s say you get an appointment, you go to a house and the system is working. Maybe it’s working and not super well. We’ve all had these appointments where they’re like, “We’re shopping around. We’re getting an idea. It’s working but we know that it’s an older system. We had it maintained and the technician said, ‘Maybe it’s time to start thinking about getting it changed. I’m not in a rush, but I want to get an idea.’” We’ve all had those, especially in the shoulder months in the spring and the fall when it’s like, “There’s no urgency here. How do we create urgency?” A big part of creating urgency is to find out why they called you because if the service tech was out or even if they weren’t, even worse is when there’s been no service tech there. They’re out of the blue, picked up the phone, got up one morning, and said, “I’m going to call a bunch of companies and get a bunch of bids for air conditioners.” People don’t do that. There’s got to be a reason. There has to be a driver behind what is causing them to take that action.

That’s what I call asking the obvious question. You’ve got to start asking obvious questions in the house. People are tired of salespeople dancing around a topic. Don’t ask seven questions that are deflecting questions that are alluding to something. Ask the question you wanted to ask to start with. Any time I’m in this situation, I always ask them, “I see that your system is working fine, why now? What has caused you to pick up the phone and call us? Why did you schedule this appointment?” If they dive into, “We were thinking about it and it’s getting older.” Press it a little bit, and say, “I get that. You could have done this at any time across the last several months, the next several months, but why now? There had to have been something that sparks you into making the call. Would you mind sharing that with me?”

Most of the time you’re going to hear something like, “It was giving us problems the other day.” You’re like, “Really?” Now, you have questions you can ask, “Tell me more about that. What was going on?” A lot of times they’re like, “This whole neighborhood was built at the same time. I noticed that 2 or 3 of our neighbors have had their air conditioners changed. I was asking them about that. We would much rather do it before ours goes out than have to live several days hot in the house.” At any time, I’m talking about air conditioning, because that’s typically my market here in Austin, Texas. If you’re more in the heating market, change the wording to the furnace. Don’t think that this philosophy doesn’t apply to you because you’re in an area that’s mostly cold and you sell heat furnaces and heat pumps. It’s the same thing, but you’re asking them, you’re like, “Why?”

Asking The Right Questions

We’re starting to recognize if that’s the case. If they’ve noticed several of their neighbors have had to change their air conditioners and they want to get ahead of the curve on it, you’re like, “I understand that and I applaud you for taking action before it’s required. In that way, you can be prepared.” You have something to stand on and the urgency is they’re starting to become in urgency when at first it didn’t seem like there was urgency. This is how we’re starting to paint a picture for ourselves. We do it through questions. For another example, let’s skip that example as we move to the next example, and let’s talk about the homeowner. The only information that we’ve been able to get out of the homeowner is yes, their system is down. No cooling or heating at all. The systems are broken. We get there and the only information we get from them is we find out he’s the gentleman who’s like an accountant, then we start to ask more questions.

If you don’t ask what somebody does, start doing that. Do it in passing. Don’t ask directly as part of your question process, but in the process, while you’re walking around the house, I always ask, “What’s your background? What do you do? What is your profession?” Here’s where we start diving into psychology. What that’s going to tell you is how they think about things. We don’t care what they think about it. We want to know how they think about things. If they are like this guy who was an accountant, it means they’re numbers-driven. You can use the terms ROI and return on Investment. You can start to use money terms. They’re going to be a lot more conscious. They’re also going to be a lot more detail-oriented. This is not the appointment where you can grab your notepad and scribble general round numbers. They want to see numbers to the penny. They want to see the exact numbers. They want to know how much. You can’t be like, “It would be about $500 to add this accessory to your system.” They want to know, “It’s going to be $473.12 to add it to the project.” You have to learn to communicate in the way people think and how they think about things.

If somebody is in the medical field with lots of clients, for example, I’ll take a doctor. They start to use terms that relate to them. When you’re describing the heating and air system, the unit outside the compressor instantly becomes the heart. The refrigerant lines instantly become the blood vessels. You think like it’s pumping the refrigerator back and forth. The Freon is the blood of the system. It’s pumping back and forth and then you start using descriptors. Your ductwork is like the arteries getting the airflow into the house. Use those terms. Don’t be scared to use analogies that relate to how people think. If somebody is a computer programmer, all of a sudden, when you’re explaining the system or you’re explaining different things, you’re like, “You’re going to love the system because they’ve designed the perfect algorithm to keep humidity control and to keep the temperatures right on and to be used the most efficient. You’re going to love the way they’ve programmed the system. You’re going to love the ease of programming and the interface for this thermostat.” Use those terminologies.

Paint The Picture: Don’t be afraid to use analogies that relate to how your client thinks.

This is painting the picture for ourselves. We have to take a huge step back. Many times the problem is, when we’re in the house we would get bogged down in, what’s the first level problem? Maybe it’s the system broken or there’s a room in the corner of the bedroom that’s too hot or too cold. You get bogged down in the first level of thinking. We forget to take a step back and then ask them, “Why is this a problem? Is this a concern? Is this an observation for you? How big of a concern is it? Tell me more about that. What do you experience because of this?” Once we understand what the driver is or why something is a problem, not just the fact that there’s a problem, but why it’s a problem for that person. We’ve taken the step back to paint the picture big enough to see this as a profession. This personality type, somebody who’s a bottom-line person, they wants to get right to the point.

Somebody wants to meander through the conversation and learn all the details along the way. Talk in terms of how that person is, what is their personality type. Start to study psychology there and when you do that, we can then start to be able to communicate in a way that they understand, in a way they relate to, and in a way that they’re going to reciprocate the conversation. They come back with the right questions because you’ve led them down the path in a way that they appreciate, in the timing that they appreciate. It’s a fun conversation. This is that mental chess match. This is what makes what we do so much fun. We’ve got to keep the fun in this. If you’re not having any fun, find something else to do. You’ve got to have fun with what you’re doing. We’ve got to have fun in the house. That’s painting the picture for ourselves.

Here’s a good example of painting a picture for ourselves of why are they not buying. I said this with two different people. They were positive on the project. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say they’re about a 7 or 8. Both of these circled around money. I had to paint the picture for myself, take a big step back, what is going on here? They were all excited about the project, ready to get the deal done until right at the last minute and it was like, “We’re going to have to talk to my partner. We’ve got to think about this. What are some of the other options for payment?” You start taking a step back and observing. You are like, “These people are repeat clients of ours. I know a little bit about what they do, a little bit about their income level, and all the details. I would start asking questions.”

I would say, “It’s got to be something around the money that’s holding them back.” I’m going down my mental checklist. Is it because something changed because of what’s going on in the world with COVID-19? Did something happen to their situation?” You go through all these things, thinking about what the situation is. You then start to ask the right questions. The right questions turned into, “You can pay by cash or check, will you take a credit card or we have financing? What works best for you?” In both situations came back with, “We could pay for it for the total project, but we don’t want to outlay that much liquid capital at one time. What other options are there?” I went back with our financing, which is an option for a low monthly payment. If there’s some interest attached to it, but it stretches it out for a long time, they get a real low payment.

In both situations, they said, “That’s not going to work for us. We don’t want any type of interest. What other options do you have? Do you have anything that is interest-free?” I reached back and said, “Yes, I do. I’m glad you asked because we have six months, same as cash. Would that work for you?” In both cases, they were excited, “That’s perfect. I have six months to pay it out or its interest fee, I will absolutely do that. Let’s do it, I’m on board.” I never would have come to that conclusion had I taken the first response of, “I’m going to talk to my partner.” “I may have to talk to my wife.” If I had taken that as the blanket response, it wouldn’t have happened. You have to take a step back and think about what’s going on. In both cases, they were excited about the project. It seemed like they were ready to get the project done, but when it came time to pay for it, all of a sudden there was hesitation.

That’s when I took a step back and said, “It’s got to be something surrounding the money. What is it? Is it that they don’t have the money? Is it they can get the money, but not right now? What is going on?” That’s where questions come in. You have to ask the follow-up questions. Keep asking questions until you find out what the real reason is that’s keeping someone from buying. Asking the questions, “We’ve got this. Would financing work for you? Would a credit card work for you? If I could offer you a little bit of extra discount paying by cash, would that work for you?” It was great. You have to keep asking the right questions. Like Tony Robbins says, “Ask better questions, get better answers.” It’s a fantastic way to get to the conclusion, get to the bottom of what’s going on. That’s our topic for now. You’ve got to paint yourself your own picture.

In the last episode, we talked about painting a picture for the homeowner or for the client, but you’ve got to paint a picture for yourself too. You’ve got to take that step back and read between the lines. You say, “Here’s where the resistance is. Here’s the hesitation point. What is causing this? If I ask this question, is it going to clarify why they’re hesitant here?” Sometimes the question needs to be, “What is holding you back? What one thing is holding you back from doing this project?” I asked that with somebody. I said, “We all of a sudden have to replace our roof this year. We’re going to push the systems off until next year, but that’ll be our next big project.” I was like, “I get it. No problem. Your timing is your timing.” We’re not here to convince someone to do something that is not in their best interest. We’re here to help them overcome their objections of things that are keeping them from doing the projects as long as it is in their best interest.

Never oversell something, and never sell someone something they don’t need or want, but we can show through education that it will be a benefit to the client, homeowner or whoever you’re dealing with. We’ve got to figure out what is keeping them and ask the obvious question. Sometimes it is the right question of, “You seemed excited about this project. What’s keeping you from pulling the trigger?” Ask the straight-ahead questions more often than you ask the weird obscure questions. Don’t listen to sales training from the past that says, “You have to dance around the subject and around the topic and not ask a direct question.” Ask direct questions. People want that.

This is the society we live in. No one has time for the Patty Cake Dance that sells people, especially in heating and air. They used to dance around. That’s silly. There’s no reason an appointment should be more than 45 minutes to 1 hour. That’s doing everything right, that’s for normal appointments. Depending on your industry and what you do may vary or your market complexity of houses, that thing. The days of the 2, 3-hour appointments, are long gone. You better embrace technology. Many times, appointments nowadays are part in the house and part virtual. I do a ton of that. I’ve got a whole training that I’m putting together.

Paint The Picture: Don’t dance around the topic. Ask direct questions.

It’s a new method of doing in-home sales to be able to use videos, all different stuff, and to use virtual appointments. It’s more efficient this way. It saves time and people appreciate it. They buy more and buy better products from you by using technology. Putting that together, that’s going to be awesome. That’s the topic for this episode. Paint the picture for yourself. Ask the right questions, take a step back, and look at the big picture, “What is truly going on here that’s keeping them from pulling the trigger with you?” If you haven’t gone to and find our Facebook page. You can go and do that. Also, I want to tell you about there is what’s called Next Level Coaching.

It’s the high-performance coaching part of the website, which connects you directly to me. If you are ready to put your sales career into hyperdrive and start winning the trips to the tropics, winning the big bonuses at your company at your organization, if you’re ready to start getting more comma checks every week, every month, then reach out to me. We can get you on that path to work less and sell more so you can have a blast in what you’re doing, but also crush it in your marketplace. My idea of competition is their doors are closed because you’ve taken so much work. You put them out of business. That my friend is closing it now. That’s dominating the market.

There’s no reason you can’t dominate your market. It doesn’t matter what size company you are, what size organization. You’ll be the only person in your company or you could be 1 of 400 service technicians or 85 comfort consultants. It doesn’t matter. Any size in between, there is room to grow and there’s plenty of market share for all of us. Especially, as you start to learn the skills needed to dominate your market. Reach out to me. Go to, and send me an email at I would love to talk to you about that and see if you’re a fit for that program. Also, let me know what your biggest takeaways from this show are.

I love to hear from everyone. Let me know what part of the world you’re in. Let me know if there’s something you want me to cover in the show. In that way, we can get your questions answered, because if you have a question that means somebody else does too. Thank you for reading. I look forward to the next episode. It’s going to be a good one. We’re going to be talking about integrity. Integrity is something important, but more importantly, and this was going to be a fun twist, how the homeowner does, and doesn’t have integrity and how to play that chess match. That is going to be a fun topic that I’m covering in the next episode. Everyone, go out there, and make 2020 amazing. Make it awesome. You go and crush it in your marketplace. Save the world one heatstroke and one frostbite at a time. I’ll talk to you soon.

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