Women In HVAC And Selling With Care
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 salesperson 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 had the good fortune of helping 5 salespeople find the same satisfaction and success that she has had in HVAC sales.
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 I’m super excited about our guest today, we have a woman who 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 report 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 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 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 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 men one of my biggest philosophies is at you know for too many years and too many training in our industry taught people to dance around subjects yeah to just like and replace the obvious things with you know 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 and unfortunately you probably know as well as I do that 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 they haven’t gone with somebody else chances are they haven’t done anything right and understanding that were you know the value of a pipeline and we could we circle back and stay in re we’re building relationships yes if this is truly a career if I don’t make the cell right today it doesn’t in my career it’s not a one shot in your done while we always wanted Close It Now obviously but understanding that soft value and then of course the other divergent road is like the raw you know you tell me know in his perfectly fine and I’m down the road and that closes the door for that and it’s all let’s let’s hurry up and make the cell and get it installed before they can change their mind and just really feel like that’s the philosophy of a scarcity mindset.
L: Yeah yeah if there’s nothing better than we’ve given a client a quote and six months eight months later or sometimes even a year later they’ll call us up hey you guys were out we didn’t do anything we’re waiting until it broke down or where you know but we’d like to take a look at that quote again and come back to us and it’s been ’cause we spent the time and built the value you know or you know like you said we’re not going to do this right now or we need to think about it it’s not a no it’s not known until it’s a no and whenever we call back for a follow up it’s it’s usually hey what else can we get for you what other information can we help you with or hey just wanted you to know that I got a price increase coming up I just want to make sure that you were aware of that or try to give them some sort of information in addition to what else can we do to help help you make your decision you know we want to earn your business you know constantly doing that so.
S: I love that Oh my gosh yeah so when you’re following up so if I’m hearing you right every single time would follow up haven’t some sort of either offer new promotion or information about something that’s coming up for the price increase etc new piece of information for that homeowner.
L: Right it just helps open the door I’m not just calling to beg for your business it’s a I’m kind I’m concerned and I want to make sure that you get a good quality installation or if you’re getting other bids is there something I can question I can answer with there’s compared to ours because people you know the industry average says that people only change their heating and cooling system 1 1/2 times in their lifetime and it’s it’s the third largest expenditure normally for most people besides a house or a car or college education I mean it’s a big deal and it’s just it can be so confusing for our client.
S: Absolutely Oh my gosh I totally agree this is this is such a fun conversation because you know and you know I think that the people that like the other method of just closing the door and moving on are lazy salespeople if you’re not willing to up follow up missing out on literally hundreds of thousands potentially millions of dollars in revenue every single year yeah and no one’s in my head my pipeline build I would have people from you know 3-4 years ago that phone rings are like oh thank God you still work there so happy to hear your voice they decided when you were out before because of your Rockstar presentation they’re not shopping now they’re just really you know.
L: Yeah yeah I ended up I left here a couple of years ago in 2016 husband had a job out of state and I moved with him so I left did something completely well worked a little bit in the HVAC industry in that location and then again coincidences things brought us back here and after a two year absence I’m back and it was funny that when some of my older clients found out that I was back those referrals started coming back in all I told him to specifically call you ’cause you were back or so back and it was just great to connect with those older clients that I had seen for that those first ten years I was here and add to know how much they appreciated the service that they got it just I I thrive on that’s the best part of the job.
S: So for the listeners out there that are in the industry, of course, where is here where are you located, and then we can so everybody is listing fantastic Company just awesome at least as such just awesome person to work with if you’re looking for a new home hiring right now like right this second but if Lisa is anything like I’ve always been I find a place for when I come across awesome people but at least make the connection go meet her so tell us a little bit more about the company and where you’re located.
L: So I’m located in southern Illinois we’re based out of a little town called carterville Illinois we cover a 50 mile radius around us we’re we’re about 45 minutes north of Paducah, Ky so that kind of gives you a little bit of a logistics where we’re at company’s name is RSP heating and cooling been in business since 2004 when I started there was just about eight of us were up to about 50 employees now so we’ve we’ve we’ve grown at times we’ve grown really fast and then at other times it’s been a nice steady growth where it’s warm and maintainable as they say yeah but it’s I can’t speak enough about the owners and how wonderful they have been to work for when you look into I guess or when you find a place like this to work you just and you see what else is out there you just know how fortunate you are we’ve got really good benefits we’ve got great people to work with we got a great team and got great training and you know so I I could sit here and talk all day about how great it is but we are always looking for resumes for people because you never know you’re going to have an opening so yeah absolutely just like I was never intending to leave then we did for two years but I came back so yeah.
S: Absolutely I love it so if you’re anywhere in that area so free free plug for RSP and for Lisa I know everybody listens to this podcast yes focus on getting better and becoming someone worth buying from for that person we know how that is important personal growth is in all of our journeys to become that person so so there’s your plug if you’re anywhere in that area once move to that area go talk to Lisa because yeah so definitely a much better talent pool listening to this podcast then you’ll find on the street.
L: So well that’s the yeah I’m always up for that even if it’s just a you want to call and just talk about sales techniques I’m always I love to learn new stuff because I don’t think even if you’re in it for 10/11/12 years there’s there’s not something new out there that you can learn.
S: Absolutely Oh my gosh I learn something new every day that’s how to become that successful person is have a lifelong learner mindset. And the second that we choose that and decide to never get to a place where we can’t learn something, you know learn something from every way even if you’re a beginner focus on even if it’s learning what not to be from somebody. That’s still a lesson right?
L: You can learn from my mistakes I’ve made a lot of them.
S: 100% normally I was like OK how do I know erase my head I’ve made the mistake right so what’s on your what’s on your reading list right now what are you what are you doing for that?
L: Actually I’m I’m reading a book that was written by a family friend oh shoot I can’t remember the name of is his name is Jeff Fletcher pH I totally put you on the spot so yeah I know he was on nuclear submarines in the Navy and he’s written a book about leadership series of interviews with fellow submariners vice Admirals you know everything from just an engine room I say just engine room you know an engineer all the way up to an Admiral and it’s just talking about the leadership that they’ve encountered within the submarine core because it’s a very different type of leadership so I’m finding that really interesting I’m a big fan of John Maxwell so I’ve read leadership from below.
S: Leadership from below that’s it yeah leadership from of paradoxes of submarine leadership.
L: There you go I said he’s a family friend so I had to support him by his book on Amazon but I am finding it very interesting to refund so.
S: Yeah yeah I love it cool I I just dawned on me that if I do my interviews I I’m going to start asking that questions everybody ’cause I mean people in our industry or just anybody that I mean it I won’t always be interviewing just HVAC specific people but you know just people that are everyone who’s focused on becoming a better person becoming growing and to make a bigger impact in the world you know and so that’s always personal growth question personally right now I’m actually listening to green lights the Matthew McConaughey book which Oh my gosh the amount of wisdom in this book is blow every single day I hear something and I’m constantly making notes as well in my mind so and if you listen to the audio book he narrates it himself so just listening to his voice tell stories is really cool because he’s a great that one recommend it yeah OK alright yeah green lights by Matthew McConaughey yeah it’s it’s one of the most inspiring books that I’ve read or listened to and probably five years easily so yeah also good yeah alright yeah everyone’s reading list or constantly getting questions hey what’s you know what’s your recommendations.
L: So so if you haven’t something audio two in between I don’t know how long or how much distance you have to drive but that’s when I get caught up on all my podcasts.
S: Yeah drivetime university yeah that’s I love it I love it well thank you so much for hanging out today this is just been a great conversation supporting women in the women in the industry it’s not the biggest demographic but it’s it’s an important one and we really feel we need to grow that demographic because you know every industry that I touch that as far as different trades different home improvement every time I come across a you know just always support women in the industry it’s a tough place to be there’s unfortunately there’s still a lot of you know a lot of male-dominated ego and chauvinistic type of areas in our country and just in our industry is that shouldn’t be there and it is a challenge sometimes but thankfully that that ship is turning as well I think so yeah I’m just 100% supportive of women so great place to be man it’s us it’s it’s only getting better from here.
L: It’s wide open and so we keep talking about the tradesman shortage and you know not just in HVAC sales but you know HVAC technicians for women to get into it yeah this is this is a field that’s always going to be around was going to need heating and cooling and it can be very lucrative for you male or female so it’s a great trade to think about.
S: Yeah absolutely I mean where else can you step out of you know get paid to learn an within a couple of years makes 6 figures but I mean not have to pay for school right I mean yeah that I mean I’ve always been a proponent of like yes you could go to trade school awesome if that’s what you want to go for it otherwise join my team I’ll put you on a crew you’re going to be helping first you’re gonna start off like the rest of us I was an attic rat years ago pulling ductwork yeah yeah and but as soon as you learn it you could quickly promote to anything that you want because there isn’t a route one of the lessons from the math McConaughey but a roof is a man made thing a roof is a man made thing that’s the limit the ceiling the cap is only in our mind and the second we understand that we could literally choose to blow right past it through becoming better learning growing doing so this industry is one of those that there’s no limit you can literally do anything you want to do with it.
L: Yeah I agree 100%
S: Yeah good stuff so awesome well thanks so thanks so much anybody that does want to reach out to what’s the best way to get in contact lissa they just want to have coffee or you know that cell you offered for that sales conversation or whatever.
L: Sure I mean I can I can give out my office phone number at 618-942-2424 and then you could just ask for Lisa Ann and tell him what you’re calling about and my men or I can take the call and if not leave a message and I will call you back.
S: I love it thanks for thanks for that offer that’s great you know we always love sharing knowledge on here that’s the important part so well we’ve got I’m sure you have plenty of things to do this season is really starting to crank up this year we have two solid years of pent up replacement that didn’t happen Two years ago 2019 we had was third the industry was 30% down from across the board across the country some companies some companies had record years at the same time the whole industry was also down yeah but so two years of pinup replacement this is a year to just go dominate the market right
L: It’s crazy it is crazy right now how to reset so I love it.
S: So awesome well everybody out there thanks for listening today Lisa thanks for being a guest with me is going to pleasure and I’ll notify you as soon as you get your copy of when make sure you know when this episode goes up it’s it’s in production is going to be roughly four to six weeks out right now we have several others ahead for everybody listening I am also excited I’ve got a guess that it to two different people coming up and is a roofing guy that was a roofing company that I actually just had dinner with last night he is just a sales Rockstar he’s he’s a killer he’s been out I just closed in deals left and right and he’s brings a lot of wisdom so I’m excited to have a guy named Erin Washburn on and then also we’ve got a guy in from Denver and Peter Roth that is coming up his company home guardian is a heating air company in Denver he’s shaking things up and this may be a little interesting freely say his model is not the value first process his model is he has an entire price book right on their website wild so price first build value through the process Stop is he’s 11 for 11 in a row right now so he’s on fire and we’re going to talk about how that’s happening you know there’s some as we know the industry is a slow boat to turn but there’s rumblings right now in the industry of e-commerce for heating and air so I’m going to we’re going to have a cool conversation of how he’s doing it you know what is the overcoming by you know he’s missing some people off in the area with this price book align so we’re gonna talk about that and what he’s saying that ’cause he was he came from a completely different industry bought his company little over a year ago and said you know what I’m just going to do things like nobody’s done to get results nobody is getting so cool conversation about how that’s going for him so alright everybody that’s what’s coming up in the future and otherwise thanks for being with me today Lisa go join the Facebook group everybody this is a great place to pop in and have conversation leases in there all of our guests basically are in the Facebook group typically and yeah we were going to be constantly doing facebook lives all kind of stuff and yeah good times alright everybody it’s summertime go save the world one heat stroke at a time will will talk to again soon.