How do I get Started in HVAC Sales?

Carol Francois

HVAC sales is a lucrative field and is typically divided into two customer groups: residential and commercial. The term HVAC is used to describe the large equipment in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) product category. This field has experienced huge changes in the past 20 years and is forecast to experience above average growth over the next decade, partially due to the impact of global climate change.

A vent cover leading to an HVAC system.
A vent cover leading to an HVAC system.

Most people get started in residential HVAC sales through an entry-level sales position for an HVAC installation firm. These firms focus on selling the equipment and providing the installation services. Customers for residential products are either homeowners or home builders. The unit size and price varies, depending on the user requirements. For example, many firms sell small, window-sized air conditioning units, knowing that the customer will return for a full HVAC unit in the future.

Exterior wall vent leading to an HVAC system.
Exterior wall vent leading to an HVAC system.

In the commercial sector, most HVAC sales staff has received some technical training, either as an HVAC mechanic or repair technician. This level of education is required to properly size the HVAC system, recommend products, and understand the user’s needs and issues. For example, determining the appropriate size HVAC system for a combination warehouse and office with a freezer section requires advanced understanding of the mechanics behind such a system.

Computer skills are very important in HVAC sales. At a bare minimum, all candidates must have at least an intermediate level of skill with office productivity products. Tracking contacts, sales activity, and forecasts is critical in this role. In addition, anyone working in commercial HVAC sales needs to be able to create quotations, submit written proposals, and review client specifications and vendor product offerings.

During the job interview process, take the time to prepare for the interview. Think of a list of standard interview questions and prepare your answers in advance. Have a mock interview with a friend or family member before the interview. Practice listening carefully to the question and phrasing a response that is accurate and direct. HVAC units are not inexpensive, and customers appreciate a direct approach and communication style for this type of purchase.

The HVAC community is rather small, and reputation is important. Build a reputation as a team player who consistently puts forth the best effort. Work with other sales staff, as well as the administrative and service departments, to provide the best possible service for the client. This is the most effective way to achieve success in HVAC sales, while learning the skills required to become eligible for promotion.

Most get started in HVAC sales through an entry-level position at an HVAC installation firm.
Most get started in HVAC sales through an entry-level position at an HVAC installation firm.

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