Do you want to increase Revenues Generated by your Techs? Tell them to Stop Selling (and Start Serving)!
Our field service technicians represent a huge opportunity to generate revenues. They have a special relationship with our customers based on a high level of trust. Through that relationship, they have gained a unique understanding of our customers’ goals. They have a practical understanding of the latest in technology and they know our company’s capabilities. Who better than them to recognize and explore opportunities for your company to add more value through more services?
Despite this truth, we have found that most service firms are not fully capitalizing on the unique relationships that their service people have. This is unfortunate for both the service firm and the customer. When we do not fully leverage the special relationships that our service technicians have, we are missing a tremendous opportunity to grow our business, reduce competition and increase customer satisfaction levels. But there is more to it than that. The customer is being denied the opportunity to run their plant or facility better. The customer is not benefiting fully from the knowledge and expertise of our service technicians.
Many firms have considered teaching their service technicians to become part time salespeople. Unfortunately, those firms that we have worked with who have taken this approach report mixed results and any improvement in business development appeared to be short lived.
One of the main reasons that turning technicians into part time salespeople does not work as well as we might hope is because customers trust the service technician to give them objective advice based on their knowledge and experience. Unlike salespeople who are compensated for what they sell, service people are compensated for what they know and using that knowledge to do their job well – installing, fixing or maintaining things. They are viewed as honest brokers – “telling it like it is” with no hidden agendas. It would seem natural that, if they just put a little more effort in selling to those trusting customers, then they will be instrumental in building more revenues and profits.
Unfortunately, the harder the technician tries to “sell” to the customer, the less effective they will be in building new business. The reason is that the moment the service technician starts to “sell”, he/she transcends that bond of trust that has been forged with the customer. The technician’s focus changes from the needs of the customer to the interests of making the sale. The very reason the customer trusted the service technician in the first place – the fact that they aren’t out to sell them anything – is suddenly no longer the basis of the relationship. When the customer senses that they are being “sold”, they become confused. To the customer, the technician has just changed from being a “trusted advisor” to just another “salesperson” and the relationship advantage is lost.
The solution is to provide the field service technician with training that ensures that any new business opportunities that are identified are based on solving the needs of the customer – not on the need to sell the services of our company. This subtle change in approach directs the field service technicians to change their focus from our firm and our services – i.e. what we have or do that can be sold – to the needs of our customer – i.e. what our customer needs and how we can best address it.
When service technicians approach business development in this way, they offer a higher level of service altogether. They will be using their knowledge, skills and experience to help our customers realize how they can make improvements. They will be giving our customers their heads as well as their hands.
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P.S. If you would like to explore the “Five Hurdles to Engaging Technicians in Business Development Activities“, I encourage you to download my article which you will by clicking here.
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it.
But if you love what you are doing,
and always put the customer first, success will be yours.”