Businesses, small, medium, or large aim to satisfy clients, remain competitive, and increase revenue. Nonetheless, it’s a challenge for small and medium sized business owners, particularly those managing field staff and contractors, to secure good revenue growth. To grow business and increase cashflow, you focus on specialized sales and marketing efforts – sales teams, adverts, pamphlets, the website and billboards. However, you may be leaving money on the table by not having considered bringing one of your finest weapons to the game. Your field staff. Every customer interaction is an opportunity to grow the business. While your sales teams struggle hard to get a foot in the door, your field techs already have both feet in! So how can you leverage your field staff to improve revenue?
The Consultative approach to Sales
Successful sales people usually combine their knowledge of services or product, with a good understanding of the customer’s situation to find good win-win opportunities. Many field technicians, especially those who have been with you for a while, may have built a relationship of trust with the customer by correcting and fixing problems regularly. Working at the customer’s home or workplace, he or she has a first hand view of your services that the customer may benefit from. This puts forth opportunities for up-selling, cross selling and being able to make a closure. Ultimately, there’s no better way to appeal to your customers than to cater to their specific needs. And that’s why it’s essential that you encourage your staff to place their focus on becoming customer consultants–problem solvers.
To develop the competence and mindset necessary for your field team to drive sales, start with the hiring process. What character traits should you look for ? A positive outlook, an interest in serving others, good communication skills, and a healthy self-image of self-acceptance so that he or she is not deterred by customer rejections. Look for these alongside the technical and functional skills that you are probably evaluating today.
Although sales is not the primary role of a field tech, formal sales training can help. You could use both online and classroom based options. Look for trainings geared towards knowledge increase and promoting confidence.
Information and Knowledge to enable Sales
A consultative approach to sales requires your field staff to have a good knowledge about what your business stands for, what services are provided, and how best to communicate those services to the customer. Before employees go to the field, they should have complete understanding and picture of services offered.
Likewise, they should also know everything that there is to know about the customer. For instance, your staff should know if the customer’s warranty is expiring because they can act on this information by suggesting that they renew. What products and services have they purchased from you in the past? What were the details of their contract? What are the terms of their service agreements? What is their previous repair history? What products have they enquired about? All it takes is adding relevant details to the inspection description or work order, so your field tech is reminded to gently broach the topic with your customer.
Consultative sales is about educating the customer. Your staff can share a few of your latest products with customers and initiate upgrades when needed. They can offer live demos to demonstrate the value your customers can gain from these products and services. Your staff can supply them with informational pamphlets and encourage them to make informed decisions. Most importantly, they can gauge the customer’s interest and relay this information to your sales team who can then move forward with it.
Culture and Empowerment to support Sales
The key to succeeding in the consultative approach is to make your staff feel empowered. Empowerment gives them a great sense of self-esteem and increases job satisfaction. Not only that, it will also make them work more diligently to become trusted advisors to your clients.
Be willing to both acknowledge and use the skills that each member brings to your sales process. Even if you can’t reward them financially, acknowledgment after a successful sale or service provisioning can be a source of encouragement. It can also give other staff members an idea of what you expect of them and serves as motivation and incentive.
And the good news, there are several ways in which you can show your appreciation. Everything from internal newsletters and handwritten thank you notes, to employee of the month plaques can be used as a way to show gratitude for outstanding sales performance.
In conclusion, field technicians can be your best salespeople since they may have already built a good relationship with your client. Next steps –
- motivate field staff to use a consultative approach in their relationship with the customer,
- empower them with information about your customers and knowledge of your products and services, and
- promote a organizational culture which appreciates their contribution to sales
The key is to motivate technicians who enjoy the functional aspects of the job, to take a longer term view of the customer’s relationship with your business. Such an approach to sales is not about sleazy sales pitches or desperate misguidance. It is about educating the customer and helping them make good choices. About identifying win win situations, where the field tech’s knowledge helps him or her add value to the customer’s life at home or work.
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