How Service Technicians Can Ethically Sell in the Field

How Service Technicians Can Ethically
Sell in the Field

February 5th, 2018

Whether you’re a family-owned HVAC company, a nationally-recognized pest control organization, or any service-based firm in between, if you have service technicians, they are the backbone of your company.

The nature of their profession demands that they work face to face with your customers and be intimately involved with the solutions to your customers’ problems — making their professionalism and skill in the trade important factors that directly impact your company’s reputation and earnings potential.

This makes trustworthy, knowledgeable, and reliable service technicians worth their weight in gold — and puts them in an incredible position to further help your customers.

Unfortunately, impactful technicians that faithfully service their customers are too often underutilized and are seldom given the training and support to ethically sell to customers while in the field.

By understanding what places service technicians in a unique and valuable selling position, how and when they should sell, and how they can be supported in their sales efforts, your company can harness an existing resource for increasing sales opportunities and improving customer retention.

Why Service Technicians Are in a Favorable Selling Position

Service technicians are generally viewed as trained professionals who are only called upon to perform installations, repairs, or maintenance, but their role and relationships with customers places them in an area of incredible selling opportunity.

They are face-to-face with the customer.

The value of your service technicians being in-person and interacting with customers on a personal level cannot be overvalued. They represent the face of your company and the personification of your brand’s values to the public.

During these technician-to-customer interactions, your customers are taking fervent mental notes — Does the tech seem trustworthy? Were they on time? Does it seem like they’re giving me the runaround?

By presenting and conducting themselves in a courteous and professional manner, your service technicians can quickly begin to earn the customer’s trust and lay the foundations for a longstanding and fruitful relationship.

They are intimately knowledgeable of the customer’s needs and pain points.

By virtue of the hands-on nature of their role, service technicians are directly confronted with the problems that customers need solved.

With this knowledge, and with a skillset honed by years of professional experience, technicians are uniquely qualified to offer solutions that directly address your customers’ needs.

They are a credible expert and source of helpful information.

When your customers experience quality service and recognize your technicians’ dedication to meeting their needs, they will begin to trust your technicians as a source of expert and reliable help.

These moments present themselves as a tremendous opportunity for your service technician to go the extra mile in service of your customers and recommend effective services or products that are truly beneficial and fulfill your customers’ current or future needs.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3-4

When Should Service Technicians Sell in the Field?

Ethical selling, at its heart, means to put the customer before yourself and seek to help them above all else. Inappropriate upsells and manipulative sales practices will quickly be dismissed by customers and immediately erode any trust your company may have built with the customer.

To avoid over-pressuring the customer, and to ensure that sales doesn’t override the focus of actually completing the work that they’re there to do, service technicians must understand when it’s appropriate to initiate conversations about sales and how to conduct them.

When the customer’s needs are in alignment with a product or service offering.

Throughout a service technician’s time with the customer and while on the job, they should be continually making mental notes on how the customer might be better helped.

Whether through a helpful product or complimentary service, technicians must be able to recognize and recommend solutions only if those solutions are helpful to the customer.

When a product or service your company offers can prevent future problems for a customer.

As your service technicians are carrying out their in-the-field assignment, they will naturally notice other areas of concern that might cause headaches for a customer in the future should the issue be ignored.

For example, your pest control technician might only be at a customer’s home to help rid their yard of fire ants — but down near the base of the home, there’s clear evidence of termite damage.

Your technician, with a keen understanding of customer-first sales, shows your customer where the termite damage, is and how your company can provide the solution to get those termites dealt with and kept away permanently — avoiding tens of thousands of dollars in damage for your customer in the future.

When the customer asks for a service technician’s professional recommendation.

As your customer begins to recognize your service technician as a trustworthy source of reliable help, questions about other services and products naturally arise.

Presented with this opportunity, your service technicians should use this time to inform your customers about helpful solutions that could address the customer’s needs or add increase value in the future.

How to Support your Service Technicians’ Sales Efforts

For service technicians to perform at the highest levels of sales success, proper communication and educational support are vital. By providing these, you position your service technicians to be an even stronger positive force for your company’s earning potential.

Provide technicians with product and service information for customers.

Having up-to-date product and service information on-hand through print and other media allows your technicians to provide customers with helpful insights that might be helpful in their decision-making process.

In addition, these informational items can allow service technicians to quickly help a customer down the path toward a helpful added purchase while still keeping focused on performing the service task at hand.

Strengthen communication between technicians and other customer-facing departments.

Service technicians and the sales and marketing departments are all too often confined to their separate silos within most service-based companies.

Service technicians see the problems up close and personally see the stresses that customers go through when looking to your company for help in their time of need.

This information alone — let alone their years of practical product and service knowledge — makes them an invaluable asset that can both support and learn from the sales and marketing departments.

As a leader, take the initiative to more closely integrate your service technicians in sales and marketing conversations and allow your sales and marketing teams to learn from your technicians.

The value gained by gaining a newfound appreciation for one another’s roles, and the insight achieved by having holistic understanding of how to effectively address customers’ needs as a cohesive force cannot be overvalued.

Invest in ethical sales training.

Investing in your workforce and preparing them with the knowledge of ethical, customer-first based sales in an effective investment in your entire company’s reputation and future sales performance.

We might not know how to rid walls of termites, but we do know how to train service technicians — and all customer-facing roles in your company — to be an ethical and fruitful sales force.

How Have You Empowered Your Services Technicians to Sell Ethically?

Have you any tips that have helped your service techs find success in sales? What ways have you found for your technicians to continually add value for your customers?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and discuss them with you in the Facebook comments below!

References

  1. Román, Sergio, et al. “The effects of sales training on sales force activity.” European Journal of Marketing, vol. 36, no. 11/12, 2002, pp. 1344–1366., doi:10.1108/03090560210445218.
  2. Bolton, Ruth N., et al. “The Effect of Service Experiences over Time on a Supplier’s Retention of Business Customers.” Journal of Management Science, 2006, pp. 1811–1823., doi:10.1287.

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