Why Techs Don't Sell Part 1

October 10, 2003

Six Reasons Why Service Techs Don’t Sell More

By: Charlie Greer

Your biggest expense is in getting the tech out to the job. Your best bet for turning a profit in service lies with the tech maximizing every opportunity on every call, yet it’s amazing how often they turn a blind eye toward additional products and services that the customer would benefit by owning, but are never offered.

In my travels during my One-on-One Mentoring, I’ve asked numerous techs who have just demonstrated “tunnel vision” in front of me why they do it, and these are the six most common reasons they’ve given:

1. A negative attitude toward sales in general and salespeople in particular, and don’t want to be identified with sales or salespeople.

When I ask service technicians, “What kind of words do people use to describe salespeople?” They’ll often respond with words like, “Liar, slick, egotistical, con artist, cutthroat, blue suede shoes, greedy,” and a host of other unflattering terms. Let’s face it, if service personnel wanted to be sales personnel, they would have gone into sales.

2. A negative attitude toward the company, the boss or the job.

Make certain you don’t follow my number one rule on how to kill sales by field personnel, which is, “Make your employees hate you.” Most field personnel feel overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated.

Most people in a sales position of any sort feel they’ve been shorted on their commissions at one time or another.

I’ve seen more than one technician that was excellent at sales, stop selling, and consequently lower their own income and overall job satisfaction, because they felt that at one time they were cheated on a commission.

So make absolutely certain that, if you’re paying commissions, your people have a clear understanding of exactly what they’re supposed to be paid, and that you enclose a detailed statement listing exactly what customer they are being paid on and for what product and how much, in every commission check.

I’ve worked in companies where the service personnel were not allowed in the office area because they might track up the carpet, which is a perfectly legitimate concern. The problem is that the service people are all saying, “We paid for that carpet with our sweat,” which is also perfectly legitimate.

People are sensitive and easily offended, and all of this affects your sales and profits. Make certain your service personnel feel appreciated and don’t feel shorted on their commissions.

3. They don’t believe any extra products will benefit the customer, or that the company’s prices are too high.

It’s assumed that your employees, especially long-term employees, know all the features and benefits of all your products and doing business with your company.

Never underestimate the value of repetition in your training. No one listens to one hundred per cent of everything they’re being told and, even if they did, no one has one hundred per cent retention.

Get to the point where you, and everyone in your company, can state your strategic distinction (your company’s uniqueness, and why it would be important to the customer shopping price) in 25 words or less.

There are probably two dozen or more reasons to buy from your company. Write them down, have your people memorize them and be able to repeat them back to you.

4. The fear of being humiliated, ridiculed or criticized if they make a mistake.

This is a big one. You need to realize that the more someone sells, the more opportunities there are for mistakes. Yell at or embarrass someone for making a mistake on a sale just one time and you may well kill sales from that person for the remainder of that individuals tenure with your company.

5. A lack of confidence in their own communication skills.

This could also be stated that the concept of selling is not clear and clean, it hasn’t been proceduralized. You could also call this the fear of hearing the word “no.”

You need to train your personnel in sales. I’ve heard contractors say that, with employee turnover as bad as it is, it doesn’t pay to train someone who’ll eventually go to work for a competitor and sell for them.

Okay, that’s a valid concern. Now let’s look at a worse scenario. What if you don’t spend the money to train your people in sales and they stay?

This will be continued next week with an in-depth look at the single most important reason why service techs don’t sell more.

Charlie Greer is a PHC service tech, a PHC salesman and president of HVAC Profit Boosters, Inc., a PHC sales training firm and home of the Sales Survival School. For more information or to sign up for his free newsletter, click here: www.hvacprofitboosters.com or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822).

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