Training Technicians to Make SalesBy My Service Depot on Thursday, July 16, 2020
If you can get your techs to become competent sales people, you can boost your average ticket price exponentially.
As a manager or owner in the service industry, you understand the importance of juggling the different personalities and roles within your company to maximize opportunities in the field. However, the questions that arise when a technician leaves a service call with a low or non-existent invoice can keep you up at night. Did I send the wrong person? Is our brand not attractive or trusted enough? Did my technician not do enough to make the sale happen? The true answer to each of these questions varies for each service call, but if your techs have a proper understanding of sales, you stand to gain a lot. That understanding begins with proper training.
Making sales is crucial to a company’s success in the service industry and can be the difference between the companies that make it and the ones that don’t. Although hundreds of factors play a part in your strategy to increase sales, you first need to look at proper training. Don’t expect to turn all your technicians into high grossing sales people (it takes all types to make a field service company work, and a pure technician still has uses), but don’t give up, either. Sales is a skill that can be taught. And, even marginal improvements through awareness of sales will translate directly to your bottom line.
Materials to Prepare
You can’t provide any meaningful training without putting standard operating procedures in place. If you have not yet done so, this is your opportunity to determine what message and image your company wants to project through your technicians. Aside from basic policies such as standards of conduct and dress code you need to provide a road map to success for your technicians. This road map may look different for each company and each industry, but should at a minimum contain the following elements: a script detailing the interaction with every customer from start to finish, a training manual that outlines the goals of your training, and best practices for overcoming customer objections.
External Training Programs
Before identifying your dedicated trainer, and before starting down the path of developing your in-house sales training program, you should look at what external training programs are available for your industry.
Many industry groups offer trade specific training on all aspects of the job, including sales. Look for these in industry specific publications and websites, or reach out directly to industry groups and other companies in your field to see what they recommend. Don’t forget that someone else has likely been at the same stage you are right now and many groups/experts are probably willing to help. No need to reinvent the wheel if much of the information already exists.
Identify Your Trainer
As in every endeavor you undertake as a company, you should always have a designated person responsible for the task. In some cases you should choose the person with the strongest experience, but more often than not you’ll find it easier to train an educator to teach sales than to train a salesperson to become an educator. Look for task-oriented, personable individuals. For your team to properly learn a new skill, it also helps if the person teaching that skill has high regard among their peers.
The trainer needs to develop and deliver training on a regular basis as well as handle follow ups with their peers to ensure maximized return of your investment. A good trainer can make a team very successful, but the reverse is true, too. You want to make sure trainers don’t pass along any bad habits.
Although the act of roleplaying can seem silly uncomfortable to some, it will prove crucial tool to your success. Regularly perform roleplaying exercises based on your scripts. This gives each individual technician an opportunity to test their skills in a controlled environment before they go out in the field. This will help you catch mistakes, and it gives technicians an opportunity to learn from each other.
Roleplaying exercises also help techs work on overcoming the common objections and roadblocks they can expect to encounter in the field. Overcoming these objections regularly will make your techs successful and highly efficient in their sales efforts.
Look to your internal team for hidden and exceptional talent. If your company sports both strong technical and sales staff, you already have an untapped pool of potential low-cost training available. Help build empathy for the different roles within your company by letting employees shadow and learn from each other. There are many things that can only be taught by observing and doing. If you foster an environment in which employees share best practices, you will naturally lift your team to new heights.
There is a reason debriefing carries such weight in high functioning teams. You must focus energy on areas of improvement based on the needs of your team members. If you don’t follow up on training and goals for your employees, you run the risk of losing valuable information as well as identifying additional training needs. Your employees want to be heard and they need the opportunity to voice their opinions. When following up on training, you give your employees a chance to do this in a controlled environment. Sit down with your employees, preferably individually, and talk to them about the training they’ve received. Listen to their feedback and adjust your strategy accordingly.
If you do not do this already, you must incentivize technicians to make sales. Once a technician has training, their successes should earn them benefits. Provide technicians a path to success by giving them the opportunity to make commissions on their sales. This financial motivation could make the difference in closing their next sale, and the next one after that.
If you build a team that learns together, work towards common goals, enjoys the process, and has proper incentivizes, then you have positioned yourself well to grow and outstrip the competition.