We live and work in a “tick mark” on the timeline of our company’s history. With great reverence, we’ll one day talk about how we survived 2020, much like the old-timer’s talk about 9/11 and 2008.
Since mid-March, the world of sales is upside-down. If you or your company haven’t been impacted, your customers likely have. Outside sales teams are now, for better or worse, inside sales teams. Virtual meetings are replacing face-to-face meetings. The volume of sales emails, according to HubSpot, has increased by 79%, while the response rates have plummeted. And it appears that it may not be over. It may get worse before it gets better, according to the experts.
It’s almost cliché to say, “everyone is in sales.” True enough. But right now, and in the foreseeable future, everyone IS in sales. 2021 may be a tough year. Perhaps our most challenging yet. Even if we’ve weathered the storm, we need to function at our very best to ensure we hit our goals and keep our promises to stakeholders.
In light of COVID, many sales professionals are struggling to get in front of customers. Not only does that impact our relationships, but it makes it difficult to get repeat business and expand our wallet share in the account. On-site visits are rare, coffee meetings are even scarcer, and face-to-face contact is nearly impossible. It’s tough! Yet, our customers still have challenges, problems, and issues – and they need our help.
In conversations with clients, I’ve realized that many companies have a stealth team, just waiting to be tapped on the shoulder and invited to help. They have strong technical knowledge and, often, high-level relationships with customers. If sales is about finding problems and fixing them, this group is uniquely qualified. Yet, too many companies are stuck in old ways and aren’t taking advantage of this stealth revenue-producing team.
They are the Service Technicians.
3 Reasons Why Your Field Service Technicians Can Be Your Secret Weapon
Your Customer Doesn’t See Them as Salespeople
When your sales team engages your customer, the customer knows they are dealing with a salesperson. They know your salesperson is looking to sell them something. The salesperson’s job, they think, is to influence the customer to do something that may not be in their best interest. There is a certain amount of skepticism inherent in the relationship.
Customers see our field service staff in a different light. They aren’t in sales. Thus, customers may be willing to share information more freely. The guard gets lowered a little when I don’t think you will use what I share with you to get me to buy something else.
They are Problem-Finders
The best salespeople are problem-finders, not problem solvers. Think about it. Salespeople who pride themselves on being “problem solvers” (and there are many) find a problem, and they share how they could solve it. That’s called free consulting, and it’s one of the reasons you probably didn’t hit your sales goal last year.
When on-site, the service team is uniquely qualified to ask questions and find problems that are hidden or off the radar of the customer. Technical knowledge and experience are assets that too many companies fail to utilize.
They can be Information Gatherers
Our sales team often has limited interactions with their customers. Meetings are frequently less than an hour. Zoom meetings and phone calls have replaced face-to-face interactions. Those meetings have a specific focus.
Our service team may be on-site for hours, days, or even weeks. They get to know people. They have conversations. They are, in essence, on the inside. They hear and see things. Learn things. They find out about future projects and get a sense of the competitive landscape. Who else is coming in and out of the facility? This valuable information is simply not available to our outside sales team consistently.
Everyone is in sales. In 2021, leaders must amplify this message. The selling environment has changed for the typical outside salesperson. Leaders would do well to consider how each team member can help open doors and help find opportunities. It may be the difference between success and struggle in 2021.
Robin Green is an award-winning Sandler Trainer located in Richmond, Va. He works with companies of all sizes and in a variety of industries. Robin often works with service technicians, inside sales teams, and senior management in addition to sales professionals. He believes that good salespeople are made, not born, and anyone can be successful given the right blueprint. You can reach Sandler Training and chat with Robin by calling (804) 914-1723