My family business throughout the years serves the residential, commercial and industrial heating, cooling and plumbing marketplace.
What I know from serving these three different customers is that the basic concepts of business apply to all three. But, it does take an adjustment of that skill set to better address these distinct target audiences. This means how you answer the phone, how you dispatch, how you bill accounts, your hands-on training and more must be geared for what it takes to uniquely handle the challenges that each ideal customer presents.
With a careful assessment, you may decide that you may not have all these specific industry skills [or desire] to serve the commercial and industrial customer. And that is more than okay.
But if you have the ability to serve the commercial and industrial customers in a way that allow you to maximize these calls, you need these ideal customers to make your phone ring.
The best place to start when seeking to market yourself in the commercial and industrial space is to define who these target audiences are. And a great way to do that is to picture a commercial and/or industrial customer you already serve that you’d love to clone. Once you better analyze why they like doing business with you, then you will be better able to market to others who are like this customer. And taking it to the next level….a testimonial from this customer is a powerful way to approach others who are like them.
If you’re setup to do commercial service and/or install work, you’ll want to have someone who is dedicating time to opening up these accounts and keeping them open. Waiting by the phone and hoping is not a good enough strategy. I call this person a Commercial Salesperson. The commercial and industrial client typically requires a person-to-person commitment. This can mean working the phone and/or pressing the flesh to get to the people who control which company they choose for their contracting needs.
To help jump start you’re process in building the Commercial Sales Person, I have shared an excerpt from the manuals I’ve created that first helped me when I built this position in a way that it could replace me from being the only one who could do this type of sales. It is now at work with clients of mine who serve the commercial and industrial customer:
The Commercial Salesperson’s Primary Role in Our Company:
The Company primarily uses Commercial Salespersons to generate new commercial accounts that provide sales for install and service work.
Our Commercial Salespersons are more than just salespeople. They have had training on the specific work that they are selling. This is what distinguishes our company and you from much of our competition. You are paid a flat [base] salary based on your demonstrated sales performance and your proven record of generating new revenue producing commercial accounts.
In addition, our Company pays you a commission on all qualified sales. We strive to provide an incentive to make a quality sale that benefits the customer, the company and the Commercial Salesperson. That is why all sales have to meet strict levels of qualified sales targets and profitability before a commission is paid
General Sales Guidelines for Commercial Salespersons:
Give your company business card immediately to the customer with your right hand so you can possibly avoid having to shake hands when you first arrive on a sales call. Commercial Salespersons should always project a good image of the company in their dress and personal behavior. They are to:
- Provide weekly reports [scorecard] of their sales, customer contacts and proposals to their immediate Sales Manager.
- Assigned a number of commercial customers and it is their responsibility to maintain contact with that customer at least every three months or more often when necessary.
Note: The goal is to establish and maintain a close relationship with each customer in an effort to retain that customer. Keep the customer informed of all the services the company offers and be sensitive to the needs of all customers. You are the liaison between the customer and the company.
- Able to use their free time as they see fit. But, it is recommended that some of this time be used to make phone calls to their customers and to follow up the leads generated by the Marketing Department with shoe leather campaigns. You are ultimately responsible for managing your own time. We only require that you be available by cell phone, contact the sales lead within 24 hours of our receiving their calling and to follow all the applicable portions of The Company Manual that you are given.
- All reasonable expenses associated with soliciting new business or getting more business with established customers will be reimbursed by the company when pre-approved and then properly documented.
- Make every effort to rectify customer complaints by working with both the customer and the appropriate staff within the service department. Every effort should be made by all employees to retain the customer.
There is much more to do like how to assign leads, how to follow a step-by-step sales process that gives the Commercial Salesperson structure and a proven way to open new commercial accounts and to keep them happy so repeat business is better assured.