When I got smarter at the work our company did, I liked to show off. I’d use big fancy terms and technical jargon that I thought would totally impress the customer I was in front of as either a Service Tech doing a service call or a Big Ticket Salesperson selling a big installation job since I tended to fill both positions on any given day.
Yes, you guessed it. I felt good about myself but my sales stunk.
Bet a lot of you are [or were] just like me I was when I first got started in the industry.
Here’s the awful truth. The customers don’t know what you know about what it is you do, how you do it and why you do it that way. That’s why it’s your job to educate them in an informative way every step along the way and in every way they can encounter your company. None of your customers signed up for a science class. It’s not their job to understand our terminology and technology. It’s your job to help them understand!
I think it’s one of the hardest tasks we’re called on to do…speak plain-English. Explaining technical things in plain-English so they, normal people, will understand it will challenge you. It challenged me. But, there’s more. You also have to help them see the value of what you’re proposing that will solve a problem or give them more comfort, safety etc.
When I teach Sales Power! to clients, I share with Techs and Big Ticket Salespeople alike that my growth from the smug idiot who was amused that he knew more than the client to a true Service Tech and Sales Professional was to learn how to help the customer understand the value of what I was proposing to do in either of my positions.
It took a lot of bumps and bruises and some great sales training to help me see it not by looking out my glasses but rather by imagining myself as them sitting in their chair looking at me. I went so far as to practice selling to an empty chair. I’d ask the empty chair a question and then I’d go sit in that other chair and answer it as if I were them…not…me.
Wow! Things got a whole lot clearer on why exactly I was so awful at sales when I started.
Here’s a bonus for you. I’m going to share with you the best word I learned for helping your customer understand what you’re talking about. The word is “LIKE”.
Example: Your heating systems is LIKE your car in that it takes air, spark and fuel to run. Like a car it needs to be set up correctly to run right and be efficient so does your heating system need to be tuned-up regularly.
So, what’s this all got to do with selling Quality Assurance Standards? Everything.
The fact that you adhere to stringent quality standards in your service work and/or your installation work is great.
The fact that you don’t sell all of this during the sales process to a buyer so they clearly can see the value and they’re better armed when they’re shopping around because now they know clearly the difference between you and your competitors is a VERY BIG issue.
They only see the value and are more likely to pay a little more if you sell the value of your quality standards.
If you really want to separate yourself from the pack, I suggest you sell the fact that on a Big Ticket Installation you’ll be coming back about two weeks after the work is done to do a Quality Assurance Check. This separate visit is best done by the person who sold the job. I say that because if they can go back and verify that everything meets those stringent standards, customer satisfaction is built.
And that leads to the next most important reason to build it into your pricing that return visit to spot check Quality Assurance Standards. The second reason for this return visit is that it’s a great time to get a testimonial and photo from a happy customer standing in front of the equipment they installed.
Testimonials and pictures of happy existing customers is the very best sales and marketing tool I know for getting more sales opportunities, closing more sales and at higher prices.
I teach Big Ticket Salespeople who work at the companies I serve how to say something like this during the sales process:
“Our company adheres to [3rd party] Quality Assurance Standards. What that means is our Installers follow a specific procedure to make sure what I’m proposing here is done to the highest standards. It takes more time and more work and it requires special training which is what all our Installers go through on a never-ending basis. These tough standards also apply to any governmental agencies currently offering rebates. But to get those rebates, specific benchmarks must be hit and documented. We do the heavy lifting for you on this.
Just know that I’ll be back about two weeks after the work is done just to spot check that everything meets those standards and make sure you are happy with all that we’ve done.
And if you’re happy I’m going to ask for a testimonial so we can share with others who can also benefit by working with us.”
See how to sell the value?
Now, there are a ton of great groups and industry associations like BPI, NCI, ACCA and more that have these Quality Assurance Standards. When you can explain during the sales process that you answer to a “higher authority”…a 3rd party organization to which you belong well, this stands for something.
My wife doesn’t know what ACE stands for and neither do I. But when we watch commercials from car dealers who talk about their Technicians all being ACE certified. That’s who we want to work on our car.
The same holds true for the trades we do.
Remember, you’re not selling equipment. You’re selling how you uniquely do your work and the standards you adhere to.