In this episode, Paul shares four ideas to turn service into sales.
Right now, it is a challenging time for salespeople to meet with prospects and customers. So if you want to get more meetings, don’t just be a salesperson.
Leverage your service team. Your service team includes engineers, designers, programmers, service technicians, operations team, or any other customer-facing individual. Anyone that meets with a customer is a salesperson.
Here are four tips for turning your service team into salespeople.
#1 – Help your service team remove their blinders.
#2 – Create a list of probing questions for your service team.
#3 – Instruct the service team to identify new problems to solve.
#4 – Teach the service team to cross-serve.
Paul referenced the Daily Mental Flex downloadable worksheet from episode 31.
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How do I turn service into sales?
(Transcribed from podcast)
On today’s show, we’re going to answer the question “How do I turn service into sales?” Right now, salespeople are struggling to get meetings face to face with customers, with prospects. We know this. Several salespeople have emailed us: How do we do it? How do we compel that buyer to act? How do we send the right message so that customers and prospects want to meet with us face to face? And we’ve just got to acknowledge that right now, maybe that’s not a possibility. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m just saying that, during these tough times, customers/prospects are not as willing to meet face to face with salespeople. So if they’re not willing to meet face to face with salespeople, then don’t be a salesperson. Instead, partner with your service team, your engineering team, your ops team. We’re going to talk about how we can leverage the other side of our business to help us get more appointments, get more information, and eventually sell more.
Before we get into answering that question though, a quick shout-out to our sponsor, Andrea and her team at The Creative Impostor Studios. Again, they’ve been with the Q and A Sales Podcast since the very beginning. I think about all the support and everything that Andrea has helped with, and she’s really helped this podcast grow. In fact, it’s now been downloaded in over 45 different countries throughout the world. We’re approaching 8,000 downloads as well. So if you’re thinking about starting a podcast and you just need some help, hey, reach out to her. We’re going to have a link to her website on this episode’s webpage.
The other thing, pick up your latest copy of Value-Added Selling. We’re on the fourth edition of this book. It is your go-to sales guide on how to compete on value. In fact, one of the techniques we’ll talk about today is in the book. We call it cross-serving. We’re going to get more into that as well.
Let’s get back to that question: How do I turn service into sales? I know that many salespeople are struggling to get those face-to face-meetings with customers right now. I know you want to get back out there. I know you want to visit the offices; you want to visit the factories and all of that stuff. Salespeople, they’re not meant to sit in the office all day. I get your frustration. I understand it firsthand. But the key is, we still have to figure out a way to generate revenue. We’ve got to get creative.
We talked about that on the Daily Mental Flex. If you want to check out that episode, it’s episode 30 something. But we have a downloaded form. And on this downloadable form, there is a section we talk about taking a few minutes every day to be creative; to think of ways to generate more revenue. That’s what happened today. I was actually going through the exercise. I was putting together an article and I was trying to just think of creative ways that salespeople can get in to see their customers. And as I was thinking, I had, I don’t want to call it an epiphany, but it was certainly a light-bulb moment. Salespeople are not able to see customers face to face right now, but you know who are? Service people, engineering folks, design people, operations people. People that are deemed, let’s say, essential to the operation of the customer’s business. Meaning, if a machine goes down, the service person has to get in there to fix it. If they’re having an engineering issue, the engineering team has to get involved to help out. Those different disciplines within your business are able to meet face to face with customers, or at least via zoom or whatever it might be. And so what we need to do right now is we need to leverage our operations, our service team, to help gather information, to generate some revenue, and to really help progress the sale forward. That’s what we’re going to talk about on today’s session.
I know many of the salespeople listening right now, you do have engineering departments, design departments, operations people, service technicians, delivery people that are supporting the customer. These individuals might be able to actually meet with your customers face to face. They’re actually able to go into the facility to deliver product, to look around, to work on equipment. And so it’s critical that we partner with them right now, because those individuals are able to get out there and see what’s going on face to face. Our goal is to turn them into a salesperson. And I’m always of the belief, anyone that meets with a customer face to face is a salesperson in some way or another. Now we have to help them. We have to guide them.
Here are a couple of tips. Meet with your service team. When I say service team, I mean all people that support the customer. That includes customer service technicians, service people, delivery folks, engineering, design people. Anyone that supports the customer, they’re going to be called service people for the purpose of this podcast. Meet with your service people and just talk to them, first of all. Get a sense of how they’re interacting with customers. Get a sense of whether they’re able to meet face to face; who they’re talking to when they’re out there delivering product, working on equipment, whatever it might be. Just see what they’re we’re talking to.
The first tip that you can give them is say, “Hey, when you’re out there and you’re working with customers, take the blinders off.” When we say take the blinders off, what we mean is, as a horse that’s carrying a carriage or whatever. They used to put blinders on so they could only see forward wherever they’re going. We also, as salespeople, as service professionals, we have blinders as well. When a customer calls in, they have a problem, they have an issue. Whether it’s with some software, whether it’s with some sort of equipment malfunction, whether they need design help, whatever it might be, we have that as the focal point. And the only problem is by focusing purely on that one area, we miss all the other opportunities that surround us.
Here’s what I recommend. When you’re talking to your delivery people, design people, engineering, all the folks I mentioned before, just ask them to take the blinders off when they’re talking to customers. When they’re visiting with customers face to face, ask them to look around and see if there’s anything new: if the place looks busy; if they’re expanding their operations; if there’s construction going on; if there’s new projects they’re prepping for. Look for your competitors’ products. During these tough times, again, your competitors are knocking on your customers’ doors. Tell your delivery people, your drivers, everyone: “Be aware if our competitors’ products are in the facility.” So, tip number one again, instruct your team, your service team, to take the blinders off.
The second tip: work with your service team and create a list of questions that they can ask their contacts that can help reveal some opportunities, some areas where you can help them. For example, a simple question like, “Hey, what else is going on?” That’s a great question. When you’re talking to your service team, ask them to ask their contact, their customers, whether it’s an operator or a fellow engineer, ask them, “What else is going on?” “What projects do you see coming up in the future?” “How’s business been going?” “What’s been some of the challenges you’ve been experiencing?” These simple probing questions that you can provide your service team can help reveal opportunities. I would work with them, come up with a list of questions that can reveal those opportunities.
So let’s look at tip number three: identify problems to solve. We’ve talked about this on previous podcasts. Our research shows that the number-one way to go grow your business with existing customers is to identify new problems to solve. Well, here’s the good news. Your service team, whether it’s a service technician, an engineer, design person, an ops person, whoever it might be, they’re usually getting involved if there’s some sort of problem. They’ve already got a leg up when they meeting with that customer. Because the customer has a problem to solve, that can usually translate into a sale for you.
The other key is identifying other problems to solve. So while your service tech, while your engineer, whoever might be, is out there meeting with customers, have them ask a simple question. A question like: “In addition to this problem, what other problems are you experiencing at this facility, on this project?” Just asking that simple question can reveal new problems that you can then follow up with. Even though you can’t meet face to face, if you have a new problem that you can solve for that customer or prospect, you’re going to generate revenue. You’re going to generate an opportunity that was always there. By the service team identifying a new problem to solve, that creates a new opportunity for you as the salesperson. Because again, every time there’s a new problem, that creates an opportunity for you to grow and to help your customer. So make your service team aware of this question.
Again, the question is very simple and straightforward: “In addition to this, what other problems are you experiencing?” It’s going to give you something that you can follow up with. And even though you’re not able to meet with that customer face to face, you’re able to meet with them virtually, over the phone, via email. And you can reference that new problem, which is going to turn into a new opportunity for you.
The final tip for today: when you’re trying to turn service into sales, remember the word cross-serving. You’ve heard the term cross-selling. It’s about saying, “Hey, you want fries to go with that burger?” Cross-serving is really about educating the buyer, helping them. And by helping them and educating them, you’re offering them the more complete solution. By offering the more complete solution, you’re creating a better overall experience. This is an area where service professionals, service team members, whether it is your engineering team, whether it is your service tech, whether it is your delivery person, whether it is just that ops person out there making a joint call, they can offer a complete solution that will help satisfy this customer’s need.
I’ll tell you a quick story that really explains cross-serving. A couple of years ago, my iPhone cracked and I had to go and buy a brand new iPhone. So I went into the AT&T store, met with the salesperson. Salesperson is doing a great job: asking a lot of good questions, diagnosing what type of challenges I faced with my phone so that he can help me select the right phone. Bam. After a ten-minute conversation, he makes his recommendation.
After that, this is where the cross-serving began. We’re sitting there. We’re talking about the phone. He asked me what I do and I said, “I’m a sales trainer/ speaker.” And he said, “Well, do you travel quite a bit?” I said, “Oh yeah. I travel quite a bit.” He said, “Have you ever gotten to a hotel, Paul, and then you forget to bring your iPhone charger?” I said, “Man, that happens all the time.” He said, “I’ll tell you what. The easy way to fix that problem, just pick up an extra charger, put it in your travel case, put it in your suitcase, and that way you always have one when you travel. That can be your travel charger.” I said, “Oh man, perfect. Yeah, load me up.” So we added on the extra charger.
Next thing, he took my old phone and he said, “Paul, you know these phones, they do tend to crack. But the good news is, we now have a covering that we can put on your phone that will prevent it from cracking. That way, if you drop it, it’s going to actually crack the coating and not the actual screen itself. Would you like to add that so that we can make sure we prevent this from happening to your new phone?” I said, “Perfect man. Load me up.”
He still wasn’t done. He said, “You know how the screen can crack? Well also, the back of the phone can crack. But again, we’ve got a new covering that will prevent that from happening. Would you like me to add that?” I said, “Perfect, man. Let’s to do it.” So at this point I go in there to buy a phone. The guy has already sold me on three additional products.
Now he’s still wasn’t done. He actually took my phone. He said, “You’ve got a great family picture here. He goes, “I’ve got three young kids myself.” He said, “Paul, do your kids like playing with your phone?” I said, “Oh man, they love playing with my phone. They love playing on the iPad.” I said, “The only problem is, they fight over the iPad, and it’s kind of annoying sometimes, because they all want to watch their own iPad.” He looked at me and he said, “Paul, you’re not going to believe it. Right now, we have a promotion going on where, if you add this iPad to your data plan, you can get a $400 iPad for $100.” He goes, “For $100, would you like to pick up a brand new iPad? It’ll solve that problem for you.” And I said, “Load me up, man.”
He continued to load me up with new product. By the time I left the store, I probably spent 10 times the amount of money that I was planning on spending. But the whole time, this guy was cross serving. He was educating me. He was making me aware of all these new products and services that would solve the problems that I currently had.
Let’s think about this. Problem number one that he identified: I forget to bring my charger when I travel. He solved that problem by providing me an extra product.
The next problem: I cracked my screen. He solved that problem by putting on that coating… and he sold me more product.
The other thing: a problem I didn’t have, but I could have in the future is I could drop it on the back of the phone, which could also shatter. Well, he solved that problem for me as well.
And he also solved the problem of kids fighting over the iPad. I mean, this guy knew how to cross-serve. And that’s what cross-serving is. It’s about educating the buyer, making them aware of a total solution, and also solving the problems that they have. Whether you are a salesperson or whether you are a service professional, operations professional, engineer, you name it, anyone can do this. It’s about identifying the problem and then providing a solution to solve that problem.
Make it a big day.