Al Levi: 5 steps to phenomenal sales in contracting
When it comes to your contracting business, sales coaching is the key to driving phenomenal sales. But how can you effectively coach sales without a repeatable, documented selling system that trains techs how to sell the right way?
The answer is, you can’t.
The tech selling system I teach has five steps, not 500 steps. There’s a reason it’s only five steps. A tech can remember five steps, and they can do it time and time again. Consistency in selling is what serves the customer best because important steps in the process can’t be skipped.
Remember, it’s in the customer’s best interest that techs are trained on a sales system that promotes quality sales. Quality sales is what I define as always seeking to discover what the customer really needs and wants and helping them come to a good decision on how to best serve them. Quality selling is always done in the customer’s best interest.
These five steps allow a tech each to become comfortable in how to do this the right way. The goal is to keep the tech freed up to ask good questions and to be listening to those questions when the customer responds. The goal is not to turn them into selling robots. It’s not what they agreed to become when they joined your company, and that’s not what your customers want or deserve.
What needs to be the focus is getting great at a sales system that promotes ethical selling so everyone wins. And this sales system needs to be taught and demonstrated at your shop or your home instead of waiting to teach it while they’re in the field. It’s too late then.
The beauty of my five-step selling system is that it follows a certain order, and the steps build upon each other. There’s real danger if you skip steps because the system falls apart and sales suffer, as does customer satisfaction — a lose-lose scenario that must be avoided.
The five steps I teach are:
Opening the call the right way;
Gaining permission to survey the premises so nothing is missed;
Pricing correctly the work that is recommended;
Presenting the menu with what must be done and other items that are worth considering based on observation and customer answers; and
Writing the kind of work order that gets signed.
To gain traction and build a good sales culture over time, you must be committed to providing never-ending sales coaching for it.
Techs aren’t normally happy to talk to customers, let alone sell them something. Most would love to just do the work and skip ever talking to a customer. The problem is, if they don’t talk to the customer and sell them the correct repair or replacement, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
The three ways to overcome this problem are to provide ongoing great sales training, provide great sales coaching and implement a great reward system. This is how to move techs out of their comfort zones to where they must be, since the service tech position is also a sales position.
Selling is a skill. Think back to when you first learned to drive. No one tossed you the keys and said, “Why don’t you take the car on the highway and see how you do?” At least, I hope they didn’t.
Maybe a brave family member let you drive around an empty parking lot. Then, you probably drove a few blocks when there weren’t many people around, and you worked your way up. You might have taken driver’s education classes at school or went to a privately owned driving school.
Only repetition can instill the skill you desire. But, the learning curve is easier and more effective with good coaching. The same applies to constantly doing the sales process with excellent sales coaching.
Here is what I recommend to make your sales coaching great:
Have a documented sales system that techs get trained on;
Have weekly classes that always cover a portion of your sales system so it’s always fresh;
Do a lot of role-playing in class;
Do role-playing in a hands-on training center where you can simulate a call that uses all the steps of your selling process;
Have mystery shoppers who are trained on what your sales process consists of you — this will give you, the owner, the feedback about what your techs are doing or not doing when it come to the real world; and
Do ride-alongs with your techs a minimum of once a month. The goal of this is to catch them doing something great and making a big deal about it, and if there are things that need work, it’s time to head to the training center and practice.
But what if you don’t have a fully functioning training center? Use your building, your home or even your employees’ homes so you can practice running calls the right way from start to finish and focus on great communications that lead to great sales.
Sales coaching like this will get your techs selling, keep them selling for the long haul and enable you to grow your business with less stress and more success that much faster.
This article was originally titled “Driving phenomenal sales requires coaching” in the February print edition of Plumbing & Mechanical.