What is a sales acronym, and why is it so powerful?

A sales acronym is a shortcut to remembering the key steps your service technicians can follow to have a repeatable sales approach to running a service call.

Make no mistake — great sales come from a great sales system. The first thing I teach in my “Sales Power!” program is that you must have a great sales system, and to be truly great, it must foster and promote an ethical sales culture at your shop.

Before I share an example of a sales acronym, here’s a quick overview, or what I call a “30,000-foot flyover” of the sales system I teach.

  • Ask a few key questions like, “All things being equal, how long do you intend to live in your home?” This is what I call a gateway question because depending on their answer, I need to respect what their plan is. For example, “I plan to pass this home on to my kids” would mean I’d be looking to present options that have a longer life expectancy and potentially other long-term benefits. Meanwhile, “I already have the home on the market,” or, “I plan to put the home on the market shortly,” would mean a different approach that might be good but short-term. That said, if the system is shot, dangerous, or not worth repairing, I need to explain why they must do the bigger work, anyway, because it is required and/or the people buying the home will just take it off the selling price, anyway.

  • Demonstrate you are listening to what the customer is saying by either paraphrasing, starting with a phrase like, “So, if I understand you correctly….” Or, better yet, write down their replies to your questions so you can refer to it later in the process. In the sales process, the only words that matter are the ones that leave their lips — not yours. That’s because when you’re talking, you’re selling, and when they talk, they’re buying.

  • Get permission to do a survey of the whole system so you can see the whole picture — not just the current problem you are there to address. As techs, we also know the problem the customer is pointing at is, more often than not, the symptom rather than cause. It’s our responsibility to see the whole job so we can provide the best solution and options if they exist.

  • Present a menu of options starting with what must be addressed and what are smart things to consider to improve things like reliability, comfort and energy savings, when applicable. The menu always starts with the reason you were called to the job and includes additional things that came up when you did your survey or questions you asked that piqued their interest. For example, ask, “Does anyone find they have dry eyes and scratchy throat when the system runs in the winter?” If they say yes, a well-designed humidification system is something you’re obliged to offer to resolve this.

  • Based on what the customer says yes to, write up a clear, legible and easy (but legal) invoice to sign off on. Today, the majority of my clients have moved to paperless, so if you are also already working digitally with laptops, tablets and smart phones, there is still this step to do to capture the customer sign-off.

Here’s the thing: The goal is not to produce sales robots but rather a sales system that allows service techs to have a process that frees them up to interact with customers in a helpful way that benefits the customer, the company and the techs themselves.

Once you have a sales system and steps to follow, it can become a lot to remember.

There are five key chapters to “Sales Power!” The more my clients practice it every week in class, in their training centers and during ride-alongs, the better the service techs get at mastering it.

But, it’s still a lot to remember, and it’s easy for a service tech to get lost along the way as to where they are in the process. That’s when having a great sales acronym is so helpful.

Here are my basic steps for a repeatable customer-oriented experience:

Step 1: Opening the call

Step 2: Permission to do survey

Step 3: Pricing the job

Step 4: Presenting the menu

Step 5: Writing the invoice that gets signed

Remember, it’s not a replacement for a full sales process like my Sales Power! Process, but with this, you have a coaching aid to train on, as it’s a quick-start reminder that becomes indispensable.

A sales acronym for my fictional company — The 7-Power Contractor Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical Company — might be P.O.W.E.R., which stands for:

P — Prepare to arrive at the door and open the call the right way.

O — Owner needs to give us permission to do the survey.

W — We need to create the correct pricing for the job.

E — Execute the presentation of the menu of solutions.

R — Responsibility is yours to get the proper sign off on the invoice.

Whatever sales system you have today at your company, a sales acronym will help your service techs always know where they are in the sales process, and steps are less likely to be missed that would compromise the customer-focused experience.