As we kick off the New Year and begin working toward our 2015 business goals, we must take a moment to pause and reflect on how we’re going to accomplish new and better things this year. One of the things we need to really comprehend is the fact that when we do the same things, we get the same results. Our clients all want to improve their results in the next 12 months and in order to do so we need to change what we’re doing. Your current knowledge coupled with the actions you’re taking are getting you the outcome you are experiencing now.
In order to achieve different results, we must do some things differently. This month I want us to focus on four areas of knowledge that must be applied in order to catapult your results to a whole new level.
• Know yourself.When I’m training service technicians and salespeople, the place I always begin is with the fact that we must know ourselves if we want to improve performance. There are three buying decisions that every client makes before they can agree to purchase a product or service. First they must buy the technician or salesperson, then they buy the company they’re doing business with. Once they are comfortable with those two, they finally make a decision about the product or service.
Most technicians get this process backwards and focus too early and too much on just the product. When a technician truly understands who they are and how they operate, and then shares some of themselves with the client, performance improves immediately.
• Know your client.The type of sales and customer service we provide needs to be completely focused on relationship-based selling, but far too many companies simply view calls as transactions. Technicians treat clients as “just another service call” instead of focusing on really getting to know their true wants, needs and desires. We must focus on the fact that when we initially arrive at the home we are nothing short of strangers, but by the time we make a formal presentation covering our options sheet we must develop a relationship strongly built on trust and the interests of our clients.
• Know your company.It is imperative that selling technicians believe in the guiding values, mission and vision of the company itself. When communicating with clients, front line team members need to have complete clarity regarding the value your company brings to the client. This value shows up in different ways that should be demonstrated to the client so they understand why your value proposition is stronger than another company. These benefits include, but are not limited to, years in business, local ownership, warranty information, community service and so forth.
Get creative and train your team about exactly what makes your company the best choice for the client.
• Know your product.A couple months ago I was in St. Louis performing my onsite In-Shop Experience training where we cover the content from Service Sales Success School, and I coach and ride along with the technicians. This happened to be one of the better companies in the country and it is always a treat to work with companies that really understand the importance of training and implementation.
One of the ways that exceptionally successful companies succeed is through covering multiple levels of customer interaction. Our service and sales training focuses on the importance of client education and the reality that if a front line team member can establish a certain level of likeability, credibility and trust they are well positioned to earn that individual’s business.
However, those things standing on their own are often not enough to get the sale and keep that person from “getting another quote” or “thinking about it” or a variety of real (and false) objections that we receive in the field on a daily basis. They are necessary components, because you must have built a relationship and have a connection with the client in order for them to say yes to you, your company and service. Those are imperative just to get a shot at this client becoming one of yours.
Once you have established the benchmarks of trust and credibility, it becomes crucial that a technician knows their product. If a technician is presenting a product or service on an options sheet, then they better know the features and benefits relating to how that product or service can make a positive impact for that client.
If a team member doesn’t know and conveyhow that product or service will benefit that client, they are doing nothing more than attempting to sell them something. I’m not saying it might not be something that they need, but I am saying that they won’t be able to fully understand the “why” behind the need for the service and they can become confused.
A confused person will not become a client. Most of the time they won’t even ask for further explanation, they will just give a lip service objection and you will not gain a client. People don’t ask all the questions they have, and they don’t like to feel dumb. As their educated service providers, it is our professional responsibility to be able to clearly communicate why they might want or need to invest in our specific options.
After my event in St. Louis, the lovely Christy and I found a place to have brunch near our hotel before we went to do some sight-seeing and ascend to the top of the Gateway Arch. Upon entering this restaurant we felt that we were in for a good experience. The hostess sat us, immediately our server met us with a pitcher of water and the outstanding service began.
Christy and I both had questions about the menu and were ultimately stuck between two items each on this extensive menu. When we asked for comparisons, he launched into explanation mode and I felt like Wolfgang Puck himself was teaching me how to make a short rib omelet! This server really knew the menu, how their chefs prepared the dishes, what the presentations were like and how to match menu items to his guest’s desires.
After a great brunch and being presented with the bill, I thanked him for his product knowledge and exceptional service by saying, “Thank-you for really knowing your stuff.” He smiled and quickly said back to me, “Thank-you sir, but our food is far too superior for me not to know my stuff.” He feels that he penalizes a customer if he can’t effectively match a menu item with what they are looking for because his product is so good.
What about you and your team? Do your front line service providers have the knowledge in the four key areas to create the ultimate service experience? Are you training your technicians so they really know this critical information? Aren’t your products and services just like this restaurant — simply too exceptional for your team to be unable to effectively communicate the superior value by doing business with your company?
In order to accomplish your goals this year, focus on giving your team members the knowledge they need to provide your customers with the best service possible. Communicate, coach, increase the level of knowledge in your company and get ready to have your best year yet.