In the Big Discussion we will take one topic, bring together three leading experts on that topic and put four key questions to them to help us better understand its potential impact on the field service sector...
So with three fantastic experts lined up lets dive straight into the first question of the series...
It is often said service technicians are the greatest salesmen – what are your views on this?
Service technicians bring a perspective and outlook that makes them great at sales in certain situations. For example, where the sale solves a critical problem for the customer.
Basically, customers appreciate the fact that service technicians are problem solvers and place the customer’s need first. As a result, the service technician has trust and credibility with the customer.
In turn, the customer is highly likely to act on the service technician’s recommendations. Sometimes, the only way a technician can solve the customer’s problem is by having them buy something new like a spare part, new piece of equipment, or value-added service offering.
In these situations, the sale is not viewed as a sale at all by the customer but merely as an attempt by the technician to solve the customer’s problem.
To believe service technicians are the greatest salesmen is to misunderstand the true skills of sales professionals. These are people who have the skills, mind-set and drive required to identify and close new customer opportunities.
It is very different from the more nurturing and customer focused individuals usually found in field service. That said, selling is a team effort and many people are involved in to the GoTo market process. In some respect everyone sells the company and the service technician has an important a role as anyone else. Through being the person who sees the customer more than pretty much anyone else in the organisation, they are ideally positioned to advise the customer on services that can improve value, or identify new opportunities.
But playing an active role in the sales process should not be confused with the sales professional who is accountable for closing deals.
I guess it depends on your definition of “salesperson”. If you mean the ability to recognise opportunities and be successful in helping the customer make a decision to purchase, then this statement is true.
Field service professionals are in a unique position. They understand the technology and where it is going. They know the equipment the customer has and what they are trying to achieve. They have proximity to the customer and generally high levels of trust.
However, I have concerns over the term “salespeople” when it comes to field service professionals.
I take the perspective that when a field service professional brings a product or service that will benefit the customer in some way to that customer’s attention, then that is a service rather than a sale. It’s part of the value that the field service professional brings. It is every bit as important as that field service professional’s ability to troubleshoot and repair.
Those field service professionals that recognise this are usually very successful because they see their role as helping the customer and the customer has confidence in the validity of their recommendations and trust in their motives.
Look out for the next part of this series when we ask our panel "Is there a difference between selling service and selling products?"