August 12, 2013
Employee evaluations typically measure performance across a broad — often too broad — range of skills, proficiencies, and achievements. Even so, one crucial element is always missing:
Of course that’s not true for salespeople… but almost every employee, regardless of their position, should have a role in sales. (And here’s why all of us, regardless of our positions, should work hard to develop sales skills.)
Here’s an example. A HVAC tech came to our house to perform scheduled maintenance on our heat pumps. I showed him the different units. After I blew my nose for the second time he said, "Do you have a cold?"
"No," I replied, "I think it’s allergies or something. Happens every winter."
"That’s too bad," he said. Then he went to work.
About an hour later he popped in my office and said, "All done. Everything’s good to go."
As I signed the work order he said, "You know, as I was checking out your units I thought about your sinus problems. I took a second and measured the humidity in your house. It’s really low even for this time of year. If you have sinus problems every winter, part of the reason could be that the air in your house is so dry."
I was definitely interested, so he showed me how his meter worked and we talked about relative humidity — a subject that had somehow suddenly become fascinating.
"You can add moisture to the air by installing a humidifier on your inside units," he said. "All you have to do is change the filters every month or so. I noticed both inside units have water pipes nearby, so the installation would be really easy."
We talked some more: He knew specs, prices, talked about various options (like only installing a humidifier on the upstairs unit where the bedrooms are), and used his tablet to check inventory and get an estimate for when units could be installed.
After about five minutes I was sold. I signed a work order and he entered my appointment into their master schedule. Done.
And he was a service technician, not a salesperson.
Why was a technician able to "sell" me?
He didn’t take a generic, "Do you want fries with that?" approach. He noticed a specific problem and found ways to solve it.
He provided detailed information. He knew the humidity levels in my house, knew how an installation would go, knew units were in stock, etc. He was able to explain exactly how he could solve my problem.
He had the tools to close the sale — on the spot. He provided a quote and was even able to schedule the appointment, avoiding the, "Maybe I should think about this awhile…" black hole many potential sales fall into.
Best of all, he didn’t bring in a "salesperson." Do you like being shifted to a salesperson after you’ve established rapport with someone? I don’t either.
A couple days after the humidifiers were installed the owner of the business called to make sure we were happy. I told him I was impressed by his technician’s initiative in suggesting humidifiers, and how easy he had made the process.
"Thanks," he said, "But that’s really not initiative. It’s his job to look for ways we can help customers, and it’s our job to give him the tools to make that happen."
Almost every employee is, in some way, involved in sales. If they’re not, they should be.
Determine how different employees "touch" your customers, identify ways they can solve problems or provide additional benefits (which also means generate additional sales and revenue) and make sure they have the tools to complete those sales on their own — or at least come as close as possible to closing those sales.
Then measure, and more importantly reward, employee performance based on your expectations.
Your employees will appreciate the trust you place in them and as they help grow your business… and best of all, your business will feel a little more like their business.
I also write for Inc.com:
5 Most Important Words in Sales
One Killer Sales Tactic You’ve Forgotten to Use
Sales: Without This Skill, You Won’t Succeed
(Photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net user dan)
Featured on:Leadership & Management
Posted by:Jeff Haden