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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The profession of salesman, like lawyer has taken on a bit of the negative aspect due to the “Used Car Salesman” portrayal in movies, news and real life.

But if you are going to be a successful contractor, you have to have a bit of the salesman in you and hopefully if you are in service your service techs will have some sales skills as well.

I have heard about residential companies that pay their employees by sales, selling needed or sometimes unneeded services, I am really not talking about this, though it works for some, not my cup of tea.

I seldom if ever do cold calls. I am more into meeting new customers and handling the service call like a sales call, while addressing their issue, I ask about them and their hobbies families and while this may sound HOKEY, most people care little or nothing about you, your kids and prefer not to hear about that, I give them an opening and let them talk. Customers (people) want to tell you about their wives, kids, job and troubles. At some point I explain the other services we offer ask them have they had an IR, EPM, PQ or load survey. If the service call is something simple but requires additional repairs during a power outage I seldom charge for this call. Today I landed two major jobs just because the customer was shocked (SURPRISED I DID NOT SAY SHOCKED) that I would not bill him for my time. My time is calculated as overhead though I typically have between 10-30 hours (rough guess) billable a week.

I also use to offer free seminars to management companies to teach their facility personnel what to expect as part of a generator service agreement, IR Scan, EPM, or what to do if the GFP trips as you are waiting for a professional to check the system.

In addition I use to teach night classes to NAPE (National Association of Power Engineers) a good group of guys. I still hear from past students and this was I left teaching 12 years ago.


I have taken a few sales courses and found some of it bunk, but if you can get a few good ideas from a class it is worth the effort.

Few things I think are important.
  • Let them talk as mentioned they really do not care about you, unless they are close friends as many customers may become. A few questions can get the shyest person talking.
  • Do not discuss politics, my team, your team sports or at a minimum do not argue with them (I have seen this).
  • Dress clean and Levis and a clean shirt is all necessary avoid baseball hats with team logos and stupid sayings.
  • Do not smoke with them unless they light up first.
  • Pick up the tab for the coffee, lunch ECT. Allow your employees the same. I.E. buying the customer lunch. That is trusted employees.
  • Be careful with gifts (pens, baseball tickets, ECT.) as some companies have policies against this.
  • Careful with the jokes, his wife may be blond, Polish, Irish, French (for our English friends), from West Virginia or whoever your state picks on, gay and racial, ECT.
  • Never criticize the last guy to do electric work in the facility; it may be his brother, him, or one of your current employees. Trashing your competition lowers you.
  • Saty off your cell phone when with a customer EXCEPT in or with emergencies.
 

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Likewise Brian.

I find that being all that a human being should be and this includes all that he shouldn't be is often enough to weigh in your favour at a customer meeting. It works in daily life too!

Frank
 
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