Early this century at a large services company where I was a sales coach for five years, one particular guy had been the top salesperson for ten straight years. I made it a point to get to know this fellow and eventually convinced him to tell me his story for a cameo interview that was shared with his peers.
Having never sold anything before, he came to this company after answering an ad in his local newspaper. The manager told him that he had been instructed to hire 3 people by week’s end, so since Terry was breathing pretty well, he was hired. He went home and told his wife that he probably wouldn’t make it as a salesperson, but decided to go for it since the job provided a 3-month salary guarantee. He figured those 90 days would give him time to determine his next move.
He became a sponge and soaked up everything he was taught, although he really didn’t sell much during that 3 month probation period. He wanted to quit most every day and experienced lots of rejection. He had been days from leaving the company more than once, but his wife, who was his cheerleader and motivator, kept encouraging him.
He finally found his niche, which was taking advice and getting leads and referrals from the installers in the service department. With places to go and prospects to talk to, he really started to catch fire. By the end of his first full year Terry earned a high profile company-wide incentive trip to a tropical island, and hasn’t missed winning an annual company trip since, not to mention earning a six-figure annual income. Just think where he and his family might be today if he had quit instead of hooking up with his service team. How much sales revenue would this company never have seen had he thrown in the towel?
Since service personnel come in contact with a large number of prospects that sales reps can sell collateral services and products to each day, why don’t you consider teaming up with them and begin picking this low-hanging fruit?
It is vital to build solid relationships with service employees so they will want to provide leads to you. Typically they give leads and referrals only to salespeople they like, and those who can also close sales. If you are wondering why, it’s because typically any available lead fees are only paid to service employees if the sales are closed.
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To that end here are some ideas designed to help you secure more leads from your service department:
- Build and/or strengthen relationships by spending time with service employees as they make deliveries,perform installations, or provide routed services. Physically help them do whatever they ask, and spend time communicating, in order to really get to know them.When you are physically present with them, they can better position you for follow-up with their customers. Also, if they are unfamiliar with a particular product/service, or if you have a new offering, you might use your time together to coach them to help generate a joint income opportunity.A ride-along is also a good time for you to place door hangers or make contact with neighboring businesses or homeowners, as long as you don’t hold up the service employee when they are ready to go to their next customer.
- While working with service employees, buying lunch is a great investment. Use this time together to ask them to share ideas concerning homes or businesses where they have recognized needs you might pursue.
- Keep service employees supplied with your business cards and teach them the three-card technique. This method simply involves giving every suspect three business cards, instead of one. Ask them to keep one and promise to give the other two to a friend or acquaintance, making this a good way to gain more market penetration and establish a bigger footprint.
- When you do receive leads from service employees, communicate with them regularly about your progress and of course, share outcomes, whether sold, lost, or pending. This will foster better relations and keep them in the loop for follow-up they may need to provide to help you secure future sales.
- It’s a great strategy to always keep an ice chest in your vehicle during warm weather and a hot thermos in the winter. This way you are able to provide some refreshment for service folks as you cross paths with them during their workday. What better way to convince them that you are on their team.
Terry has created a very successful career by partnering with service personnel, in the same way that Joe Girard did in the automobile sales business in the 1960’s and ‘70’s. If you aren’t securing lots of your sales leads in this manner, you are really overlooking an outstanding source for viable prospects.
©2016 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC