Technicians are skilled experts and, as such, have to make recommendations to customers about what needs to be done to take care of issues. But that’s not where it stops. As an expert, the technician also has to help the customer figure out how to get it done. This means they have to recommend a solution and then ask the customer to do it. Many times, we see the tech asking the customer to buy too soon, too vaguely, or not at all. Some techs assume the customer knows what to buy and when to buy it. By asking too soon, too vaguely, or not at all, the tech risks getting into awkward territory with the customer, making it hard for them to recover. This continues the cycle with the next customer.
Here are three things to do to make sure you can ask for the order at the right time in the right way.
- Be Confident – Confidence comes from your knowledge, experience, and training. You should always be looking to increase your knowledge through reading and studying the technical processes of your trade. Also, study and master the customer communication skills you should be using every day. You’ll gain experience over time and can use the collective experience of other techs. Training helps you gain knowledge and practice of the skills you are learning. All of these things lead to a more confident attitude. Customers are more likely to buy from someone with confidence.
- Build Value – This point is about the timing of asking for the order. You must build value through your process. Raise awareness first, then stimulate. Use a color-coded checklist so you can be thorough. Educate the customer about the issues or products with evidence of why they need them. Always act ethically. Once you’ve stimulated the issue, the customer will have some level of desire to eliminate the issue. Once there is a desire to eliminate, offer solutions in the form of options. By doing these things in order, you build value. Only after you have built value should you ask the customer to buy.
- Be Direct – Too often, we see techs that are confident and build great value but fail to ask directly for the sale. It usually sounds like, “so what do you think of these options?” or something similar. You are not asking for the customer’s opinion about the options, you are asking them to buy one of them! Ask directly for what you want, like this, “I can do this work now. Should I get started?” or something similar. This is how you ask directly for what you want.
Asking for the order is the result of a great service call with a great process that allows you to show confidence and build value. After doing those things, be sure to ask the customer directly for what you want. Remember that you are the expert and would never ask the customer to do anything that isn’t in their best interest. Ask for the order knowing that you are an expert that can help. Don’t be afraid!
Chris Elmore is the Operations Director of Service Excellence Training. He leads the coaching team of SET and delivers front line coaching and consulting to clients.
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