September 2018

The Low-Hanging Fruit

Learning to benefit from both easy and difficult sales leads…

What should the conversion rate of my salesperson be? I frequently hear this question, and while it’s a reasonable question to ask, the answer is always: It depends. More importantly, it depends on the level of relationship that you have with the person you want to influence into purchasing your products or services.

Clients with high conversion rates
Clients or customers with a broken system or an older system that needs replacing soon are the low-hanging fruit in your business. These customers offer high conversion rates—even achieving as much as 80%–90%. Clients and customers in these situations are in pain, and you’ve built trust with these loyal clients. They respect your business and want to deal with you.

An appointment with a salesperson is always set on a calendar by a dedicated office person.

An appointment with a salesperson is always set on a calendar by a dedicated office person.

The relay race metaphor
In a relay race, the service technician hands the sales baton to the salesperson. The service technician offers a free appointment with a sales representative. Here, I define “an appointment” as a day and time on a calendar for a comfort advisor or salesperson to visit the property to outline possible service and product options.

Setting up the appointment
Notice that an appointment is always set on a calendar and the service technician does not call a salesperson or provide a lead. In the office, an individual should own the responsibility for running the sales appointment calendar. We call these type of appointments “turnovers,” and these “turnovers” are the staple—the bread and butter—of your business. Treat these opportunities like gold.

Closing a turnover
What many people don’t realize is that it doesn’t take much skill to close a “turnover” with a client, especially when your business has served them for many years. Additionally, this is true when a system is down, and the weather is extreme—think summer and winter. A combination of pain and trust leads to high sales.
During consultation work with many businesses, this simple shift in the process has produced 35%–40% growth in revenue over the following year.
How can the technician contribute to these results?
The technician has to be trained to ask and set the appointment. Moreover, he or she should be motivated to ask and set these appointments by a spiff (salesperson bonus) of 2% of the sales price. To introduce another metaphor, think of the service technician as your “bird dog”—he or she finds the prize by asking and pulling the trigger. Once the appointment is set, it is a sure sale in most cases.

A successful call script
Let’s look at how to do this correctly. In my book The Service Call Blueprint, I reveal, in detail, the key to the service call process.
Technician: Mrs. Jones? Do you have a place where we can sit down and discuss what I found?
Mrs. Jones: Sure.
Technician: I found a concern with your _____ but there is no need to worry, I can fix it. However, your system is about the age where many of our clients consider replacing. Do you want to look at options to repair or options to replace?
Mrs. Jones: How much is a new one?
Technician: Well, that’s a good question, and I hear that a lot. Would you like to set an appointment for a comfort advisor to come out and talk to you about all those options?
Mrs. Jones: Well, when can he come out?
Technician: Let me get Jill on the phone, and she can schedule that for you.
Technician: Jill, this is Roger, and I am here with Mrs. Jones. She would like to set an appointment for a comfort advisor to come out and talk to you to hear about the possibility of replacing her system. Here she is.

Pass the baton to a person who sets the appointment. The first step in any sales process is setting the appointment, and it must be sold for free. Do not miss this simple process. Too often I’ve seen businesses lose out because the potential appointments are not booked when the technicians are with customers. When we neglect to schedule appointments, customers can change their mind—or the customers are never followed up with.
Set an appointment with the person in the office with the sole responsibility and authority to organize the calendar of the sales team or salesperson, depending on the size of your business.
Don’t allow the salesperson to answer the phone and book the appointments with leads. A team member should be dedicated to scheduling books, measures and accounts for the leads. The salesperson runs the calls and reports results. This is an issue of boundaries and who owns what. A salesperson owns the sales process and another person owns the salesperson’s calendar and measures appointment results.

Accountability
Without accountability, salespeople are notorious for creaming the leads, whereby a salesperson does not run the lead because he perceives it to be a problematic prospect or situation, or rushes through to the next appointment not willing to hang in tough. Why is this bad for your business? In this situation, the salesperson always takes the cream of the crop and conveniently does not run the difficult lead. Alternatively, he might only communicate with the lead over the phone, not taking the time to visit the property and build rapport, which is a must.
In my upcoming book, Lap 4, I outline why the salesperson must run the difficult lead and go through the sale process and not just pursue easier leads. Remember, always treat these problematic leads like gold, too.

Think of the service technician as your “bird dog,” the person who finds the prize by asking and pulling the trigger.

Think of the service technician as your “bird dog,” the person
who finds the prize by asking and pulling the trigger.

Limit the leads
Do not let salespeople run too many leads. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way when I gave my best salesperson 25 leads in a month, but he would close only about 18 of them. This salesperson worked on commission, and was dependent on this income for his high expenses. When I gave him 40 leads he would close about 22, and when I gave him 60 leads he would also close about 22 of them. In this case, he was creaming the leads. Lesson learned.
The right amount of leads is about 40 in a 20-day month. More than that and you risk the salesperson creaming leads. On certain days he or she may run three leads and on some days may run only one. Three leads is an extremely busy day when you consider travel time and sales skills.

The Service Call Blueprint
Let’s take a look at the method from The Service Call Blueprint. Sometimes a customer says to fix it, even after the technician executes the presentation as taught. When a customer wants the system fixed, the natural question arises : How much is a new one? Then the technician flows right into the turnover script, again, as taught. Each lap in the relay race must be run properly to maximize results:
Lap 1: Book the call properly.
Lap 2: Dispatch the call properly.
Lap 3: Use The Service Call Blueprint.
Lap 4: Booking, dispatching, running and selling the call.

Without a successful handover of the baton, your sales team won’t win the relay race in the final lap. In my upcoming book, I’ll focus on the final lap of the sales process and how to avoid a terrible lap. ICM
Roger Daviston is a cognitive behavioral specialist. His new book The Service Call Blueprint is available on Amazon.com. Watch The Service Call Blueprint webinar at rogerdaviston.com Twitter: @rogerdaviston

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