Sales Skill: Use Maintenance to Build Customer Loyalty
Maintaining existing lighting and HVAC systems can be cumbersome and extremely frustrating for many customers. Products can have early failure rates (including LEDs), and replacement parts may be discontinued, expensive or impossible to locate. This leads to uncertainty for customers on what their next steps may be and how they resolve these issues. You can be the key to solving these problems! If you focus on customer needs and provide solutions for your clients, sales will follow.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are your team members trained to identify potential upgrade opportunities when onsite at a customer’s facility? You may find that when you assist customers with a simple maintenance request, having that expertise and awareness can open the door to a conversation about a more significant upgrade opportunity. If certain team members are not sales-oriented, they can be encouraged to pass along these opportunities to the sales staff.
- Does your team feel comfortable asking questions to identify problem areas? Existing buildings have multiple mechanical and lighting systems and it can be difficult to uncover the customer’s true needs without asking questions. For example, “I noticed that multiple employees have plug-in space heaters at their desks, have you received any feedback from your employees regarding their comfort level?” The more information you gather from a customer while onsite will increase your potential sales opportunities. Consider putting together a list of questions that your maintenance staff can keep with them to make these conversations easier.
- Do you actively look for and pursue these opportunities? For instance, is this part of your standardized training for sales, maintenance and field staff? If there are expectations that all team members actively look for and communicate potential leads, make sure you have a plan to track leads once identified.
- Are you working with existing and past customers to maintain their systems? If so, do you have a maintenance plan in place with them? If not, you could be missing the chance to upgrade or expand their lighting, mechanical and control systems. If you are routinely servicing the customer, you are building a loyal client who will not only reach out to you first with any need but will also actively promote you and your services.
For customers who aren’t technically-savvy, there can be a lot of misinformation about their equipment and systems. People assume that when they buy new fixtures or equipment, their maintenance problems go away. How can your focus on maintenance help your customers?
- Keeps problems small. By helping them stay on top of maintenance, any minor problems will be resolved before they become bigger issues.
- Avoids waste. Equipment in need of repair can affect its energy efficiency. You’ll help reduce energy waste, which has an impact on operating costs as well.
- Avoids surprises. Over time, you may help your customer determine that equipment needs an upgrade. By being proactive, you’ll give them plenty of time to review their replacement options and find a solution that fits their budget.
Working with clients on their equipment maintenance can be the path to long term loyalty and creation of new opportunities. We live in a connected world and if your customer is happy with the solutions you provide, they will actively promote you to their network. Consider these benefits the next time you are with your customer and put into practice a way to capture this potential to increase your business.