Realize the Reality—Step 5 in the 5 Steps to Selling Services Success
As mentioned before in this blog, it is important to stay the course. Things may get worse before they get better; overall sales volume may dip before it goes up. People will complain and look for every possible reason why this selling services thing is a terrible idea. You will need to stick to your guns as people test how serious you are. It is hard to do, but again, firing your number one box seller, Ace Flanagan, when he refuses to try and sell services sends a powerful message.
The other critical fact is that understanding and articulating the invisible is much more challenging than discussing feeds and speeds, features and functions. What you think, what you say, and what you do are different when selling services.
A few people adapt quickly and intuitively, most people, over time, can be adequate at selling intangibles given enough training, tools, and reinforcement, but another group will never quite get it. Not because they are bad people or don’t try, but because they are wired differently. From a sales management perspective, this is a very big deal.
Even if you follow all of this advice exactly as outlined, and I hope you do, about one in three product salespeople will not be successful in selling services. (Hey, it’s not their fault—they were hired to sell boxes.) You should understand this from the beginning and be prepared to help them find new jobs inside or outside the company.
So there you have it—the Five Steps to Selling Services Success. Getting the sales force to effectively sell services is critical to long-term success in seriously selling services. Sadly, the common approaches most executives take to bring about this change just don’t work. To be effective, all aspects of the sales performance system musty be changed, coupled with solid training, backed by strong reinforcement, and supported by a leadership team willing to make some tough calls to make sure that the change sticks.
It takes at least a year to yield meaningful results and often three years to make them effective. Yet, do not despair. Future blog entries will outline the steps to kick-start selling services by getting everyone who touches the customer involved in the selling services process.