During peak seasons, your competition would gladly eat your lunch if you settled back. Here’s a big time warning: Do NOT get pulled under the mat by service calls.

It’s quite easy to do. You get a bunch of calls, you think you’re busy, your guys work 72-hour weeks, and when you take a breath sometime in early-fall, you find that you’ve spent the summer fixing instead of installing. Oh well, maybe next year.

If you’re getting tons of service calls, when would it be wise to offer a service or product upgrade? When the tech is at the home. What about a maintenance agreement? What about offering the three-option close: “repair, replace, or upgrade?”

Your techs can see opportunities for upsells — if they look for them. But it’s not always easy for them to do what you might think is so obvious.

Technicians can have a hard time “morphing” from tech to salesman. They’re technicians and usually not salespeople. To help, you can do one of two things. You can have them call in a “field rep” for a second opinion when the opportunity is there (and pay a bonus if it sells). Or, you can have them trained by your salespeople or pro trainers to overcome objections, and capitalize on sales situations.

Most companies expect techs to know what to say when a sale is in front of them, but it’s just not so. Would you expect a pure salesperson to know how to install a sink, tune an air conditioner, or run wiring? No. So, why do you expect techs to sell without training?

Arm your technicians with the words and tools to capitalize on good opportunities. This could include a few phrases to “paint” the sales picture; three ways to overcome objections; three “do-all” sales closes; or a few comfort guarantees. They must have the sales tools they need to complete the upsell.

All technicians should know how to sell benefits of replacing an older system. All technicians should be schooled on energy savings (especially in regard to the age of the system), repair savings, new system warranties, property value increase, financing, and overall comfort.

At the end of the service, they should be taught to ask, “Would you like to save $10 in 10 seconds?” and have them go into your maintenance agreement offer. It’s closing questions like that, that open doors to more sales (there are more in the free booklet at the end of this article.)

Your techs should carry a price book, and last but not least, they should get some sort of incentive for selling benefits to the customer. This incentive is most likely a commission on the sale, or a simple $100 on a split, $200 on a full system, or whatever.

Make sure you impress upon them that “selling” should meet a real need, not take advantage of a customer you are serving. The first time you catch someone selling a system that the customer really could’ve gone without, immediate walking papers are in order.

The better you develop a tech’s skills, the better your profits are likely to improve. The tech is there. The need is there. The customer can buy. Why don’t you all get together?

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Call 800/489-9099 to ask about the new Service and Maintenance Agreement Power Pack, a turnkey product that provides all the tools contractors need to create their own maintenance agreement. For a free marketing newsletter, contractors can fax their letterhead with the request to 334-262-1115 or check out www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.