A recent poll by a trade publication asked readers to identify the Top 3 effective ways to increase profits for their business. Traditionally polls of this nature generated answers that were focused on reducing costs and improving productivity. I found this poll interesting in that the responses went in another direction.
- Reduce expenses associated with callbacks/do job right the first time
- Turn more leads into sales
- Sell more to existing clients
- Do a better job prospecting for new customers
(Other items: healthcare costs, collections, raise prices, employee morale, etc.)
As you can see only the first selection refers to an operations focused issue. The remaining items listed are sales related. Taking it one step further I see items 2 – 4 as service marketing opportunities, not just sales opportunities. Field employees and in-office support personal typically far outnumber those individuals focused solely on sales. They speak with, or meet with, huge numbers of existing customers and potential new clients daily. The irony is that most are not trained on how to communicate and develop these prospects into additional revenue. They are often asked to turn over a lead to sales for follow up. The problem is without training these individuals don’t always recognize an opportunity when it’s not presented to them in a direct fashion. They also don’t know what information they need to forward a lead that has some pre-qualification that will enhance the sales person’s opportunity. And in many cases they could close the sale themselves if they had the tools and training.
It’s not hard to claim that every day revenue opportunities are overlooked by firms in the service industry. It’s not a matter of if they are missed, but how much revenue and profit is lost daily. It’s time to give technical and support staff some sales skills training.