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“Sell” Isn’t A ‘Four-letter’ Word

One of the aspects of being a technical professional is providing customer service in the process of doing what we do relative to troubleshooting and reparing HVAC equipment. And, providing customer service means that in addition to accomplishing our assigned “hands-on” tasks, part of our job is to sell to the customer. No doubt, some technicians will bristle at the thought that they are engaging in any type of sales process, but, whether they want to admit or not, in order to do their job well, they are, in addition to being a technician, a salesperson.

The reason many technicians have a problem with what I just said above, is that they are part of a society that often presents people who sell goods or services for a living in a negative light. It’s true. Pay close attention to a T.V. commercial that features a “typical” salesperson sometime, and what you’ll note is that terms like smarmy, pushy, dishonest, etc…will come to mind. And it isn’t just modern media that propagates this character. It’s been this way for a long time. In the classic play “The Music Man” the music teacher decides that in order to get parents to buy the instruments needed for lessons, he’ll convince them that if they don’t make the necessary purchase, their kids will go straight to hell. Now, that’s hard sell, isn’t it?

And what about the long-ago T.V. sit-com “WKRP In Cincinnati”.

In that show there was a cast of characters….a couple of cool guys who were disc jockeys, a relatively incompetent but harmless station manager, a weatherman/sports guy who didn’t get much respect, a blonde receptionist….and a sneaky schnook of a guy who wore the same sports jacket to work every day, spent a good deal of his time leering at, and making pitiful (and obviously hopeless) moves on the receptionist, and was just in general depicted in a negative light. And, what was his job at the station? He was the salesperson.

And, it goes on….used car salesmen are depicted as ripping people off, insurance salesmen are considered a relentless nuisance who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer, etc, etc, etc….

Well, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can be a technical professional and a sales professional at the same time whether you’re just making sure the customer understands what they’re paying for when it comes to their purchase of the parts, supplies, and your expertise in the process of getting equipment repaired, or whether you’re offering them additional services or products in an add-on sales presentation, or, you’re explaining what’s in it for them when they say yes to the  purchase and installation of new equipment. The bottom line is that it all comes down to intent.

If your intent is to make as much money or earn as much commission as possible while providing goods and services to a customer, then, yes, that’s being a “typical salesperson”. But, if you honestly believe that what you are offering provides good value for the customer’s money spent (no matter what the ‘price’ is) and that they’ll benefit from their purchase from you, then, yes, you are engaged in the process of professional selling. You’re completing the sale that the company you work for or own started via marketing and advertising efforts and scheduling of a service call; you’re selling yourself; you’re selling the price and value of the repair you’re accomplishing; you’re selling the customer on the idea that they no longer have to search for someone to take care of their HVAC equipment repair and maintenance needs because you’re now their go-to person for all that. And, you’re selling when you make them aware of additional products or services they can purchase in order to have more peace of mind and be more comfortable.

Yes, you’re a salesperson. And when you tell someone that part of what you do is “sell”, you’re not using a “four-letter word”.

 Until next week…..

Jim Johnson

Learn from yesterday….Live for today….Look forward to tomorrow