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As a salesperson, your relationship with your customer should never end at the installation.
The true value of a sale doesn’t come until long after the first purchase order has come through. The real value comes from the service contract.
Service plans are important for businesses and clients alike. Your company gets consistent contracts and customer loyalty. Clients benefit from maintenance, support, and long-term financial savings. Even so, driving that contract conversation is a widespread challenge. Customers don’t always see the need up front and, worse, might actually be suspicious at the suggestion of a service contract. You have to show the client why they can’t afford to pass up on the contract.
Read on for five unmissable tips to successfully selling service contracts.
1. Build it into your sales process
Don’t discount the numbers game. If you’re not discussing service contracts with every single customer, you’re cutting your profits short. Even if a client has not expressed an interest in a service contract, you must go over the benefits with them, one by one. Embed it into your sales process. Some companies include an itemized list of service contract prices in their quotes; others provide a document package with services and benefits. Whatever tack you take, make sure that talk happens somewhere between cold call and installation.
2. Start the discussion early
Always start the service plan conversation early, preferably at the time of installation or the installation sale. If you leave it too long — until the warranty is up or about to expire — you leave it too late. By starting the discussion early, you can ensure a smooth transition between installation, warranty, and service plan. Similarly, be sure to bring up service plan renewals early on. You should contact your clients a few months before their service contract is set to expire, to reevaluate their needs and refine their plan.
3. Provide robust and flexible solutions
Not every client is the same, and it’s important to recognize that in their contracts. Provide a variety of robust solutions, and tailor plans to the customer’s needs. If the client is less experienced with building automation systems or has a small controls team, you might want to include training, remote support, and quarterly visits. If the client is larger and more experienced, you can take a hands-off approach. Rather than structured tiers, mix and match solutions so the client can customize their contract. Not sure what sorts of services to include? Read the top five resources that should be in your service contract (that you haven’t thought of).
4. Be aware of budgets
Don’t offer your clients a choice between everything (for an exorbitant price) or nothing at all. Service contracts are budget-friendly because they’re a single annual expense, as opposed to sporadic, unpredictable, potentially expensive maintenance and emergency visits. Still, your client’s department might not have the budget for some jacked up service contract, and that shouldn’t be their only option. Don’t bleed your customers dry. Adapt your service plan offerings to the client’s budgetary restraints. If they need more hands-on help but don’t have the budget for it, prioritize certain service solutions and edit out the excess. Then, build contracts from year to year, as you learn exactly what the customer needs.
5. Build relationships
A good service contract should help you build customer loyalty, by keeping you front of mind. Don’t depend on the service contract to do all of the heavy-lifting for you, though; the relationship won’t build itself. When your client has a service contract, it becomes even more important to make them feel important. Use the service contract as a means to show your customer that you are the best vendor, with the best products, providing the best service. If all goes well, the service plan is just one step towards a strong, long-lasting vendor-customer relationship.
Send your customers the top three reasons they need a service contract.
Posted by Monica McMahen
Marketing Manager, Optigo Networks