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Engaging technicians in business development can pay dividends: consultant

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by Patricia Williams

Engaging field technicians in business development can pay dividends for mechanical service contractors, says Aurora management consultant Jim Baston.
Engaging technicians in business development can pay dividends: consultant

Engaging field technicians in business development can pay dividends for mechanical service contractors, says Aurora management consultant Jim Baston.

Capitalizing on relationships forged with customers by technicians can help firms grow their businesses, reduce competition and increase customer satisfaction levels, he told the Mechanical Service Contractors of Canada.

“Our customers buy two things when they purchase a product or a service from us,” Baston said. “These are a solution to the problem and the experience of doing business with us.”

Baston, president of BBA Consulting Group Inc., said service technicians have a special bond with customers, based on a high level of trust. But by and large, firms are not fully leveraging these “unique” relationships.

Technicians can play a “proactive” role in business development in part by understanding the service contracting firm’s “unique selling proposition” and looking for opportunities to tell the firm’s story to customers.

Field personnel also are in a position to recognize and discuss opportunities for the firm to help customers achieve their business objectives.

As well, they can work with the firm’s management and/or sales team to secure new business.

Yet there are some hurdles that must be overcome if field staff are to become an integral part of a firm’s business development strategy, said Baston, who has a master’s degree in business administration and more than 20 years of experience in industry.

One such challenge is the tech’s jaded view of sales personnel.

Baston said the term salesperson can conjure up “some unsavoury images of white-shoed, white-belted and pushy individuals prepared to do or say almost anything to get the sale.”

The solution is to provide the field personnel with training “that ensures that any new business opportunities that are identified are based on solving the needs of the customer, not on the need to sell the services.

“This subtle change in approach directs the field service technicians to change their focus from their firm and their services to their customer.”

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