The Technician Who Could Not Sell

Years ago, we bought an expensive photo copy machine for our business. The “Sales Rep” got us to sign the contract, made their commission and went on to find the next customer. We never saw them again. However, at least once every 3 months, a “technician” would come to our offices to service the machine. As he was a “technical person”, he never asked us any “sales” questions. He never asked if we needed paper (we were not even aware that their company sold paper.) He never asked us if we would like additional functionality, such as scanning or faxing (we never knew the machine could do that.) He never offered to upgrade us to a newer, more suitable machine (we thought ours was doing just fine!)

The company never thought to give the technician some basic sales skills, such as creative questioning techniques, to enable them to at least uncover upselling or cross- selling possibilities. Obviously, the company missed many opportunities to serve their customer better and also to make more money. (This is the ultimate win/win in sales – to serve our customer, make a bigger difference and make more money.)

I have a favourite saying on my sales training courses – “Life is a pitch and then you buy!” What this means is that, in some way or another, every one of us is involved in sales of some sort – even if sales is not our job title.

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