Be The Expert At Every Level

With all of the traveling and training I do with owners, managers and technicians, I’m always amazed at the difficulty some people have with being the “expert”. I can understand that we don’t want to be arrogant, egotistical, or come off as we’re the “know it all” type person. However, our customers are calling us based on the simple fact that we are experts in something that they are not.

People pay for expert advice and solutions!

If you can get your front line team to embrace three words while working with prospects and customers, I would implement into their vocabulary, “In my professional opinion…” then finish the sentence however you’d like. The challenge is that when I’m onsite with clients and riding with technicians they undermine their expertise FAR more than they share it.

Many of our technicians have a challenge with the word salesperson. This isn’t anything new for sure. It’s actually getting better all across the country, but still a few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch if we’re not managing our culture and what we represent. That’s an entirely different column, so today we’ll stick with the fact that we don’t appear as the expert near as much as our customer would like.

I see great things happen when technicians are confident enough to give their expert opinion when a customer asks for it. We also know that people, including customers, don’t always ask all the questions they may have. This is why it’s vitally important that we share our expert opinion about what might be in their best interest as an expert.

They’ve hired us to come into their home and make recommendations, educate them on their systems as it relates to our products and services, from our expert opinion. We are actually penalizing them if we don’t share what our thoughts are when it comes to repairs and/or upgrades that might be necessary today or coming in the future. It’s just good quality communication!

“But Kenny, if I position myself as an expert, does that mean I have to know everything??”

Of course not! I believe this is one area technicians short change themselves on what they know because they don’t know everything. How can you possibly know everything about your primary trade? Your team certainly knows a lot, but they can’t possibly know everything. That’s okay; it’s about effort and finding the right information for the customer if we don’t currently have an answer at our disposal. Customers are fine with this, as long as we communicate with them.

Answer questions directly from your perspective about what is best for them. I was recently on an HVAC maintenance call when a customer asked the technician what the average life span is for an air conditioner. The technician quickly answered, “Well, it depends, but I was on a call yesterday that had a 30 year old unit that was working fine!” WHAT THE…?

First of all, the customer didn’t ask about his calls yesterday, he asked what average life span is. We all know it’s NOT 30 years, and it was NOT working just fine if it was compared side by side with one of today’s high efficiency units. The technician made a judgment that the equipment was fine because he didn’t have to replace it. Was it fine for the customer based on their wants and needs? I don’t know because I wasn’t on that call with him, but I know these situations happen all the time. Train your front line to embrace the fact that they are experts. Create a company culture of experts that can be represented at every level for your customers and watch your average tickets and profits improve immediately.

Kenny