Thursday, March 7, 2013

Should Your Technicians Be Selling Service? by Robert Spitz, Management Success!

Robert Spitz
Sr VP Production
Management Success!
In this industry, there are two schools of thought on this matter. I have heard arguments on both sides that are both good and bad at the same time. Let us take a look at this and come up with a consensus. First, we need to clarify a technician's job.

What Is a Technician's Job?

Defining what is wanted from a particular position in a company helps simplify what functions must be done to get the product or end result of that position. With a technician, it is fairly straight forward:

A technician must correctly diagnose, repair, and recommend any future needed repairs and services so that the vehicle does not have any immediate problems.

From this, we can draw up a list of actions that must be done to achieve the desired product or result. So where does sales fit into this picture?

Most shops are started by technicians who have more ability and drive than the other technicians in town. They have a desire to be their own boss and to have their own successful business. To survive, they quickly learn that they have to have some sales skills. Mixed with their technical skills, this can become a powerful combination. If they fail to learn even the most basic sales and management skills, their growth will stall, and so will their dreams. They eventually figure out they cannot do both jobs of selling and fixing cars. There are just not enough hours in the day.

In order to grow, technicians or sales people need to be hired. Of course, this requires new management skills on how to recruit, hire, and put people on the job so they can now produce in a volume that allows the business to grow and the owner to make money.

A technician earns a living by diagnosing and repairing vehicles. All of a technician’s time must be focused on these two functions. When we pull technicians off vehicles to deal with customers, they are now mixing the functions of sales into their job and are no longer doing what needs to be done to achieve the purpose of the position. This cuts heavily into their production and creates comebacks. So, organizationally, this does not make much sense.

When Using Technicians for Sales Does Makes Sense

There are times when using a technician to help close a sale makes sense. Sometimes the customer is skeptical or just does not understand even though you have used sales aids in your presentation. Using technicians as a “technical tag” can be very powerful in this instance. Knowing which technician to use and when to use him or her is a sales skill that all service writers need to have. The technician needs to be trained on how to do this and must keep the answers short and to the point. The service writer guides the customer back to the vehicle and asks the technician to show the customer why he recommended a particular repair.

Learn this technique and use it on those tough sales, and you will close a lot more. Sales people have a purpose and a function, and technicians have theirs. Do not mix up these jobs, but learn to use the strengths of both to your and the customer's benefit.

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