Upselling for Geeks: How to Turn Your Field Support Team into Sellers

March 17, 2016
Upselling for Geeks: How to Turn Your Field Support Team into Sellers

Sales can be hard, and a great field support team that has a successful method for upselling can make your sales efforts a whole lot easier.

If the technical staff isn’t helping as much as you’d like, it may not be their fault.

As a trainer in the technical staff field, I’ve discovered gaps that I believe fall under the responsibility of sales management. How is this qualified? Well, if your client-facing technical staff can’t answer these three questions, it’s time to re-evaluate and re-focus.

Upselling Opportunity

Can your technical staff answers the following questions?

  1. What is our company strategy?
  2. What is our value proposition to the client?
  3. What is our client’s strategy? Or, what is their strategy to solving problems?

All too often I hear the same story from mid-level and upper-level sales managers.

“My technical people get too deep into the data or product features—they can’t put it in strategic terms and tell me what it means or why it’s important.”

This statement is often followed up by, “when it comes down to it, the technical support staff doesn’t know how to tell a story.”

Story Telling

You’ve likely heard that in order to really reach a customer, you must tell a story. So, why do so many otherwise brilliant people struggle with what seems to be such a simple task for others?

I believe it all comes down to proper training.

As a business leader, a large part of the job is to providing staff with the tools they need to succeed. While you may not rely on your technical staff to make a sale, they do impact the direction of a sale or an upselling opportunity.

If you want your client or customer to say, “Yes, these guys really understand our challenges,” it’s important to understand your own staff first.

So, before training your field engineers, ask them the three prerequisite questions below.

Upselling for Geeks: How to Turn Your Field Support Team into Sellers

1. What is our company strategy?

First, as a sales manager, can you answer this question?

I remember asking a well-regarded director, “what is your strategy to grow in this market?” The answer was a lot of gobbledygook, followed by complaints about his staff.

My point: you can’t expect your staff to implement your strategy if they—or you—don’t understand it. If you’re looking for a place to start, A.G. Lafley’s Play to Win is a great resource.

2. What is our value proposition to the client?

This question can be very tricky and nuanced. What is your buyer’s real motivation for buying your product or service?

For example, if your firm specializes in quality control and you’d like to sell a consulting engagement to the Honda CEO, how would you do that? Would you tell him your clients typically see a 5x ROI? Probably not. Maybe you’d say, “my firm can prevent the embarrassment of a massive recall.” (Yes, he just stepped down in the wake of a very embarrassing massive recall.)

3. What is our client’s strategy? Or, what is their strategy to solving problems?

Often your clients do not have a strategy, and this is a great opportunity for your sales staff to help the client to create one.

It’s important for your technical staff to understand this strategy before they can be truly helpful. So, get them involved in the discovery process. When your support staff knows and understands the clients problems instead of just what you’re trying to sell—you’re much more likely to succeed.

Want to turn your field support team into sellers that understand the skills of upselling? Start with the three questions above. Once your team understands what clients really want and need, you’ve set the stage for a great engagement.

Have experience with upselling for geeks? We’d love to hear your feedback—please comment below.

About the Author:

Gordon Adelsberg CEO Communication for Geeks

Gordon Adelsberg is CEO of Communication for Geeks and Principal at Adelsberg Consulting. His motto? “Just imagine if your technical folks were great in front of customers and could help you sell.” Join him on Twitter @WeTeachGeeks.

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