Q&A: Manufacturer gives tips for up-selling

By Steve Maling, director of marketing for Schneider Electric

Q: What are some common misconceptions about up-selling services?

A: Selling services may seem to be a harder sell as labor hours are intangible and the offer may seem more complex. In reality, the key to selling services is to be aware of the capabilities available. A good services distributor is able to recognize the customer need, often before the customer, and suggest a solution enabling you to become a trusted advisor.

Once a concern or need has been identified and the distributor has qualified the opportunity, the technical aspects will be handled by the services engineering alongside the distributor.

Knowing the full breadth of capabilities of your service group and being able to identity and discuss with the customer is paramount.

Q: What new opportunities do distributors have to sell in services in order to increase revenue streams?

A: A customer’s investment in new equipment can be maximized with the following services to help throughout the product’s life cycle:

  1. Spare parts
  2. Start-up and commissioning
  3. Engineering studies
  4. Maintenance contract
  5. Extended Warranty plan
  6. Training

Q: What are the best approaches for up-selling services?

A: There are four steps a distributor can take:

Step 1:  Understand your customer’s needs and know who to talk to

Step 2:  Be prepared to suggest a solution

Step 3:  Know the steps to take to qualify the opportunity and close the sale

Step 4:  Look for opportunities to offer more solutions

Q: How can distributors educate their customers on the value-added services they can provide?

A: Once you identify the service that meets a customer’s need, position the offer to address the concern and the benefit it will provide (peace of mind, enhanced safety or reliability, lower costs).

Distributors can also host customer events and increase market awareness by partnering with services. This can assist with customer awareness of the cost effective and reliable service capabilities available 

Q: What is the primary advantage of selling services?

A: Selling services enables you to follow-up with customers concerns while providing engineered solutions. This helps the customer throughout the continued life cycle of the electrical distribution equipment and further builds the relationship with customer and distributor. As such this enables you to assist customers to upgrade to current technology without the need for a capital expenditure. Many modernization and upgrade solutions bring aging electrical equipment to current technology at a fraction of the time and cost of purchasing new equipment.

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