Money is the name of the game in the home service business. But are you winning every dollar you can? Every service call represents an opportunity to increase ticket sales beyond the original job. Tack on $50 or $100 in additional services or products per ticket and it adds up quickly.
Have a goal: Home service companies should make it a baseline goal to increase revenue by 10 to 15 percent on every ticket. Every member of a home service team should be responsible for upselling, from customer service representatives on up, but technicians always have the first opportunity.
The best time for upselling is in the moment. Waiting for someone else to do it means less chance of closing the deal.
Not all technicians are natural salespeople. However, they can be coached to read clues to determine whether a customer will be responsive to an upsell. If the customer uses words such as “the best” or “the most,” it means they are looking for a high-end version of a service or product. If they are expressing concern over long-term functionality, it's a great chance to offer a service agreement.
Target the sale, not the customer: Don’t think of customers simply as targets for upselling. Offer something that genuinely adds value or don’t offer anything at all. When it comes from a place of caring, and customers feel it truly is in their best interest, they will welcome the opportunity.
Here’s a good example of offering a customer a valuable upsell at the beginning of the service process: A customer requests a technician to repair a sink. A customer service representative could say, “We also offer a full plumbing inspection that is normally $199, but since we’ll be there already, would you like to add the service for $50?” Such an upsell adds more value to the ticket and the customer feels he is getting an incredible deal. Imagine what would happen if home service companies added just $50 to every ticket?
Businesses can develop scripts for CSRs and technicians to use when upselling. Having a set of best practices is key to making sure they give themselves the best chance to succeed. It also conveys confidence to the consumer, which is very important.
Offer additional value: Some services are riper than others for upselling — including service agreements, extended warranties and additional accessories allowing customers to get more out of the equipment. But don’t limit it to that. Always keep in mind what customers can use. Offer an additional feature or accessory such as a digital thermostat at a discount. There’s nothing to lose because the big-ticket service was already sold. Anything that will give a customer more value is always prime for upselling.
Thrive in the slow times: Increasing the average ticket price helps home service companies cope with seasonal slowdowns. The off-season is the time to practice new things and look for other items or services to offer customers.
It’s also a time where selling service agreements shows its value to the company. Perform annual check-ins during the slow season. Consider pitching pre-winter inspections earlier in the year. Technicians can come in the fall and check plumbing and heating systems to ensure they don’t break during winter. Preemptive upsells can be very powerful and increase your bottom line.
During slow times, another approach is to dispatch two technicians in different specialties to a single call. For instance, one technician can inspect the plumbing and identify issues while the other completes the original HVAC service call. During the initial conservation with the customer, CSRs can hammer the value of the second technician coming to the home.
Other tools: In addition to scripts, companies can use smartphone-based apps or desktop software to assist in upselling, letting technicians and CSRs easily access information on additional service and product options. Some mobile apps can let technicians show the customer photos and videos of the products or services. Humans are visual creatures, so if they can see what is being offered, along with great descriptions, it will go a long way toward closing the deal.
Your technicians and CSRs may not be great at sales yet, but with a little coaching, regular training and polished people skills, they certainly can be. By offering greater value to customers, you can boost short-term revenue — but the benefit doesn’t stop there. Adding value helps cement long-term relationships with customers, meaning a healthier bottom line in the long run.
Jo Phillips is director of business development at ServiceTitan, a mobile, cloud-based software platform that helps home service companies streamline operations, improve customer service, and grow their business. For more information, visit www.servicetitan.com.