Most PCO’s would consider it’s the salesman’s silver tongue that will generate the newest business, but it’s the eyes, and especially the ears, that are just as important, according to Tim Bloomer and Richard Nowell, who run the Killgerm Sales Skills Course.
“Understanding what will motivate a customer to buy you, and your service, is all about listening to what they want to achieve, and identifying the benefit they stand to gain,” advocated Tim. “Find that ‘Hotspot’ and solve it for them, then you’ve a good chance of making a customer for life.”
Over 100 pest control business have already benefitted from the pair’s intensive two-day Sales Skills Course, drawing on years of experience and knowledge. The latest session, hosted at the Syngenta Jealott’s Hill International Research Centre in Berkshire, attracted 16 participants from across the industry – from sole operators, through to start-ups, local councils and larger regional companies.
The format includes multiple sessions addressing all the anticipated business selling situations, which are actively brought to life through role-playing and interactive scenarios.
“It’s a very immersive experience and delegates have to be prepared to get really involved to get the most out of it,” highlighted Tim. “But when they go away they can be far more confident in putting what they have learned into practice in developing their businesses for the future.”
For some it can be a real epiphany moment – when pest control goes from being a last resort call from desperate individuals, to be a proactive partnership service that has a real benefit for customers.
“Often operators or surveyors are so busy concentrating on what they must offer, or even thinking about how they are going to get on with the job, that they fail to listen and could miss key information,” outlined Richard.
“That could mean a missed opportunity to identify what will make the customer want to buy – The ‘Hot Spot’ – or to develop extra income streams for themselves. In addition, listening will ensure that you have the information to adapt the offer to ensure it is best matched to what the customer needs, which will help in the development of a long-term business relationship.”
Richard added that the ‘Hot spot’ won’t necessarily be the most obvious one and is likely to be wider than just the control of a pest per se.
“For one business an effective pest control strategy could be about saving money by avoiding fines or repairs, whilst another may be able to make money by meeting requirements securing a new contract; others may just need to survive in the market place,” he reported. “But it’s only through developing a conversation and being able to identify the clients’ specific needs that you can deliver the most effective solution.”
Tim Bloomer identified that cold-calling is often the most challenging situation for pest control businesses, but for most it’s an essential element of generating new business. “We look to change the approach from simply selling the features of a product, to developing a relationship such that, when the time is right, it will lead to a sale for the benefits it will provide to the customer.”
Using the Course to demonstrate a range of techniques, tips and practical advice, Tim and Richard can turn the cold-calling experience of sole-destroying repeated rejection, into a positive reception from potential clients.
They also spend time on the course to highlight areas for potential new business, which they see is around every corner. “You have to keep your eyes open to spot opportunities,” advised Tim.
“PCO’s have the advantage of knowing all about pests and their habits that customers don’t – which gives the chance to develop selling opportunities,” he urged.
Richard Nowell cited the examples of having put up bird proofing on one building, think about where the birds are likely to move to – and that’s the next potential customer; or if you see a building already clad in scaffolding, there might be the opportunity to utilise it to offer bird proofing at a good rate as there will be no access costs to pay.
And if the approach has been made in a proactive way, the course concludes with the all-important skill of closing the sale. They present different ways of closing the sale that covers a range of different situations and styles, but crucially ensuring the client is tied in and finishes looking forward to working together.
“The Sales Skills Course has always been one of the most popular of the Killgerm Training suite,” reported Syngenta Business Manager, Daniel Lightfoot. “It’s extremely rewarding for developing the professional approach of the pest control industry and giving the delegates the skills to build their businesses.”
Killgerm Sales Skills Course key learns & feedback:
“Great course and will help me push through barriers in difficult situations.”
David Korosztos, Cleankill Pest Control of Kenley, Surrey
“Very informative and will give me a new set of skills to increase business in the future.”
Tony Baker, CID Pest Control owner
“Having no previous experience of selling, I now feel I have something valuable to work with.”
Ron Haygarth, Lancaster City Council Pest Control Supervisor