Improving a Sales Pitch Can Bring Good Things

Improving a sales process can lead to better moral, happier customers and more business

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Have you ever sat through a painful sales pitch? Maybe the salesperson was a little too enthusiastic? They asked formulaic questions, came across stiff and their talking points were inauthentic?

Maybe the salesperson provided a bullet point list of vaguely sinister reasons and suspiciously positive benefits. They laid out three perfectly good, better, best options and inevitably pointed to the middle-tier to suggest it is the right one for you. 

This scenario is what I always imagined “sales training” to produce. I wanted nothing to do with that. So we never did sales training with our plumbing staff.

Our values seem to conflict with the very idea: We want to be authentic and unflinchingly honest; we want to build relationships founded on mutual respect; we want to be a trusted partner to our customers.

“Selling” to our customers doesn’t jive. We provide solutions, service and support, but never sales.

Defining customer service

On the other hand, like many companies, we pride ourselves on customer service. We define the ideal experience as one where the client feels informed and qualified to make the best decision for his or her property, based on the conversation and recommendations of our plumbers.

Again, honesty, trust, integrity and respect are at the center of that customer-vendor relationship. Searching for ways to perform closer to this ideal, we looked at opportunities for improvement.

Communication seemed to be at the crux of everything. To reach this ideal, we have to build rapport with the customer, provide them with information and help them arrive at a decision.

Oops, that sounds painfully like a sales conversation. 

Finding the sales-service overlap

This realization was eye opening. It took considerable soul-searching for us to get comfortable with the idea that to provide even better customer service, we had to improve our sales process. 

It took an understanding that sales doesn’t have to be that cringeworthy robotic experience. 

Sales processes and excellent customer service coexist every day. Sometimes they come from harmless upsell-asks — “Do you want fries with that?” — or conveniently placing the batteries in the checkout aisle of the toy store. 

These are gentle reminders from the experts that you might later wish you’d bought one more thing.

When it comes to plumbing repairs, the customer should have options. I don’t want anyone deciding what is best for my property but me. I want expert advice, guidance even. I want to understand what the pros and cons of each option are. 

But that means that the person there to diagnose and complete the repairs has to be prepared to have that conversation. 

A new, effective perspective

My entire perspective changed when I started looking at sales through a customer service lens. Under the header of customer service, we started working with our team on these items. There are no formulas. No scripts. 

Instead, we focused on their expertise as an essential part of the conversation. Product training and literature to support the plumber’s findings allow that expertise to shine.

We were shocked at how quickly training began to take effect. Sales increased, sure. But so did morale. The plumbers showed more confidence, and reviews soared.

Sales training doesn’t mean you have to shove a “good, better, best” template down your staff’s throat. It means coaching them and providing tools for better customer conversations.

Customer service and sales can coexist peacefully. In fact, they may be better together.


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