Sometimes businesses, in their endless drive to master new and complex technologies, can fail to embrace some of the lowest-tech solutions to basic problems. Patrick Peterson, author of the ZenHVAC blog, reminds us about one such feature that everyone in the field service industry should probably re-consider: The line card.
Article republished with permission. Click here to read the original post at the ZenHVAC site.
What’s in your line card?
I recently asked a contractor for their business’s line card; their response was, “Line what?”
Not a good response … not good at all.
Most of you know what a line card is. It’s a list of the products and brands a supplier represents and sells. In the HVAC industry we associate a line card with distributors and supply houses.
My question is: Do you have one, and if you don’t, why not?
Everyone assumes the customer knows what their company does. After all, most of you have the words heating, cooling, refrigeration, or HVAC built into the company name, right?
For those of you who think “HVAC” says it all, let me ask: Do you install and service building-management controls? Do you service commercial refrigeration? How about process cooling systems? Do you service pumps? What about steam systems, do you service them? Do you install oil tanks?
The only time I see anyone listing services they offer is when they think it doesn’t typically apply to their business. Examples would be solar panels, geothermal, and duct cleaning.
Why not let the customer know exactly what you can do for them?
Some companies place the list on the back of a business card. This is a good start, but there isn’t enough real estate on a card for this. I recommend having an actual card with your company name at the top and a bullet-point list below.
Make a line card and make sure your salesmen get one in every customer’s hands, including existing customers. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Click here to learn more about Field Service Management
This is a great straight forward and simple point that really does effect the growth of a business!
As a new HVAC steel wire Sales Rep, if my Line Card lists the Manufacturers I represent and my new prospective Customers go directly to them (bypassing me) will I not lose an opportunity to make commission?
That is my big worry in regards to providing a line card with my clients information.
It should not be a problem if you let your factory that you are supporting your customer in advance so the factory should back you up and let you handle the businesses. I think the key point here is communication…
“Line card” is a piece of jargon. It’s not a problem if someone doesn’t know what that means as long as they can tell you what they sell.
I have been in distribution many years and the only people I hear using that term are people who feel special using that term.
The rest are simply having the conversation “So, which lines do you carry?”