The first step in the planning process to engage your field service team in business development is to understand your starting point, and the second step is to develop a vision of the future. Before developing the actions to close the gap between the reality of today and the desired future, it is prudent to identify possible hurdles in order to address them proactively. Although many hurdles can be self evident, they often lurk in the background and only make their presence known when they cause problems.

Below are tips for how service leaders can bring major hurdles of proactive business development to the forefront. But first, let’s review the five most common hurdles:

  • Hurdle No. 1: The Salesperson Paradox — “The harder I sell, the less effective am.”
  • Hurdle No. 2: Service Technician Self-Image“If I had wanted to be a salesperson, I would have become one.”
  • Hurdle No. 3: Systems and Processes“No one responds to the opportunities I find.”
  • Hurdle No. 4: Communication Skills“I’m just not comfortable doing this.”
  • Hurdle No. 5: Management Coaching and Support — “This is too hard. I’d rather go back to the old way.”

These hurdles are explained in greater depth in an earlier article, as are possible solutions for how to overcome each hurdle. Keep in mind that there may be additional hurdles that are unique to your own organization. For example, for your business development plan to succeed, you may need to overcome factors that impede collaboration with other departments, such as sales.

The key is to be aware of the hurdles in your organization and to take proactive steps to address them as part of your overall strategy. I recommend that you use the following format to identify your hurdles and summarize steps you can take to deal with them.

So far, I have explained how to evaluate your starting point and end goal with regards to delivering exceptional service that engages technicians in business development. The next step is to develop the actions necessary to meet those goals. In my next article, I will address the major areas to consider — and the important questions to ask — to solidify a plan.

ABOUT Jim Baston

Avatar photoJim Baston is president of BBA Consulting Group Inc., a consulting and training firm located in Ontario, Canada. Since founding BBA Consulting Group in 2001, Jim has focused his attention on helping technical service companies develop and implement strategies to transform field service personnel from reluctant into enthusiastic promoters of their company’s products and services. He is also the author of several books about how service companies can improve customer satisfaction and revenue, including "Beyond Great Service: The Technician's Role in Proactive Business Growth."