Management • Productivity • Technician Tips • 37 minutes

“Tell Me More About That”: Stop Forcing Sales and Start Asking Questions

July 25, 2023

Episode Overview

As a service technician for Worley's Home Services, Lamont Page was used to working long days hustling to nonstop calls. 

Then something extraordinary happened. His bosses offered him the chance to spend time with Service Business Evolution coach and trainer Derrek Hofrichter. 

SBE and Hofrichter work with techs to lift their sales games. The plan is to show willing participants like Page how to build real relationships with customers. The process relies on building up two key communication skills: listening and asking questions.

Page was in the habit of working 80 to 100 hours a week without an elevated salary to show for his time. 

He says the SBE program was an epiphany. “It opened my eyes to so much more than just sales,” Page says. “SBE showed me how to listen much more to what people have to say and respond in a way that can either offer a solution for them or just offer a listening ear. A lot of times that's what people want.”

Page says it wasn’t a simple transition, but he’s now definitely working smarter, not harder.

“The process itself was a little difficult because you have to unlearn all of what you were taught before,” he says. “You’re in a customer's house, your muscle memory kind of kicks in, and you do things that you're used to doing that don't net you a lot of money.”

Page had to forcefully change his approach.

Hofrichter says there’s an inherent problem at play in this scenario.

“That problem is the homeowner doesn’t believe you, or they don’t trust you,” he says. “But it’s not necessarily you. It’s all the technicians that came before you.”

The SBE training heavily involves getting techs to stop spewing facts and advice to potential customers and turn to asking questions. And really listening to the answers.

“To prove competence, we feel like we need to say everything we know,” Hofrichter says. “But in reality, the true experts don’t feel that need. They just ask questions.” 

There’s a bonus to learning to listen better, Page says. Along with getting better results at work, he’s become better at communicating with his wife and his kids.

“I’m asking them questions that are more softening and less abrasive,” he says. “It’s pretty awesome.”

Lamont Page & Derrek Hofrichter recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 8 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Page’s and Hofrichter’s thoughts on:

  • (10:10) How focusing on relationships builds customer equity  

  • (11:13) The work/life benefits of good communication

  • (23:45) Why techs need to ask good questions to gain trust

  • (32:51) Learn what questions to ask customers

  • (33:37) What sets the sales experts apart from the amateurs

To hear more stories from the trades, subscribe to “Toolbox for the Trades” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, our website, or anywhere you get podcasts.

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Toolbox for the Trades is a podcast where top service professionals share the tips, tricks, and tactics they use to succeed in their industry. Hosted by Jackie Aubel, this podcast is brought to you by ServiceTitan—the leading home and commercial field service software.

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