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Why capital equipment sales teams struggle to sell 🤝services at point of sale - Part 1 (5 min read)


PART ONE - In this two part article we explore what's stopping instrument sales teams from selling services at point of sale and what can the company do to change their behavior.

Why capital equipment sales teams struggle to sell services at point of sale (POS) – 5 min read


The question why capital equipment sales teams struggle to sell services at POS has come up more times than I can count over the course of my nearly 20 years career in Services Marketing. The focus of this two-part article is on selling services at POS, so we will assume that the service products match customers’ needs and field sales are the ones supposed to sell at POS.


Part One – What’s stopping the sales team from selling services?

In part one of this article, we will present the primary concern most field sales teams have when selling services at POS. We will also explain why some characteristics of Service create unique challenges, which most sales teams are not equipped to handle. Finally, we will provide the two actions that can be taken to close these gaps and help the sales teams sell services at POS.

Will Service compromise the deal?

The main reason field sales teams struggle to sell services at point of sale is simply the fear of losing out on price to the competition. There is a general belief that customers will always opt for the cheaper option.  With your help, sales people can overcome this challenge with solid training on the value proposition of the service portfolio and handling service objections.


When a sales person truly learns how to sell service, they understand that price is relative to what is being purchased. A higher price will very likely trigger the customer to ask why they need to buy any services. This in turn provides an opening for the sales person to explain why they should consider it, and perhaps even sow the seeds of doubts about the competitors’ service capabilities. This can be uniquely powerful when a company offers a service that the competitors don’t or can’t offer. This way of thinking doesn’t come naturally, but elite sales executives are using these techniques and winning business.


Service is different

Perhaps we are stating the obvious, but you have to peel the layers to truly understand why service is different.



Intangibility is the one unique characteristic of Service that immediately comes to mind to most people. The vast majority of field sales people rely on what can be described as a “show and tell” to demonstrate to the customer how the instrument works, it’s features and how it adds value. The most common tool is a live demonstration (aka demo), but many other avenues are used like loaner units, virtual demos, and marketing material.


Service is typically difficult if not impossible to show to a customer. The events customers care about the most, like repairs, are not the ones you would want to replicate on purpose. Since most sales teams are never trained on how to talk to a customer about something intangible, this typically means Service is not even part of the conversation at POS. Creating service sales materials like collateral, battle cards, videos, etc. will greatly help your sales team close this gap.



Another characteristic of Service is that delivery can’t be easily standardized, therefore no two services are exactly the same. Most companies have developed standardized service plans that offer their customers a set of features, but that’s basically where the standardization ends.


To highlight this point, imagine a service plan for a medical device which covers onsite repairs by a field service engineer (FSE). Next, think about the experience a customer will have from that specific feature in the service plan and how it can vary wildly. The response time alone will depend on multiple factors like:

-          The FSE’s work load

-          The customer location

-          How, or if the company prioritizes different call types (repairs, PM visits, T&M)


The example above highlights the variation in the response time for a specific medical device. Now, imagine how much more variation could exist if multiple and different devices were in play or for a different customer supported by a different FSE, perhaps in a far-flung location. That’s without even talking about the FSE’s ability to address the non-conformance. Sales teams know these variations exist and are absolutely terrified of being questioned by a customer. You can help guide the sales team to success by developing strong follow up questions they can ask their customers to demonstrate the value/differentiators of your services.


The shift to a rock star sales team

A rock star sales team can sell everything, and that includes Service at POS. The sooner the sales team is trained on selling services and are provided with the service sales materials needed to be successful, the sooner the transformation will start. We encourage you to read part 2 of this article, which dives into the actions you can take to encourage the sales team to sell Service.




The ServiceWise Marketing Blog consist of thought-provoking articles focused on various topics related to the business of Service. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in our blog articles are solely that of ServiceWise Solutions and our contributors and does not necessarily reflect the views of other third-party platforms, institutions or other associated parties. Please reference ServiceWise Solutions as the author when sharing or re-posting content from the ServiceWise Marketing Blog.

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