Leveraging new technology to help your business thrive
With so many changes in this last year, it is hard to think about the new technologies that are beginning to take over the water treatment world. From new-age water treatment to state of the art testing equipment, it is hard to keep up with the latest and greatest tools out there for water treatment professionals to use. It is no secret that we live in a technology-driven world, and businesses are beginning to utilize these new technologies to stay up-to-date with current trends. There are many ways to leverage technology in order to adapt and thrive in the world of water treatment without losing the power of the demonstration.
Although the “old” way of testing water is great for most people, there is something to be said for the speed that many new-age testing equipment provides to customers. In the fast-paced world we live in today, it is expected to get results fast. Today, someone can order and finance a car online with the click of a button and have it immediately shipped to their doorstep. That same person can order their entire grocery cart and have it shipped to their home in less than two hours. Consumers today do not want to sit and wait, they want quick and easy results.
Along with speed, consumers are very skeptical and aware of the sales tactics used in the past. Instilling confidence is key with this new generation of shoppers, and many new-age testing equipment does a great job of helping to instill a level of confidence right from the start. When all you do is fill a disk with water and let the machine read the results, the customer has much more trust in the authenticity of the results. “Stranger danger” seems to be hitting a new high, and the stranger testing water in your home does not typically instill a high level of confidence, even if the company is well respected. Anything you can do to earn the trust of the customer is necessary if you want to make a sale.
Test vs Demonstration
With this said, there are definite challenges to utilizing new testing technologies. As many sales professionals know, there is a lot of power with using the old-school demonstration kit methods of testing. That power does not come from the “test,” but rather the “demonstration.” For example, regardless of whether you use a SpinTouch (a new in-home testing technology by LaMotte Co.) or the old-school powder pillows, the amount of hardness in a particular water sample will read the same. The SpinTouch may convey more confidence than the demo-kit, but the numbers will be the same. The tricky part is explaining to the customer what that hardness number means. A “test” will give you the information you need to know, but the “demonstration” allows you to communicate that information to the customer.
How to Adapt & Demonstrate What the Results Mean
So how exactly might a sales professional combine the power of confidence that a new testing method instills in customers with the power of the demonstration that the old-school kits give? There are so many ways to demonstrate and teach the customer what the numbers mean, and frankly an entire article could be written about this topic, but the key is to be creative. Always remember that the customer, most of the time, has absolutely no idea what that number means. Even if they have had a softener for years, they probably still have no idea what a grain of hardness is. You should treat every customer as though they need to be re-taught the basics, and the best way to do that is to demonstrate. Where many people go wrong when utilizing new technology is they forget to communicate and demonstrate those results to the customer.
For example, if you test 15 grains of hardness with a new piece of technology, how might you go about teaching the customer what that means. Use soap flasks. Just because you are using new technology does not mean you cannot bring soap flasks with you. Alternatively (or additionally) you can pack a container of aspirin with you. This is a very simple way to explain hardness. Aspirin used to be measured in grains because a grain is actually a unit of weight. Each aspirin tablet is approximately 5 grains of weight. So if a customer has 15 grains of hardness in their water, you can demonstrate this by putting three aspirin tablets in their hands and explaining that there is this much hardness flowing through each gallon of water in their home, if the hardness were in its rock form.
New technology can be overwhelming. Adapting to new technology can be even worse. As anyone who has been using a demonstration kit for years knows, there is a learning curve associated with changing and that process takes time. Sales professionals who have seen success utilizing the methods they have been comfortable with for many years might have difficulty with learning how to get the same results in a different way. And it really boils down to that simple fact; you are getting the same exact result in a very different way.
The trickiest part of the whole process is learning how to adapt to those results. Have empathy and patience when rolling out any new technology and implement the new process slowly. If you have ever had to teach your parents how to use a new app on their phone (or how to download a new app), you should know the importance of taking the process in steps. If you try to do it all at once without building the foundation first, the house will crumble.
Why You Should Always Know the “Old” Way of Testing
To bring it full circle, it is important to mention that everyone should know how to test water the old-fashioned way. The old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to fit well in this section. When it comes to technology, if it can go wrong, it will. We advise everyone who is utilizing any new-age way of testing water to also learn how to do it the old-school way. The last thing you want is to drive 45 minutes to test water and realize the battery is dead in your tester. Rather than needing to reschedule, it shows professionalism if all you need to do is go to the trunk of your car to pull out the trusty installers kit to get the job done.
Supply Chain: Always Be Prepared
Another reason to know the old way of testing revolves around the supply issue that we all are scratching our heads on right now. Many companies have switched to a new testing method only to realize that supply for those tests is so low that it will take five months to get the necessary replacement pieces. Vice versa, many companies have seen the same issue with the chemicals they have been receiving for 20 years without any delay. Flexibility is key during this time of supply chain uncertainty and having multiple testing methods will ease the concern you may have. Hopefully we will see relief in the months to come, but until then, you must be able to adapt to alternative testing methods.
New testing technology is constantly being developed, we are bound to see more of it in the years to come, and leveraging this technology can help your business thrive. Adapting to new testing methods may take time, but it is always good to have multiple methods of getting results. The method of testing may convey confidence in the customer, but every sales professional must remember the difference between “test” and “demonstration,” as demonstrating the results is ultimately half the battle when serving your customers.