Ethernet services are in such high demand that selling it is not the challenge. The prime challenge for those in Ethernet sales is this: appropriately managing customer expectations so that clients are satisfied with the services for which they’ve signed on.
The Allure of Ethernet
As more demands are placed on business networks, companies are searching for ways to meet current and projected needs. They want more bandwidth. They want low latency and low cost. They want scalability. They expect Ethernet to be the silver bullet that resolves every network challenge.
The difficulty with Ethernet is not showing the benefits but in managing expectations like these. Agents need to add perspective to the sales conversation so that installations are successful in the eyes of the client.
Much of this perspective will come from the agent’s comprehensive knowledge of potential challenges that clients might face when adopting Ethernet services.
Making Successful Pitches
Creating satisfied clients begins during the sales pitch. Ethernet has many benefits, and it currently is one of the most hyped network solutions. As a client’s trusted adviser, agents should be aware of four challenges that their clients might face in the installation process.
1. Is Ethernet available at the required location?
Ethernet has made huge advances, but it is still not universally available. While large enterprises may be fiber-ready, SMBs may face challenges related to access.
For example, fiber might not be immediately available at the business’s location, or there may be distance limitations. In most circumstances, transitioning fiber to copper Ethernet services will require an approximate distance of less than two miles to the central office.
2. Are there hidden costs associated with installation?
If Ethernet is available to the building, the structure itself may not be Ethernet-ready. A certain building might be purported to have Ethernet service, but availability may not include all floors of a given structure. It’s important to be aware that extending the reach of Ethernet to a client’s building or offices may entail additional costs that go above the initial proposals.
Some providers opt to roll all or some of this additional cost into the monthly recurring charge (MRC), which might surprise some clients. Agents should be aware of this potential and steer customer expectations in the appropriate direction.
3. What possible delays are there?
Delays of the actual installation can be prohibitive for new customers. There are many causes of long installation estimates, including the carrier having to go off-net, using the services or facilities of competitors.
Additionally, the customer may not be Ethernet-ready themselves, which would require additional delays and expenses to bring the customer location to acceptable capability levels. Crucial business operations may have difficulty overcoming installation estimates of 90 to 120 days in the future, and agents should ensure that clients are aware that this is the typical delay period.
4. Does the service level agreement (SLA) meet the client’s needs?
Until recently, there were no specific guarantees associated with Ethernet services. As Ethernet has become more widespread and in higher demand, carriers have become more enthusiastic about offering SLAs that establish minimum throughput, data quality, and other service parameters. It is up to the intermediate service provider to ensure that the services available meet the requirements of the end user. Because SLAs offered by carriers can vary widely, it is important for agents to manage the expectations of the customer in relation to the carrier SLA.
Closing the Sale
Agents who get answers to these questions are best prepared to manage customer expectations successfully and to close Ethernet sales in such a way that turns one-time customers into repeat customers.
There is no doubt that Ethernet services are in great demand from customers who are struggling to balance their growing network demands with the capacity and capability of Ethernet deployment. The sales agent’s role is to manage the customer’s expectations and make sure that they are aware of any snags that might impact their business’s overall sales, installation, and post-installation experience.