Why an oil rig tour can be critical for closing a business deal

An oil rig tour provides an up-close perspective of a company’s success. Four reasons to consider giving these tours and five ways to make them work are highlighted.

By Rick Farrell April 29, 2022
Courtesy: Steve Rourke, CFE Media

If you own or run an oil rig or other energy plant, you have highly specific marketing needs. Companies need to reach audience in a way that makes an immediate impact, and you must stress your professionalism, compliance with legal regulations, and attention to safety concerns. One way to do that is with an oil rig tour.

Four reasons to give an oil rig tour

When you’re courting someone’s business or looking for the best new employees, a tour is a key selling strategy that can help seal the deal.

1. Prove the oil rig’s professionalism

The expression of a picture painting a thousand words is true when trying to explain how an operation as complex as an oil rig works. Instead of trying to explain it, let your audience see your rig and your workers in action.

An article in the Harvard Business Review notes, “A plant tour provides an opportunity to observe how work actually gets done. Even the most lucid description of how workflows are managed around a shop, or how operators use charts and diagrams to make things happen, is no substitute for seeing things happen in practice.”

A plant tour is an opportunity to replace words with an unforgettable visual of how the rig works, who makes it happen and what customers can expect. Use your tour to highlight the professional organization of the rig.

2. Show off safety protocols

Safety is a top concern for anyone in the oil and gas industry. If you’re following proper safety procedures, customers are more likely to work with you. Make sure to highlight the well-maintained safety gear, fire extinguishers, blowout preventers and other key equipment. Point out other measures that have been taken including ongoing safety training and routine mechanical checks.

Double-check that all safety warning posters, extinguishers and other gear are where they’re supposed to be. Point out the exit doors and evacuation exits. Let visitors walk away impressed by the safety-first attitude.

3. Give the team a morale boost

A rig tour gives workers a chance to shine. When you bring around visitors, you’re showing you’re proud of them and proud of what they do for the company. Oil rig workers are under a lot of stress, and a tour can be a good way to remind them that their work matters. A tour means you appreciate your workers, and it can be a good reflection on the company’s leadership.

4. Answer direct questions

If you’ve only communicated by phone or email with potential clients, you now have a chance to answer questions while at work. On a tour, you can answer their questions by showing them proof in person. Are your competitors able to do the same thing? Answer questions in a candid and confident manner is another bonus.

Five keys to a successful oil rig tour

1. Make a detailed plan

When you plan a tour, plan for every detail. Make sure you know how long the tour will take and where your visitors will go. Issue an invitation and send a memo to your employees so they know what to expect. Consider the following questions:

  • How will your visitors get to the rig?
  • Where will they wait for the tour to start?
  • Who will be the guide, and who else will be included?
  • What time will it start?
  • Will you include coffee, snacks or lunch?

Make sure guests know the plan and make all arrangements for their arrival at the rig.

2. Clean up your act

When you invite people to your home, you try to make it look its best. Companies should do the same for an oil rig before a tour. A complete makeover isn’t required, but some cosmetic fixes are a good idea. Could the meeting room do with a fresh coat of paint? Are the office desks strewn with papers? If necessary, assign a cleanup crew to make sure the walkways, office areas, and visiting areas are free of clutter.

3. Pick the right tour guide

The best tour guide is someone knowledgeable and passionate about the company. It might be you, or it might be another trusted employee. Be sure to pick a guide who enjoys interacting with people and can positively present the oil rig.

4. Make guests comfortable

Like any industrial environment, an oil rig can be uncomfortable to visit. Prepare visitors with a well-planned tour that avoids slippery floors or hazardous areas. Be sure visitors have a safe, comfortable ride to the rig. Offering safety hats, aprons, or rubber-soled boots so they can safely move around the rig is a good idea.

Noise can be a major problem on an oil rig. To make the tour successful, offer headsets that offer protection from high decibels. It’s important to be able to communicate without shouting, and visitors will appreciate a tour that doesn’t hurt their ears.

5. Make the most of the opportunity

One of the most important parts of a tour is the ability to answer questions directly. Although we’ve all become used to video meetings, there is no substitute for face-to-face communication. People want to know they’re dealing with an actual human being and not a digital image.

Researchers have found nonverbal communication is an important part of understanding what people really mean. Only face-to-face communication gives people a chance to assess what someone’s thinking.

Taking a potential investor or customer on a rig tour means you have a chance to talk at a deeper level than you get from exchanging phone calls or emails. Use this opportunity to answer questions honestly and put to rest any concerns the potential client has. You’ll never get a better chance to make your case, so make the most of it.

– RTS is a CFE Media and Technology content partner.


Author Bio: Farrell is North America’s foremost expert in improving manufacturing group communication, education, training and group hospitality processes. He has over 40 years of group hospitality experience, most recently serving as president of Plant-Tours.com for the last 18 years. He has provided consulting services with the majority of Fortune 500 industrial corporations improving group communication dynamics of all types in manufacturing environments.