Exactly Who is a Part of the Sales Team?

“Pragmatic Sales Psychology” short episode series, writing #7” 

Here is the scene: a disgruntled customer is complaining about the way his new address didn’t get changed on his invoice. The proper person was emailed the complaint and the response may be much more important than the person responding to it from the accounting department realizes. It behooves ownership and upper management to coach every single employee and/or subcontractor in the “company’s way” of dealing with customers. If company people in service, delivery, accounting, at the check out, setting up installations, etc., etc., don’t all support the great customer experience as sold by the sales department, it starts to unravel the positive feeling the buyer had at the moment they decided to do business with you. Your reputation and retention are directly tied to how your team makes the client/customer feel, as is your possibility for organic “word of mouth” (or should I say social media referrals?) growth.

This will be a short but to the point writing. The secret to its success will be whether or not people who read it take action. The client experience that is taken for granted and not addressed, trained, and monitored will fall prey to the “shooting from the hip” delivery of whomever is dealing directly for your hard fought for client. My suggestion is that you do a gut check and self-examine your company’s communication proclivities. You may find that tightening up the ship will greatly aid your growth and retention.

Here is a mental visual I’ve used over the years that may drive the point home; Imagine your company as a bucket of water, half full. In other words, you are 50% of the way to your current sales and growth goal. Next, imagine that every bucket has a potential hole in the bottom. The water symbolizes the business you have acquired; the hole in the bottom of the bucket symbolizes attrition. If everyone realizes they are a part of the sales team in one form or fashion, you have effectively created a plug for the hole in the bottom of the bucket holding your customer base.  

Without the plug, which I define as a well thought out, total customer service approach, attrition will zap the life out of a sales staff, who will end up working their tails off to battle attrition instead of growing the company and their personal revenue (that would be a “lose-lose” scenario). The bottom line to this word picture is that if you want the new sales efforts to grow your company, you need to be double-damn sure everyone understands the ramifications of every interaction with a customer. They need to believe, and act, like they know that the goal is to support the sales staff’s hard earned new business by making sure it will BE new business and not REPLACEMENT business.

In my last short episode (“The Value of Exceptional Service”) I wrote this: EVERYBODY (in every position) is a part of the sales department, EVERYBODY is a part of the marketing department because EVERYBODY affects the brand of the company in the consumer’s mind. 

Sales and business consultant Harry Beckwith supports my position with these statements :                                   

Marketing is not a department, it IS your business. 

Be professional – but, more importantly be personable. 

If good value is the first thing you communicate, you won’t be effective. If good value is your best position, improve your service.

And finally…

Assume your service is bad. It can’t hurt and will force you to improve.                                                               

These are quotes from “Selling the Invisible”, a read I highly recommend.

In summary: If you program monitoring your communications, and always striving for the best possible “customer experience” into your business meetings, you will have integrated everyone into being a productive part of your sales team. Whether they ever considered it or not, they (all the other employees) are already a huge part of the face of the company. It makes no sense to ignore making every client interaction another small positive part of the sales machinery. The sum of these small positive interactions makes for a very solid whole company. With the accomplishment of a positive attitude being applied, the sales representatives can confidently go face to face with the consumer population, knowing that everyone else on down the line has their back. As an owner, sales manager or sales representative, wouldn’t that be the most relaxing way to lay your head down on your pillow at night?         


Jack Klinefelter
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