Rethinking Your Sales Efforts
Creating a Sales Oriented Culture
“Customers don't do business with your company. They do business with your people... all of them.”
Recently I visited a well known company and was signed in by a reception guard, who apparently was missing the “friendly” gene.
Although the people I was visiting were very professional, the guard colored my whole perception of the company, because management was either unaware or uncaring about the person who formed the first impression of their company.
It is human nature to associate the people we interact with at a company with the company itself. They ARE the company. The people who work there are either a company’s competitive advantage or its weakest link. Perhaps that’s why customers often follow a salesperson when she changes employers. Customers often see the salesperson as the company as well.
Redefining the Sales Team
I think there is an opportunity to define sales more broadly, however. Your reception, accounting, IT, finance, installation, delivery, or customer service associates are all ancillary to the sales relationship. ANYONE who interacts with customers (or vendors) becomes part of the sales process and should be cross-trained in sales. They are a hidden sales force working alongside you.
Rethinking Sales Training
What I mean by sales training is instruction about everyone's role in the customer relationship, the lifetime value of customers, how to see and hear opportunity within an account, how to handle problems with a sales mindset, and how to make customers feel valued. There must also be a communication channel to sales to share opportunities, and a recognition or group reward system in place to incent sales leads.
Small Business Advantage
I once was invited to be a panel member for the Chamber of Commerce representing small business to a large business audience. An audience member asked me “What is the secret of your company’s success?” I answered, “We are nice to our customers.” And by that, I meant we are ALL nice to our customers… including our hidden sales force. Here's another
area where small business may have an advantage over their larger competitors in creating a sales culture across the organization.