Take Control of Your Sales

Every single person in every single company is either in sales or affects sales. Every single person in every single company is either in service or affects service.

There’s an old business adage that goes: “Everyone is in sales.” The reality is that only salespeople believe this. Even customer-service people who interact with customers daily in what might be considered a gateway to the next sale don’t think of themselves as in sales, or don’t think of themselves as salespeople.

Your customers are judging every aspect of every transaction and rating everything, from friendliness of people to ease of doing business to quality of product to service after the sale. They’re judging how easy it is to access someone on the phone. They’re judging how the package arrived. They’re judging what the instruction book is like. And they’re certainly judging service, should they need it.

The dilemma is that leadership fails to communicate and teach the importance of customers’ interactions and perceptions as they relate to the success of the company. The reason everyone in the company doesn’t perceive or realize that they’re in sales is that no one has told them and no one has taught them.

The CEO, top executives and top management in big and small companies need to be able to sell every day. No matter the nature of the business, they need to be able to bring in business, and that involves selling the company.

The chief executive officer is also the chief sales officer. He or she is responsible for the success of the company and making a profit. The closer the CEO is to the everyday selling process, bringing in business, the more successful the company will become.

"There’s an old business adage that goes: “Everyone is in sales.” The reality is that only salespeople believe this."

There has to be a partnership between the sales team, the management team and the executive team. Leadership must create the products or the services and the messages. But the messages have to be transferable and perceived by the customer to be favorable.

Management’s job is to convey leadership’s message in a compelling and inspiring way. Not just in meetings, but also by example. And finally, salespeople must convert these messages and their training into sales. My belief is that the company should provide the salesperson with every training tool they need, combined with encouragement to succeed.

For the decade prior to last year, we enjoyed the biggest boom-time economy in the history of mankind. During that time, many businesses took their customers for granted while they reaped profits.

Many companies were not very prudent about how they conducted their business, and when the economy turned, they were ill-prepared to meet the change. They had every excuse in the world why things were wrong, but no solid reason, or idea, or game plan, to make them better.

Here are a few “teach tips” to get your team to the next level: Teach everyone that attitude is the foundation of success, both personally and in business. Teach everyone the importance of friendliness. Teach everyone that speed of response is not an option. Teach everyone how to respond to customer complaints. Teach everyone that service is as important as sales. Teach everyone to ask for more business. Teach everyone to suggest more. Teach everyone to thank the customers for their business.

The key word is teach because these are courses that no one ever learned in school. Yet they are vital to your success—especially in these times. These elements may seem fundamental—almost rudimentary—to anyone’s job function. But more business is lost to apathy, rudeness, slow response, poor attitude and lack of friendliness than is lost to low price—times a thousand.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte, N.C.-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service.

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