Advice to anyone just getting started in sales.
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Attention Sales Managers: Want Sales People Who Solve Customers’ Problems? Do it Yourself First!
Any sales manager worth their salt knows that taking care of customers is the most important aspect of their job. The question is; however, do the sales people who report to the sales manager feel the same way? If not…why? In my experience the answer lies in the way in which the sales manager sets the tone for how customers should be treated. Developing a culture within the rank and file that everyone should be proactively looking for ways to help address customer issues is a challenging but worthwhile pursuit of a top sales manager. Although it can be difficult at times, and also not so pleasant to face, the process starts with the sales manager looking in the mirror and examining their behavior towards customers to ensure that they are sending the right signal.
Here is a real-world example of what I mean. Several years ago when I was serving as a VP of Sales at a Software Company, a colleague of mine brought to my attention some challenges a customer was having with a product they had purchased. Even though I was juggling lots of activities at the time, and the business was strapped for resources, I made time to help this customer solve their problem. I also told my sales people at our next team meeting about the situation and reminded them that solving any customer problem is our collective responsibility and a pressing priority we must find time for. Over the next months, this approach was repeated by others on my team and we became known as the problem solvers for the organization. Not bad for a bit of extra hard work on my part and a short story at a team luncheon.
About the best advice I can share with you on this subject is that great sales managers view customer problems as opportunities in disguise. If you help a customer during their time of need experience has shown me that one of two things will happen: 1. Customers will become more loyal and serve as a great reference or 2. Customers will buy more products or services from you and refer business to you. After all, shouldn’t that be the priority for all businesses?
Do you have a similar story to share?
An unexpected phone call
The other day I went to what was supposed to have been a rather routine dental visit. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say this rather routine visit soon involved lots and lots of Novocain and high speed drills that would put a Dremel to shame.
At around 9:00 pm that evening, long after the blessed Novacain wore off the phone rang. It was my dentist calling to ask how I was feeling. He wanted to know whether or not the pain killers he prescribed were helping. I was speechless – not from the work that I had done, I actually felt fine, but I couldn’t believe that a health care provider actually took the time and interest to follow-up with a patient during his off hours. I can honestly say that it was the very first time that has ever happen to me, and it really made quite an impression. Just to think that I was maybe 1 of perhaps 16 patients he saw that day, and he was thoughtful enough to take time away from his family to place a follow-up call to make sure that I was feeling okay.
That call really made me stop and think. Are we doing enough to exhibit our genuine concern for our clients? When was the last time we reached out to customers just to ask them how things are going and to offer our support? That phone call really mattered to me, and it greatly elevated the opinion I have of my dentist. In fact, come to think of it, that seemingly small gesture turned me into a raving fan, and I would absolutely go out of my way to unreservedly refer him to anyone.
By the way, if you’re looking for a great dentist, his name is David Young and you can find him by clicking on this link.
Do you have any surprise follow-up stories that served to change your perception of a company or individual that you can share?