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Edition 91 – Who’s Selling in Your Business?

Most people in family businesses tend to think the role of the salesperson belongs to a dedicated person. The business card for most of these people tends to read “Business Development Manager”, “Territory Manager” or something of the like. Today, I’m going to smash that myth and prove to you that everyone in your family business is a salesperson for your business.

An Electrical Contracting business, that mostly focussed on Industrial Projects, also undertook shift cover – essentially, the provision of day labour in a Production Environment. It enabled them to fill the peaks and troughs in their project work, and also provided an “in” whenever clients had a project on the horizon and day labour was already on site.

This business had a disengaged employee. He was the day labour resource. He worked inside the client’s premises for most of the week, for weeks on end. The client made a request of the employee – would they please make some small repairs that were inside the premises, but off the production line? The client knew it was outside the normal scope of works, and was willing to pay. “Sure”, came the response, but then proceeded to do nothing about it. On two further occasions over the space of ten days, the client repeated the request – and the employee proceeded to do nothing. By this time, the small repair was becoming a not insignificant issue.

As it turns out, other matters transpired and Mr Disengaged was moved on from the business. When the owner of this family business contacted the client, advised them of staff change and suggested an alternate arrangement, the client willfully offered up that not only were they disappointed in the poor response from the business to their request for additional assistance, but they’d lost a six figure project that would otherwise have come their way. All because someone couldn’t be bothered – and failed to understand that by being the face of the business on the client site, they were also the lead salesman on site and for that client. Mr Disengaged’s behaviour was seen as being the behaviour of the business generally.

In the second situation, a custom furniture manufacturing business was very particular about the manner in which their delivery staff acted on site. They needed to be co-operative, courteous, pleasant and understanding of the fact that they were being afforded the great privilege of being invited into a family’s home. Staff were trained on the delivery and installation aspects of the roles. Once the owner felt the young gentlemen were capable enough, they were set on their own.

The owner knew that he had done something right when he received an email, out of the blue, from a customer. The email wasn’t a testimonial – it was pure, unadulterated advocacy for the professionalism of the whole business, from start to finish. The praise for the very early 20’s delivery team, from the client, was beyond astounding. It reinforced in the customer’s mind they had made the right purchase decision – and left an indelible, positive impression upon installation. These two young gentlemen didn’t realise it, but they were shining examples of great salespeople, even though they would never see selling in their list of tasks.

Everyone, bar no one, is a salesperson in your business. From how your front desk person answer the phones, to how your customer care team respond to customer complaints to the way management own up to the mistakes of the business, everyone sells.

This Week’s Tip

How much time and money do you invest in how your team conduct themselves with your clients vs. how much time and money do you spend training them on the technical aspects of the role?