Single Blog Title

This is a single blog caption
20 July 2014

Why would you only leverage the Sales Department to grow business? Build a Selling Organization.

Last week, visiting my husband’s office, I was making small talk with one of his patients in the waiting area and discovered she worked for an attorney. I mentioned that sometimes my clients need some legal guidance and asked what their practice specialized in. Her response was “We do mortgages and some of the partners do some more general stuff.” I asked, “Oh, as in general business stuff?” to which she replied, “Um, yeah, I guess, I think so, I just answer the phones at the front desk.”

Hmmm, I thought to myself, “So, the best referral you can give me for the person from whom you receive a paycheck every week is ‘Um, yeah, I guess, I think so. I just answer the phones at the front desk.’”

This young woman was in her early 20’s and is just starting out in the working world but I found this very brief conversation an absolute crying shame – and also a conversation that I have or overhear almost daily.

Two things really bug me about this:

Is it entitlement, egocentric or self-centered thinking that she would not learn more about the business that employs her – enough to be able to make a confident referral or to tell me who she works for. How does she think she gets paid? Where does the money come from that pays for her chair, her headset, the air conditioning or the snacks in the break room? Is there some magical “Law Fairy” that flies out and gets clients?

Obviously, she didn’t recognize the opportunity to make a referral that could contribute to the financial health of her employer but the second fail here is that her employer did not train her and equip her to understand the value their firm has to offer nor did they equip her with the tools to be able to recognize and promote opportunities to be a contributor to her own economy. She is a taker. And she is not alone.

Our team runs into these examples all the time – you probably do as well {and now you’ll be tuned into this forever!}. You’re chatting up someone in a business or social setting and how do they describe what they do, for whom they work or what makes them so great? Chances are, if they’re not the owner, they’re going to tank or miss the moment to promote the business or advance an opportunity.

 Why not build a whole Selling Organization based on a collective culture that coaches, encourages and rewards behaviors that contribute to the financial goals of the organization.

EVERY employee has the obligation to contribute to the financial health of their employer. Non-commission based employees can be incented and rewarded to participate in the Selling Organization – much of that can be accomplished with a corporate culture that promotes engaged and eager team players. Employers should require that from their employees and honor them with the tools to identify and promote opportunities for the business.

We apply a 4 part strategy to Building a Selling Organization  {click here for more details} with our clients but here is a jump start to building the behaviors of your own Selling Organization:

Build one message with many voices: Outline the core values and key messages of the organization and coach employees how to use their own voices to deliver those messages. It’s not meant to be hammering employees to memorize the 3 page mission statement, or to pull tri-fold brochures out of their purses at PTA meetings. It’s about encouraging them to interpret and practice these key messages in their own voice to prepare them to deliver when they recognize opportunities.

Coach them to identify opportunities and advance them: Sometimes the best “buying signals” happen outside of the Sales Process. Customer engagement can happen anywhere within and outside of the business. Billing, Shipping, Customer Service, Delivery, Installation . . . any of these teams should be able to assist, enlighten, identify and advance customers to the next steps when those precious opportunities arise. Sometimes customers are more candid and build more trust outside of the Sales Teams.

Give them the tools and the trust to deliver: Many businesses are catching on to how powerful the Evangelizing Employee is and are releasing their lockdown on social media in the work place. Meeting people where they are and providing relevant messages in relevant context is Social Selling and it’s never going away. Truthfully, it’s always been around {at cocktail hour, on the golf course, on the racquetball court} but now it’s digital and provides a huge ROI.

Coaching the messages and training employees how and when to use their voices to benefit the business should not just be reserved for Sales People – nor should it be a one-time event. 

Leveraging employees who share in the collective culture of contributing to the fiscal health of their place of work comes with training and trust and will multiply your sales and marketing efforts by adding more members to the team.

Until Next time, keep kickin’ butt!

-sks