Sales is a service … at least it should be.

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While teaching a class recently, we were discussing how providing good customer service can sometimes be difficult.  One of the attendees made a comment about how sales people had it very tough because their main job was to separate people from their money.  I immediately stopped him and said I totally disagreed.  I went into a rant-like discourse on what I believe selling is really all about.

You see, there very well may have been a day when sales was primarily about separating people from their money but I think we have evolved from that.  And yes, there are still a lot of hangers on to those antiquated ideas of what sales people do but I hope more and more are converting to what sales really is in our modern day.

I believe the job of sales is about service not about prying money out of the hands of customers.  The real job of sales people is to find out what it is people want to accomplish and then to help them find ways to best achieve those goals.  To put it simply, sales isn’t about “what do you want?” and filling an order, it’s about “what do you want to do?” and then figuring out how to best help people do it.  Thus, sales people are really success coaches, they are guides and advisors who help us get focus on what we want and how to get there.

As far as the money part, it’s only the reward for doing this consulting job really well.  If sales people want a real gauge for determining how well they are doing, it shouldn’t be money; they should ask themselves how happy their customers are in paying the price.  If a customer grumbles about paying or says the price is too high, how well did you really do in making them successful?  How great was your solution?  A great solution that is effortless and enjoyable should have customers handing over their money with a smile on their face.

Regardless, sales should be a service not a struggle.  Money isn’t the point, helping customers successfully accomplish goals is.  If you are in sales, start thinking in terms of “what do you want to do?” so you can really see more success and customers can too.

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Service Needs G.A.S.

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The other day, I was playing golf – or in my case chasing a little white ball – with a friend and we were paired with a couple of  guys to make up a foursome.  We all got to talking what we did for a living, and when I told them that I worked with employees to improve customer service they asked me what, in my estimation, is the number one thing employees need to do to deliver great service – a little free consultation which I happily provided.

I told him that employees first and most importantly had to have GAS which of course got a laugh.  My golfing friend quickly blurted out that he would begin taking his employees to Taco Bell before every shift.  I chuckled and told him that GAS stood for Give A S**t!  Employees must first and foremost Give A S**t!  If they don’t, there is little chance of customers being served in any meaningful way.

Then I broke it down a little more.  GAS not only stands for Give A S**t, it is also an acronym that stands for something a little deeper.

G = Give because you want to.  This is an attitude of serving others because it is in your blood, you just like helping and do it because you want to, not because you have to.  This spirit is the key to any type of real hospitality.  And for those of you worried because you are thinking it isn’t in everybody’s blood, it can be developed but only when the leadership of the organization demonstrates service as a course of habit.

A = Act when you need to.  Although you may have service in your blood, there are always those days or moments when you just find others disagreeable or hard to deal with.  It is at these times that employees have to get into actor mode and become characters.  This is where standards and actions need to be trained much like directing characters in a play.  These are fallbacks for those times when serving just isn’t coming naturally.

S = Send the right messages all of the time. No matter what, we all must consider the messages we send in our actions, appearance, gestures, etc.  This, again, is where company standards for attire, responsiveness, branding…the list goes on and on…must be trained and reinforced.  Everything customers see and experience defines the organization and makes an impression that customers then communicate to others.  It is imperative that the organization define the messages it wants to send and then ensure consistent delivery of those messages.

Ultimately, it does come down to giving a s**t …about attitude, ability to put on the show even when you don’t feel it, and communicating excellence with every action.  It requires training, reinforcement, coaching, and recognition of great performance.  If you are a business leader willing to put in that effort, you will see service improvement, happier, more loyal customers, and higher revenues.

It’s Simple!

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The image here is from Tom Peters, the iconic management guru and writer.  He is one half of the creative force behind the groundbreaking book, In Search of Excellence.

When I saw this image on the banner of his website, I immediately thought it to be the most succinct way of making the business case for great service.   I love Tom Peters and his to-the-point style and his slap-in-the-face way of waking you up.  Well, here it is…WAKE UP!…how you treat people (this includes not only customers but employees) has a direct impact on customers coming back to you over and over and spending their hard-earned money with you.

Now you might ask how employees play into this…well, again, WAKE UP!…how you treat your employees impacts how they treat customers.  If your employees don’t love the business, your customers never will.  It. Is. That. Easy.

Do you want more business…more repeat business?  Do you want more revenue…more repeat revenue?  Take care of people…period.  It doesn’t matter whether they are employees or customers, take care of them and treat them fairly, honestly, and with kindness.

Peters has it absolutely right.  Kindness = Repeat Business = Profit.  Simple.

Thoughts to ponder.

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I saw this in a post recently and thought each line were good things to consider and ponder…or maybe even to post on your fridge door so you can keep them in mind as you venture forth each day.

The adventure of life is to learn.
The goal of life is to grow.
The nature of life is to change.
The challenge of life is to overcome.
The essence of life is to care.
The secret of life is to dare.
The beauty of life is to give.
The joy of life is to love.

Be your best self today!