“Yeah “management” won’t let us do THAT any more … I guess they don’t want business!”
Your employees are out day after day talking to your customers and business partners. You likely hire new people, you promote people into new roles and you have people who have been there a long time … do you really know what they are all saying?
You ASSume that people know what they should say.
You ASSume that they understood the company messages and can articulate them.
“Never assume the obvious is true.” William Safire
You gave them that 2 hour on-boarding presentation; that new rep has been with the company for years; or, that other new rep has been in the industry for years, so they know the answers … right?
Could you imagine one of your staff saying, “I agree with you, but the paper pushers in head office want it done this way!” or maybe (even worse), “Yes, I know the paperwork says we will do that … but REALLY, in the REAL world it just doesn’t happen!”
Clients want us to solve their problems … they don’t want to hear about ours; AND we want our salespeople to have a relationship with our clients but building that relationship with “the company” as a common enemy is a slippery slope. If a rep is willing to run down their own company how much is a client going to trust them?
What can you do?
“Wisdom…. comes not from age, but from education and learning.” Anton Chekhov
I think most salespeople WANT to do a good job and represent their company well. They don’t want to look silly, so if they are not armed with the right answers then they are just as likely to develop their own on the fly! (That’s what I would do!)
The answer is ongoing training … a continuous education that ASSumes nothing.
The only way to be fairly sure that the messages delivered to your clients are at least CLOSE to what you would like, is to ensure the sales team is armed with the right information.
Probably the best form of this kind of training involves role playing. Have your experienced people demonstrate and the “newbies” can see how its done before they demonstrate their new skills.
It is an investment you really can’t ignore … you really don’t want to hear from that key client that they are going elsewhere, because they were not treated well!
Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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