Why the sales process never stops

The other week, a client expressed an unfortunate but too frequent complaint about certain salespeople:

"Salespeople tell you whatever they think you want to hear to close a sale. But once you've signed off and the tech people come in to fulfill it, they say you can't have the product as promised! Their justification, if you can call it that: 'Well that's salespeople. They'll tell you anything.'"

We often hear stories such as this. But there's also a universal truth for any company that operates this way: they're doomed to lose customers and fail. As a customer, why would you ever give your business to them again?

Companies like this fall into the trap of believing that the business sales process stops with the first order. In reality of course, it doesn't. Nor does it stop with the fulfillment of that order. Nor does it stop with the next order, or the fulfillment of that. The selling process, in fact, never stops. And it's businesses that understand and embrace this that are the most enduringly successful.

These businesses understand that the sales process is about building a relationship that extends far beyond the sales person. Every person in the organization is in fact part of this process; the very reason their job exists is to solve customer problems and fulfill customer needs. In essence the salesperson has point duty on behalf of every member of the company.

You may ask: How do other people in the organization, like customer service, engineering, finance or technical support, sell? In the narrowest sense of the word, maybe they don't. But they do communicate with customers in many different ways, and as we covered in How simple communication sells, at its heart effective selling is nothing more than effective communication.

So every contact with a customer has implications either on the next potential order or what they'll tell others about their experience with your organization. And it will make or break you as a business because the facts are it's far more profitable to retain customers you already have than it is to get new ones. Happy customers are one of your best assets, so you need to look after them.

Which is why every person in your business should participate in some form of a sales training program. They need to understand how to sell so they can appreciate why effective 'communication' with customers is critical to business success, and the role they play in that sales process.

But none of this absolves your salespeople of responsibility! In fact, the most responsibility still lies with them, because selling isn't only making a promise, but delivering on it. If they can't work in tandem with others in your business to ensure that this happens, then the sales process ceases to be effective and you've lost a customer.

Posted: 3/30/2010 10:45:21 PM by Andy Klein | with 0 comments
Filed under: communication, process, sales, salespeople, selling, training
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