In a small Tokyo sales office of a Kansai-based company, the sales manager in charge habitually turns away sales people from other companies who call unannounced as a matter of course. It doesn’t matter what they have to offer or whom they would like to meet. He is uninterested. The office is small enough that when the sales manager sends a visitor packing, it is in full view of staff.
Yet when his own sales people make the same kind of calls on a prospect company, the sales manager expects that at least his sales people will be received, heard, and possibly connected with the right person who can judge for himself or herself if a longer conversation is warranted.
Imagine for a moment the message such treatment of a visitor by the sales manager sends to sales staff, as well as other staff in the business. Do you think the sales staff believe their manager views their sales work as valuable and deserving of respect when he does not seem to view the same of that of others? How do you think the behavior of their own manager impacts sales staff confidence and attitude when they go out on calls? And what about non-sales staff? What do you think the impact is on how they view sales work, including the work of their colleagues?
Sales is a noble profession. Sales people enable others to improve their lives. I have clients who provide services and products that help business owners to become more wealthy, business managers to improve their results, individuals to fight off deadly diseases, car owners to keep themselves, their families, and others safe, and people to enjoy the pleasures in life, among myriad other means of creating value. It is more often than not a sales person, and not some AI bot on a server somewhere, that connects people with that value, without whom they might otherwise miss out.Sales is a noble profession. Sales people enable others to improve their lives. Click To Tweet
What could possibly be more noble than that?
At a company I know, admin staff are told to block sales people from other companies making unannounced calls, whether calling from the outside or calling from the company’s lobby. Yet whenever one of the directors of the business who is also part owner happens to encounter a sales person in the lobby, she always talks with him or her. She knows that what he or she has to offer might be valuable, so better to at least hear what they have to say. The company has improved its business thanks to unexpected sales people who have come calling. So why on earth would you have employees instructed to block sales calls?
Even if what a sales person has to offer is not for you, it might be for someone else you know. Why not refer him or her? Wouldn’t you want others to do the same for your salesforce, or for you?
Sales people come into contact with a lot of people and businesses, including your customers and prospects. It’s not unusual for people to ask a sales person what they think of a business they have visited, whether they made a sale or not. What would you like another company’s sales person to tell others about you?
And never underestimate a sales person’s propensity to refer your business to others, even if you are not a customer of theirs. If a sales person knows something about you and your business, and believes you can help his or her customer in some way, he or she will give referrals. And why not? Referrals only increase the value of the sales person in their customer’s eyes, and that is always a good thing whether they do business with you or not.
Sales is a noble profession. Personally, I return all calls within ninety minutes during business hours, whether from a client, a prospect, or someone else, and that includes sales people. I do not screen sales calls, or have someone screen them for me, because—and I’ll say it once more—sales is a noble profession.
Do your sales people know that? Do your employees? What about you?