Three lifetimes ago I was a Director and Distributor with a National Cosmetic firm, two lifetimes ago, I was the President and Broker/Owner of a Coldwell Banker Franchise Real Estate Company in the California Mother Lode. One lifetime ago I was Vice President and Marketing Director for California Equity Corporation, a loan brokerage firm. Each and every time our client and customer base were achieved with a boatload of selling including cold calling, collateral materials, and continual mailings.
These experiences have convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that the most important selling actually does not reside in a marketing plan consisting entirely in the development and distribution of mailing pieces and cold calling. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the greatest selling opportunities of all time are actually embodied within the four walls of our own company – our staff! They are selling ALL THE TIME.
In each phone call, coming in or going out, our staff is SELLING and so is yours. Every time they talk to an investor/note buyer or note seller, they have the potential of selling the company. The interaction that takes place is incredibly valuable and could very well be the foundation upon which the business is built. So, it stands to reason in the development of anything whether it be a building or a business if it the foundation does not have structural integrity, is not architecturally attractive and supportive, the building or the business could, over time, swerve, sway and eventually disappear from the business landscape.
If you’re not yet convinced of that, think about the alternative. Think about how a negative incident with a client, customer, or affiliate has negatively impacted your business. If just one customer has had a negative experience or is dissatisfied with the level of service you deliver, they tell nine people. This negative compounding could easily yet seriously affect your reputation and ultimately your bottom line. In the cash flow business particularly were often our success or failure is dependent upon the success of our networking with other strategic partners. Your staff is selling all the time!!
I submit that every time one of your staff has an interaction with a client or an associate, they have an opportunity to SELL themselves and SELL your business. The passion and interest they display in the business and the pride they demonstrate is considered an endorsement of the very best kind with the product you are producing or the service you are providing.
Make a concerted effort to inculcate within them the importance of a pleasant countenance, a cheery voice, a positive attitude, a willingness to assist, and a dogged determination to satisfy even the most difficult client. Teach them how to deal with difficult situations and empower them to bring resolution to the conflict. After all, your staff is the “face” of your company. There is no way you can change the first impression, you only get one shot at this.
Your investment in your staff is the best advertising you could possibly imagine. They are SELLING ALL THE TIME. Treat your staff with respect and include them in making company policy and structuring company goals, they will take an ownership interest in the results and strive to meet those goals in the best interest of the company.
When representing your company at conventions, workshops, and conferences, impress upon them the importance of exuding a positive company image. Strutting their stuff in team shirts and company badges can play a large role in representing a solid and strong company image, a united front, and positions your heads above the rest. This team spirit means a whole lot to your existing clients and customers as well. It makes them feel they have an entire team of dedicated people standing behind them, working with them and participating in their success. It also makes a strong statement to your competitors and places you light years ahead.
So, the next time you are thinking of increasing your line item designated for marketing and sales, stop and think. Take a hard look around you, a fresh look inside you, and a new look at your staff. Do they have a passion for their work? “For the company” Are they sold on what you do? Are they aware of company goals? Do they take pride in their work? If not, why not? Increasing your investment in them will bring you the greatest return on your advertising dollar. Remember, whether you know it or not, your staff is “Selling all the Time” and so are you!
This article was modified from an article originally written by Roberta Standen and posted to this site on 2006/11/24.