Would Your Customers Give You a Gold Medal?

August 13, 2012  |  Posted by in Uncategorized

Concha Allen, PhD
Jerry and Felicia Campbell Endowed Professor
Department of Marketing and Hospitality Services Administration
Central Michigan University

Michael Phelps with 2012 Gold Medal

In today’s environment, a successful sales professional must serve as customer advocate. Customers are looking for Champions – sales professionals willing to stand up for them throughout the selling company’s value chain, from design to production to customer service to delivery to billing, and so on.

As sales professionals, we often find ourselves caught in a tug-of-war between the organization we are selling for and the one we are selling to. As the boundary spanner, the sales professional understands better than anyone in their organization the specifications of the order, and should focus as much on communicating those specs back to their selling organization as they did in the communication with the buyer who initiated the sale. This attention to detail is necessary to prevent miscommunication and less-than-optimal delivery. When miscommunication occurs among internal customers, the external customer is most affected.

In addition to asking questions, listening, and recommending solutions, the sales professional’s role has expanded to include negotiating equitable terms for both parties. Often resistance is met on the seller’s side as a multitude of managers and departments fight internally for their budgetary lines, division of profit margin and resource allocation. It is the salesperson who must navigate the treacherous internal processes within the selling organization to ensure the outcome meets the customer’s intended goals. The following are tips to prevent internal challenges:

Be Proactive: Know your company. Your customer relies on you to navigate through the internal processes within your organization. From order to delivery, there is room for error that will affect the desired results.

Build Relationships: As revenue generators, sales professionals often forget the importance of the internal value chain. One wrench in the machine can damage an otherwise solid customer win. Forge partnerships with people throughout the organization. Show appreciation. Learn the lingo. Use LAER to handle resistance or miscommunication if it arises among members of your organization. Understand terminology used throughout your organization and be sure the meaning is consistent among all parties. Remember, “Dictionaries define words, and people give them meaning.”

Be Involved: Oversee the fulfillment process. Confirm that the order entered matches the specifications and expectations of the client.

Be Accountable: Upon order fulfillment, confirm details and ensure that no shortcuts have been taken or substitutes have been delivered. If applicable, be present at time of delivery to show that you are truly a Champion.

Be Available: You may need to serve as a translator should a technical person be involved in the installation/implementation. Technical language may be different from the original language used when you made the sale.

Ensuring that outcomes match your customer’s desired results will earn you a spot on the podium. Exceeding customer expectations will earn you GOLD!

As part of our ongoing commitment to professional development, Carew International publishes a regular blog to provide timely insights for optimal sales performance. To learn more about Carew’s incomparable sales training programs, sales leadership training and customer service training, visit our website at www.carew.com.


About CMU’s Professional Sales Curriculum

Since the 2008 inception of Central Michigan University’s Professional Sales concentration and minor, the school has partnered with Carew International to provide students with the highest caliber sales training curriculum. Using the DPS professional training curriculum ensures Professional Sales students gain marketable skills and a significant competitive advantage as they begin their career in professional sales. The nationally recognized CMU Professional Sales program has grown to over 215 concentrations/minors since the inaugural class in 2008 and boasts a 100% placement of graduates within three months of graduation due to the rigorous active learning curriculum provided in partnership with Carew International.

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