Over the past 20 years I haven’t found anyone who thinks the relationship between salespeople and consumers is healthy.  In fact, I would say that today it has reached a critical point.  Over this same time I have only seen a handful of businesses make significant changes to do anything to improve it.  So, I am left with the conclusion that those who can make the decision to change this relationship don’t know what to do or where to turn to get the help they need.

When companies want better customer satisfaction they typically increase after the sale contact or implement new customer service programs.  This is most often too little, too late.  The biggest effect of these programs has been to increase costs more than customer loyalty. These increased business costs eventually generate pressure to make more new sales, continuing the damage done to the consumer and salesperson relationship.

The customer relationship is most often established at the point of sale.  If they feel and believe they are just a sale to the salesperson, then they are just a sale to the company.  Relationships don’t often work out when they start with inappropriate or selfish intentions.  If consumers feel the business didn’t care when they sold them, what’s to make them feel they care after the fact?  Add to this, that when I ask groups of customer service people what their job is, their response is, “to fix problems”. This is just another poor intention we address in Keeping Customers for customer service personnel.

If we define integrity as how closely our actions match our words, then businesses and salespeople have lost credibility because of low integrity.  Businesses profess to care about their customers, but act out their intentions to just make sales.

It will take a step of faith and conviction to turn this relationship around and it won’t happen overnight, just as it didn’t get damaged overnight.

The good news is that when a business makes the change from making new sales as its strategy, to making customers, it can differentiate itself from the point of first contact with consumers.  When consumers meet your salespeople, they will feel what your salespeople feel and are influenced by what your salespeople believe. This is why intentions must change to heal this relationship.

Making Customers is a new business model and strategy. It is the best business model and strategy for today.  It is this change of intention at the first contact with consumers that can result in increased sales, reduced costs and business growth.

This intentions change will also improve employee energy, morale and company pride and become a self-fulfilling prophesy for your business.

The purpose of business is to create customers and our existing business model of creating new sales has sabotaged this purpose and brought us a relationship that isn’t serving businesses or consumers. It’s time for real change and consumers are ready if you have the vision and courage to act.

By Mike Moore

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