Most companies’ sales strategy defaults to, “Our salespeople’s job is to sell the next person they meet”.  When something happens by default it usually takes the path of least resistance and creates average results at best.  If you do what everyone else does the odds are you’ll get what everyone else gets and that is average at best.  Above average or exceptional results are created by attitudes and actions different from the norm and never happen by default.

The attitudes and actions that created the relationship that now exists between consumers and salespeople happened by default. No one would have started out wanting to create the mistrust and suspicion that now exists between consumers and salespeople. This relationship is an unintended consequence of using a sales strategy created by default to just sell something.

When a company needs more sales what do they do?  They escalate the existing strategy by increasing advertising, and the pressure on their salespeople to make more sales.  Add in that if this isn’t working well enough they add more salespeople, increase incentives for new sales or lower prices. The consequence is usually higher cost of sales and operations generating lower profits even if you make more sales.

It has been proven many times and even the CFO knows that referral and repeat business costs less and is more profitable than new business, yet most companies’ do little more than talk about customers, repeat business or referral business.  Sales people with new sales intentions may be told to ask for referrals or call back their customers, but in our existing default strategy this produces little to no results because no one want to talk to salespeople or give the names of friends to a salesperson.

Companies even started customer service departments and began calling them customer retention.  This creates higher costs and poor results in customer loyalty because the consumer’s relationship with a company starts with the salesperson and is difficult to change after the first impression given by our default strategy of, “We only want to sell you something”.

Since customers create repeat and referral business that makes a company grow and generates more profit, then why turn over the customer to someone whose job has become fixing problems not keeping customers and converting the service contact into repeat or referral business.  The answer is an unintended consequence of our default sales strategy to just make more sales.

We have become so distracted by new sales we forgot the best way to get more sales is to make customers.

You won’t convert a sale to a customer often enough to grow your business significantly.  The focus of the consumer and salesperson relationship has become, what’s in it for me on both sides because consumers believe you don’t care about them.

Business growth comes from adding customers, not just sales. Most companies are experiencing how difficult it is to keep generating new sales without a loyal customer following. Higher cost of sales is inevitable if you continue with the existing sales process that happens because of our default sales strategy.

Customers are best created by changing the intentions at the point of first contact with consumers, then continuing the relationship as the most important part of your business. If this relationship doesn’t change then nothing we do will create satisfactory return on investment.

It’s time for a new sales strategy and new business model…

By Mike Moore

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