Innovative marketing, creative advertising campaigns and cutting edge technology, while well thought out, won’t change what consumers think about salespeople. In fact, slick ads and savvy marketing often increase expectations about the buying experience that the sales staff is unprepared to meet. The result is further erosion of the relationship between consumers and salespeople. An unfortunate negative reinforcement of the preconceived notions consumers have that salespeople and the businesses who employ them don’t really care and only want to make a buck off them.

Customers are no longer individuals with their own needs, wants and desires; they are buying segments, target groups, prospects and revenue streams. In most cases, all they represent are the ‘orders’ we resent our salespeople for taking.

As salespeople went to work with a dominate focus of merely taking orders and making sales, consumers rightly decided salespeople didn’t care about them and only wanted to sell them their products. They based this on the attitudes and behavior of the salespeople they engaged.  This lack of trust has led consumers to now state in surveys that they just hope the salesperson will stay out of their way. Being knowledgeable, helpful, interested and engaging are not even on buyers’ radar screens of their expectations of salespeople.

The bottom lines of revenue and profit are, and always will be, dramatically affected by the attitudes, skills and actions of people. When we started making the bottom line our singular focus and sacrificed the relationship with our buyers, we started to sabotage the attitudes, skills and actions of everyone in our business, especially our sales management and salespeople.

Peter Drucker once said, “The purpose of business is to make customers”.  In the recent publication “Selling Is Dead”, the authors paraphrase Mr.Drucker by saying, “The purpose of business is to make new customers”. This subtle change reinforces the intention back to merely taking orders. There is no thought to establishing a culture that develops a relationship that will create a lifelong, satisfied customer. This bottom line intention has created the behavior that has broken the relationship between buyers and sellers. This intention needs to be changed for any business to heal the relationship, improve sales and reduce costs.

The consumer and salesperson relationship has deteriorated to the point that consumers no longer believe or trust salespeople. Since everyone is a consumer, this mistrust has spread to the non-sales employees in most companies. Since they believe they can’t trust salespeople as a consumer, why would they trust the salespeople in their own company? Believe it or not, for nearly two decades, salespeople have told us they don’t trust or believe other salespeople!

This culture has also invaded the executive branch in most companies. While most management teams today complain that their salespeople are just order takers, the entire company needs to assume responsibility for the culture that created this and start to lead your business with new intentions and new sales management strategies.

It is time to change your intentions, heal the relationship between buyers and sellers and reap the benefits. Making Customers, Inc. is leading the way in executive leadership, sales management, customer engagement and corporate intentions change.

By Mike Moore with Kirk Chittick

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