Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

NEW HOME SALES LEADERS, EXECUTIVES, MANAGERS & DIRECTORS… You don’t want to miss this year’s PCBC Sales Workshop. We’re going to talk about how the messenger can deliver the message that will blow the top off your sales results!


Selling isn’t something you do to people, it’s not something you do for them either. Most salespeople are busy talking at people, making presentations or asking questions to try and figure out how to sell them their product or service. I’ve been asked often, “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that the purpose of selling?” My answer is an empathic, “No!”

Selling is something you need to do with people. Sales are a result, not the purpose of selling. Selling is a noble profession, a vocation really, when it is done with people, to help, serve and do what’s best for them. Selling is only perverted when the sale becomes the purpose or focal point and money becomes the aim.

If you truly want to increase your sales, grow you business and make more money, you’ll begin to be a ‘servant on a mission’ to help people. Then, and only then, will you begin to connect and communicate with people. Because then, people will connect and communicate with you. The intention to make a sale and the pressure applied by businesses, sales managers and sales trainers to make sales the focal point, or intention of a sales engagement, has damaged the profession of selling by creating mistrust of, and contempt for, salespeople. The intention to make a sale, makes people retract from salespeople. In the end it sabotages the very result everyone wants…More sales, more customers and more money.

When you become a ‘servant on a mission’ you also become an advocate for consumers and buyers. You become the trusted advisor who’ll be invited to lead and guide people on their buying journey. You’ll begin to make customers, not sales! Your business will grow and your results will amaze you when you let the sale be an outcome, a result of a higher purpose to help, serve and do what’s best for the buyer.  When you engage people in a sales conversation with their interests as the focal point, not yours, they can feel it and you become different. Make no mistake, until you do this, you will look, sound and act like every other salesperson and your results will not change and your passion for the profession of sales will not grow or be fulfilled.

Become the ‘servant on a mission’ and separate yourself from the pack so you’ll be invited to lead and guide the buyer on their buying journey. Great salespeople have always been servants who let the sales be a result of their service not the focus of their efforts.

By Mike Moore ‘First Posted, April 2012’

Consumers are retracting from salespeople more today than ever. They don’t believe salespeople because they believe salespeople only want to sell them something.

Salespeople go to work everyday to make sales and sales managers and companies apply pressure on salespeople to make sales. So, most salespeople start with the same intention and this causes them to behave so similarly that it’s hard to tell them apart. This intention to make a sale is sabotaging sales and chasing consumers away. It’s this intention that makes salespeople needy, desperate and unattractive. New intentions that lead to new behavior are necessary to overcome consumers preconceived beliefs, change this relationship and increase sales.

To be different, think different. Start at the core to change your sales engagement with consumers. If you want to create bold new results from your sales efforts, shift your intentions.

Make this your mantra, focus, purpose, belief system…YOUR INTENTIONS… and watch your sales soar.

I will serve you, not please you. I will help you, not tell you.

I will care more about your reasons for buying, than my reasons for selling.

I will  focus on your ownership experience, not your buying experience.

I will always do what’s best for you.

I will work to make you a customer, not a sale!

By Mike Moore

The greatest challenge facing salespeople today is how to overcome consumer’s preconceived belief that salespeople only want to sell them something, do not care about them and after they sell them, only care about their next sale. This belief is causing consumers to avoid engaging salespeople.

It’s also accurate…If you’re a salesperson, don’t get upset, I know you’re different or at least think you are. Ask yourself one question…What’s your intention when you go to work, greet a possible buyer and when you’re making a presentation?

If you want to overcome consumers existing beliefs and increase sales, you’ll need to engage people with new intentions. You’ll need to truly intend to help, serve and do what’s best for them and not attempt to sell or persuade them to buy.  Changing your intentions will begin to create trust, open communication and allow you to use your skills…But you can’t fake this, it has to be real!

Currently, this preconceived belief, stifles quality communication, productive relationships and damages the buying experience. Consumers (buyers) don’t feel comfortable opening up and sharing with salespeople so it becomes nearly impossible to help them.

Unfortunately most companies send their salespeople out each day with the primary goal of making sales and armed with this intention salespeople reinforce the consumer’s belief because they can’t hide their intentions. Since most communication is non-verbal our intentions speak louder than our words.

How many sales leaders and sales trainers are really willing to do something different?  I am concerned that businesses and sales leaders will continue to try to do what they’ve always done and expect things to get better.  The evidence of this is seen in executives, sales management, salespeople and sales trainers willingness to go, “back to basics” when it comes to sales training, even though it is those “basics” practiced with the intention to make a sale that created the consumers preconceived beliefs and broke the relationship that exists today.

People feel what we feel and believe us, only if they believe we care about them and believe ourselves.  To be present in a conversation, become a better listener and add value to the buying process, first stop trying to sell or convince people of your reasons to buy and start paying attention to their reasons. Start your day and each sales engagement with the intention to help, serve and do what’s best for people. You can do this to everyone you talk with, feel successful and energized which we know increases sales. The decision to serve, to care about the consumer makes a salesperson someone consumers will want to talk with. These new intentions will activate your listening skills and the consumers comfort level in sharing with you.

People will open up to a salesperson or any person if they believe they care about them.  This isn’t a skill set to be practiced; it is an intentions change and shift in thinking that must take place as a core belief of  a salesperson to effectively change the conversation and relationship with consumers or buyers.

This shift in intentions will help you slow down and focus on making  customers, not just sales. It will help you focus on the buyers ownership experience, not buying experience and it will make the buying and ownership experience more satisfying.

By Mike Moore

It’s easy, right? We have our agenda, we conduct our sales meeting and our sales people nod and take notes and maybe even ask a question or two. So we leave the meeting on an upbeat note thinking we have achieved our goal of total agreement and understanding. We are confident things will change.

Until they don’t. When that first “Houston, we have a problem” arises. Usually within a day or two, we re-discover that the same old issues are cluttering up the salespeople’s thinking. No one seems to have learned anything.  It’s easy as managers to delude ourselves into thinking that everybody understands what we want them to do and what the priorities are.

What went wrong? Why weren’t they listening?

I have one question – what are you measuring? You can talk about improving your listening skills, cutting down on customer complaints and empowering your staff to make better decisions, but if your weekly reports have the same sales numbers with the same weekly results, quarterly and annual averages all in bold with trend lines indicating which direction each salesperson is headed, do you think the salespeople care much about whether or not they have improved their listening skills?

Here’s a simple little test to help discover what the priorities are in the minds of your sales staff. At your next sales meeting distribute blank 3X5 cards and ask your staff to list the three most important things that are expected of them in the performance of their job.  Anonymous. No names. And no giving them options of what to write. No trying to get them to write what you want them to write. Then hand them in. After the meeting in a quiet room, read them. Alone.

In my consulting, when I have done this with sales staffs, invariably I find that what the sales staff writes down is exactly what the Company has been communicating their priorities are. Numbers. Quotas. Sales rates. Cancellation rates. Conversion rates. Sales contest standings. Procedure. Policies. Whatever. What you say in the sales meetings about our customer service scores or whether or not I am nicer to the customer or a better listener, always comes after the sales numbers in the meeting.  And by the way, you never, ever have any of those more subtle communication skills on the sales report. That report never changes. Numbers. Numbers. Numbers.

Once again, management, well intentioned though it may be, is looking at the score instead of looking at what needs to be done to change the score. Have you thought about not giving the sales report to the sales people? That is the result. Not the process. Don’t you want them to concentrate their energies on what is needed to be done and the best way to do it? If I, as the sales leader/manager have educated, trained and motivated them properly, the results will take care of themselves. Besides, even without a report, don’t your salespeople know the numbers anyway?

The numbers report is merely a snapshot taken from the long running live drama that is the performing art of selling. As we all know in sales management, your sales people are working just as hard, if not harder, on the lousy report weeks as they are on the good report weeks.

Sales people are dealing with potential, personality and all the interactive dynamics that come in to play as part of the process of human interaction and communication. If senior management wants to effect positive change the emphasis needs to be on improving the process. Who are you meeting with? What are the buyers saying? Is advertising from marketing delivering the right numbers of qualified traffic? If not, why not? What about pricing? Where are we better than the competition? Where is the competition better than we are?

As a Company, how do we define what excellence in sales looks like? How do we deliver excellence once we have defined it? What is in the way of that excellence? Or who?

By asking these types of questions, we get away from the ‘it was raining this week’ type of excuses that do nothing to shed light on anything positive related to the process. We need to get to the much more substantial and positive dialogue between the trained and well educated sales professionals we have on our staff and upper management. Improve the process and you improve the result.

The issue often reduces to time and energy. It’s extremely difficult, time consuming and energy draining to have an open and honest conversation about what really is going on and what to do about it. It’s much easier to have the usual mind numbing meeting with talk about ‘what happened this week’ and the normal clichés, excuses and palaver that passes off as serious sales management.

Have a different kind of sales meeting. Start to change the process in your Company.  Change the process and you change the result.

The Sales Revolution is all about changing the interaction between buyers and consumers. But it starts with changing the interaction between the sales staff and management. We can help. Join The Sales Revolution and be a part of the next wave of change!

By Kirk Chittick

Step 1) Meet and Greet…Step 2) Qualify or Discovery …Step 3) Present Features , Advantages and Benefits…Step 4) Handling Resistance…Step 5) Closing. These steps have been taught a thousand different ways as a process, when in fact, they are a map of what happens, not a process. Used as a process, salespeople try to do them to people instead of understanding them as a map of where they are in a conversation. These points are destinations on the map of what’s happening when the person shopping likes and trusts the salesperson enough to participate in a conversation by opening up and sharing. They happen when consumers and salespeople connect. They happen when a salesperson has the right intention. They don’t happen because of what is said, they happen because of what is felt by the consumer.

Selling is about connecting and communicating, not a process, and companies need to train their salespeople how to connect, communicate and serve from the first hello. Then they will prosper.  If they don’t change this dynamic I believe they will become extinct. I’ve believed this since 1996 and I don’t see companies changing how they engage the consumer…I see them putting more pressure on salespeople to make sales, making all their salespeople sound the same and reducing the purchase to price. Vicious cycle, but self-generated.

The most often mentioned poorest skill of salespeople is their listen skills. Poor listening skills can be attributed to the intention to make a sale and the desire to execute the steps as a sales process, instead of serve the consumers needs. Sales people are waiting to move the buyer to the next step to get to the close. They aren’t trying to have a conversation, to come to an understanding, to serve another person.

Even when need satisfaction selling is taught or the qualifying/discovery process is made the focus, consumers don’t open up to salespeople when they feel their main intent is to sell them.  Salespeople who are asking questions to get to the next step instead of connecting to serve another person turn consumers off and chase them away. Intent can’t be faked either, it’s communicated at the deepest of human connections and can’t be hidden.

Intentions have to be trained, and more importantly they have to be managed. Intentions are more important than tactics in creating a real dialogue and relationship that can increase sales. If the salesperson has the proper intention, understands the map and has skills to make their product part of the consumers finished desire, a great ownership experience not just a great buying experience, then customers are made, not just sales. When customers are made, sales increase through higher capture rates, increased average sale, higher average unit price. Additionally profit margins increase and can be maintained. Oh, and don’t forget, repeat and referral business adds new traffic or opportunities that increase sales and grow your business.

It’s not brain surgery but it does take a force of will, a real commitment to new training to help salespeople understand the map, not the process, to undue the damage of the process they’ve been trained to do for the past 4 decades. Training to teach them how to connect with consumers to make customers, not just sales. It takes training and managing to change the intention that’s been instilled in them and created the dysfunctional relationship that exists today between salespeople and consumers. This time though there’s more at stake than improving you sales, it’s about survival!

By Mike Moore

Architects, Designers and the Commercial Floor Covering Contractor

When two groups who work together don’t communicate it is no wonder they aren’t aware of what they could be doing to help each other. This became evident during a panel discussion between leaders from the Architecture and Design Community and Flooring Contractors at the ReSource Commercial Flooring Network’s Annual Conference.

The distinguished panel from the A&D community, Jana Gunsul of DES Architects, Ruth Cline of Little Diversified Architectural and Annette Wiley of Perkins Will came to engage the ReSource Commercial Network’s members to share with them in a panel discussion. This was an open discussion where both sides shared what they could do to help each other and deliver better services to their clients.

Kemp Harr from shared that their studies reveal commercial designers depend on the manufacturer’s representatives as their primary source for floor covering specification information and the panelists agreed. Then they asked if this was the best way to do business, and the discussion revealed some surprises for the design community and encouragement for the flooring contractors.

In regards to depending on the manufacturer’s reps, Jana Gunsul shared, and the panelists agreed that there were also many less experienced designers coming into their industry who were depending heavily on the manufacturer’s reps for specification information. Annette told the group she hadn’t been called on by a flooring contractor in 10 years. Jana mentioned she was invited to the conference by a flooring contractor that she has an 18 year relationship with as a trusted floor covering resource, but had never met them face-to-face until the conference…18  years, really! Another flooring contractor shared they no longer called on designers of design firms while others said designers were vital to their business.

The discussion then turned to the realities that the designer’s deal with in specifying floor covering.  Jana said, “The first concern is that we are dealing with contractors who can understand our design intentions and help deliver the finished project successfully.” The panelists then agreed that accurate installed pricing, installation issues, after installation performance and maintenance topped the list. The other hot topics at this time were LEED, sustainability and moisture issues. The flooring contractors eagerly shared their expertise in these areas.  This was the beginning of the panelists revelation and they agreed they needed to make relationships with flooring contractors.  Jana said, “We have a valuable untapped resource and partnership that we all need to take advantage of.”

The key question the flooring contractors wanted answered was, “How do we call on you, the designer, and become your resource and build a relationship. Ruth Cline explained that the designers needed and wanted education.  In fact, she reminded the flooring contractors that the designers didn’t get any practical flooring education in design school.  Installation, performance, moisture, maintenance and anything that can keep them out of trouble and increase their customer’s satisfaction would be helpful. Ruth, Jana and Annette agreed the flooring contractors needed to package education on all these topics.  Annette suggested, “Floor covering contractors should take the initiative and craft a compelling educational program and present it to design principals.” She believed they would get very positive response if they did. Courtney Karlin, ReSource San Diego, shared that they have been doing sustainability education and training for designers in their market with good success. Annette added, “I learned, and it surprised me, how beneficial to the designer it would be to get advice and counsel from an experienced flooring contractor as part of the early selection process and utilizing their knowledge base to really explore appropriate products for the project application.” These are the comments from Design Industry leaders with years of experience, so imagine the response from less experienced designers.

Ruth Cline wrapped up her thoughts about the discussion by saying, “It’s now clear that there is a great opportunity for us to work together to increase each other’s awareness and knowledge of the issues we face on both the design side and the installation side. If we can find a way to develop trusting relationships and capitalize on the opportunity, we will see positive results for our projects and clients and we all ultimately win.”

I’ve found that during the construction boom everyone involved was so busy they often didn’t take time to communicate, learn and make the relationships that could best serve them.  It became easier to find the fastest way to get the job done even when it might not have been the best way. In this ‘new economy’ with all of the cost cutting measures, people are still busy and often overloaded so they continue with the fastest way to get things done. This was again exposed in the discussions by both the panelists and flooring contractors.

In training and coaching businesses for 30 years, it is normal that people need reminding that the best way to do business isn’t usually the easy way. Salespeople stop talking to the best potential clients because they are hard to get to or the return seems slow. This was exposed during the discussion as Jana shared about Rosie, her companies’ gate keeper, and how she guards her firm from those calling on them. One of the ReSource members asked how to get around Rosie and we discussed the need to start the relationship with Rosie. Another Resource member said, “Rosie isn’t the decision maker.” After some discussion the majority agreed she is the first decision maker. It is however, more common than we want to admit that salespeople are trying to figure out how to get around the gate keeper instead of starting the relationship with them. Everyone agrees that business is about relationships but most salespeople are more intent on making sales, than the relationship that will create more business and increase sales. This was again evident during the panel discussions.

The good news coming from the discussions was that commercial floor covering contractors have plenty of knowledge, information and services to help the A&D community and they want and need them. The flooring contractor needs an organized education program to offer designers and real partnerships with their manufacturer’s representatives to begin making relationships that will serve everyone involved.

By Mike Moore

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 driven by the intention to make customer, not just sales!

By Mike Moore

What makes one person cheerful, happy and able to handle the hassles of a normal day, while another is upset, frustrated and ready to quit when adversity comes? Our intentions and expectations drive our emotional state-of-mind. Too often they focus us on our circumstances and not solutions to our circumstances. This will make our emotional state-of-mind a roller coaster ride full of peaks and valleys that sabotage our ability to create the results or life we want. We have to set the proper expectation and intentions that will generate the behavior that will create the results we want. We have to start in our mind before we take action.

It’s  simple really, just not easy. When you wake up in the morning what are your intentions for the day ahead?  I have asked individuals and groups, large or small, this question over the past two decades and the overwhelming number one answer is, “I want to have a good day”.  When I ask people to define a good day, the definition is, “A day with little to no problems, no hassles and nothing to worry about”.   When I ask them how many days a year this intention or expectation is met, they usually answer, “None”.  So, the majority of people I meet and speak with, start each day with an unrealistic intention, that when not fulfilled, makes them frustrated, upset or stressed out.  We’ll discuss stressed out later but let’s stay focused on how to use our intentions and expectations to better serve us and drive us towards the life or results we really want, instead of setting us up for more bad days ahead.

First, let’s look at how we ever got to an intention of no problems, no hassles and no worries.  When we wake up each day we have a choice to make, “Better or Comfortable”.  Our human nature wants us be comfortable, not better. Can you picture early man in a cave?  It wasn’t until he knew someone else had a better cave that he decided to go look for a better cave for himself.  Our human nature makes us content to be comfortable but it’s constantly driving us to compare ourselves to others. We really don’t wake up each day driven to be better human beings or to make things in our life better.  If we did we wouldn’t have most of the issues confronting society today. But let’s stay focused on how we can overcome our human nature and stop sabotaging our own lives. When we define a good day as no problems, no hassles and no adversity, when we are confronted with the first problem, how do we react? If you said, “frustrated”, you would be right.  By definition, this intention has set you up to be frustrated. Not the best state-of–mind to handle life’s problems. It is also my experience that defining a good day with comfort as our primary goal, leads to becoming frustrated when you meet the first problem of the day, which starts a downward spiral of poor emotions. These emotions make you less capable of handling the next problem or the adversity you are confronted with and may even make you withdraw or quit trying to overcome the obstacles in your day.

How can you change your intentions to change your results? Everyday the choice you make, makes you.  When you start your day, change your intentions by changing your definition of a good day.  Let’s revisit the idea or definition of a good day. If your choice is comfort you define it as “no problems”. Think about when you feel best about yourself. Your self-worth or self-esteem is best when you overcome adversity, solve problems and help others.  So to change your results, to develop the emotional state-of-mind to make a difference in your life, you need a new definition of a good day.

This new definition can help you make a better first choice as you wake up each day. Define a good day as one where you find, meet and overcome adversity. Yes, you need to wake each day looking for problems.  Problems to solve that will help people.  You should not be looking to make problems, but to find existing problems and help solve them.  If you are part of a problem, then become part of the solution.  You should be looking for ways to serve or help others.  This definition will help you not avoid conflict and endure difficulties with the proper emotional state-of-mind.  With this definition, when you find problems you will be prepared and not be frustrated.  You will meet them head on and you will find solutions.

Adversity and problems are the obstacles that stand between where you are and the results or life you want.  The first step to overcoming adversity and problems is your attitude or emotional state-of-mind, which is most affected by your intentions and expectations created by your daily choice, “Comfort or Better”.

Redefine a good day and begin to experience them everyday until your life is a journey of solutions that serve others and rewards you with the results and ultimately the life you want.

By Mike Moore

When two people communicate they usually start with different intentions for the conversation. People usually are more interested in trying to make their point or communicate their message than they are in the other person’s point or message. Most of the latest studies on how people communicate, how their mind works, have discovered that 93% of our communication is non-verbal. When people begin to communicate, their intention is focused on their point or message. People begin communicating with a wall built between their two points or messages. How we drop the wall and turn it into a bridge between two people is the key to all communication and the first step in increasing sales.

Now think about sales communication, sales training or the sales process. First think about the fact that all those descriptions are focused on the seller’s point or message not the buyer’s. We don’t call it buyer’s communication, buyer’s training or the buying process…We have taught selling from the seller’s perspective not the buyer’s. This has created sales intentions as the seller’s focus, point or message and these intentions have built walls of resentment, mistrust and a preconceived belief in buyers, that sellers care more about the sale than they do about the buyer. This is just an example of how our intentions communicate louder than our words.

Non-verbal communication isn’t something that confirms what we are saying, it precedes what we say and affects how others hear the words we use. We are all aware that two people can say the same thing and be conveying two completely different points or messages. Even one word answers like “fine” can be used to convey different messages. All that is needed is to change our tone and we convey different feelings with the same word.

This is why when we train salespeople to sell, by teaching them what to say, we find that different salespeople get different results using the same techniques. In fact, even the same salesperson gets different results when using the same techniques on different people. Trainers usually explain this as the result of the expertise with which the technique is delivered. When we understand that most of our communication is non-verbal and comes from our intentions, then we start to understand that this just isn’t true.

It isn’t the skill or expertise with which sales techniques are delivered that creates the communication that increases sales. It is our intentions that communicate first, connects people, opens doors, allows for real dialogue and creates relationships. Then and only then will we see sales techniques used effectively to help people buy and this will increase sales and begin making customers. The proper intentions can also be translated to a sales force and begin to make all salespeople more effective much more quickly than standardizing presentations, scripts or techniques.

Salespeople’s intentions must shift from selling, to helping people buy, serving people and doing what’s best for the buyer. The buyer has to be the focus of selling, instead of selling being the focus of selling.

If you want what almost all sales trainers, sales managers and salespeople have tried to create for years, dialogue with buyers, better exchange of information, real relationships, increased sales, repeat and referral business, then the selling conversation has to change. It can’t unless the salesperson’s intentions change.

The conversation between two people, a buyer and a seller, has to be focused on the buyer. Salespeople’s intentions must be aligned with the buyers to make this happen. A salespersons goal cannot be to sell the next person they talk to. It must be to find the next person who really wants what they are selling. These intentions changes will created the dialogue, relationships and increase sales.

Selling can no longer be a contest to see if a salesperson can convince the buyer to align with the sellers intentions.  “Selling ice to Eskimos isn’t a good thing unless they really need ice.” A salespersons intention has to be to help, serve and do what’s best for the buyer or the only change you will experience is more deterioration in the relationship between buyers and sellers. Salespeople must move their focus from getting an order and the buying experience to the buyer’s ownership experience. Move the focus further out in the relationship and the conversation between buyer and seller will change and the results will be dramatic.

For sales to increase, salespeople must stop trying to sell and start trying to help people buy. The core focus for business and salespeople must be to make customers, not sales! Then business will grow through increased capture rates of new customers, repeat and referral sales and lower customer service cost will be a byproduct.

With the right intentions salespeople can be freed to trust their instincts, better serve the buyer and be successful every day. They will begin to do business with people instead of selling people and they will relax and enjoy the profession of sales. Armed with these intentions salespeople will differentiate themselves, their products and their companies from their competition.  Isn’t that what you’ve been trying to do?

From one recovering traditional sales trainer (I have been clean and without sales intentions for over 16 years now and it’s a beautiful life.) to all of you who sell, train or manage salespeople, here’s wishing that the rest of your career is free of sales intentions.

By Mike Moore

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

To “close” more sales today, and in the future, we need a fundamental shift in sales training to create a shift in salespeople’s intentions. 

Traditional sales training, teaching salespeople what to say and how to handle selling situations with the intention to sell has helped create the relationship that now exists between salespeople and consumers. Most consumers today do not believe, trust or even want to talk to salespeople. The latest studies show most consumers believe salespeople’s main concern is the transaction, aka “closing sales” and this causes consumers to want to avoid salespeople..

Traditional sales training falls short because it leaves out how the consumer communicates with salespeople and what motivates them to engage salespeople. We have a standoff today because no matter what you try to say to a consumer, if they won’t open up and participate in the sales process, everyone loses, especially the consumer and fewer sales are “closed”. Sales training has to teach and change more than what a salesperson says to a consumer.

New intentions training is needed to change the dysfunctional relationship between salespeople and consumers. Teaching leadership, sales management and salespeople new sales intentions will change the communication with the consumer at a non-verbal level. Only then will consumers begin to trust salespeople, open up, share and allow salespeople to better serve them and more sales will be, “closed”.

We are at a critical point in the buyer/seller relationship.  To make a positive change, training should include executives, sales management and salespeople, who all need new intentions to change the communication with consumers, heal this relationship and see an increase in sales as a result.

More training is definitely needed but not more of the same that helped create the consumer and salesperson relationship that exists today. Traditional sales training won’t get the ROI needed to motivate businesses to invest and keep investing to get real results.

By Mike Moore