By MIKE GULLICKSON
I’ll never forget my father telling me early in my sales career, “Nothing happens until something is sold.” And quite frankly, nothing could be truer and resonate more profoundly throughout my entire working life. As a veteran sales, service and marketing person, this mentality stuck with me and is the foundation of almost every business decision I have made in over 25 years.
There is no doubt that the contributions of all departments within any given company drive the collective success of the organization, but without sales there is nothing. The sale of one item can be the result of creative marketing, which in turn leads to several other departments from order entry, customer service, manufacturing and shipping to the final bill of sales and collections all doing their part… it all starts with the sale.
However, before any of that can happen and happen consistently, a company’s leadership must own the sales mentality and strive to be a sales-driven organization. Too many times a company will forgo the steps it should take to seek and employ frontline team members that operate with the “NHUSIS” mentality, and waste serious time and money. Driving the vision and mentality of a sales-focused company starts at the top and the effects of that trickle down leadership come into play. The company will become a representation of its leadership; if you’re not sales driven, what will you be?
There are many answers to that last question, and I have heard all of them. Things like, “we focus on service,” or “we want to be the quickest shipping company,” and of course, “we want the best quality.” Believe me, all of those things are what makes a good company great and should always be a part of the overall strategy for growth. But as always, we get right back to the first sentence in this article: “Nothing happens until something is sold.” or NHUSIS!
Let’s look at a typical consumer. On any given day, most people have the option to buy the same products from company X as they do from you. They get their research online and can determine price long before they meet you. In some cases, they can buy it online as well, but for this discussion, let’s take the Web out of play and focus on the process of buying. If all things are equal, we buy from a salesperson, and we are retained based on the service after the sale right? So again we see that even in today’s Web-based world, your company will live or die based on being and becoming a sales driven organization. And, as we all know, the more profitable sales we can drive, the greater the opportunities to become better at all those other things that support excellent sales volume.
Having worked and consulted for several companies, I can honestly say that being sales driven and understanding the importance of sales and service on the frontline is your most important challenge as a business owner or sales and service leader. No matter what business in what part of the globe, we see these similar attributes in some the most successful companies. You can also see it within every employee in a customer relationship capacity. They have an unwavering desire to do whatever it takes to win a prospect or retain a customer; they understand that every profitable sale makes the company stronger. They own their position within the company, because the top-down leadership has empowered them to do so, and elevated their sales driven mentality.
It’s easy for some to shrug off an unruly prospect, or become tired of the demanding customer, but at the end of the day, that’s just sales and service. No one said it would be easy, and most times the sales process and coddling that must take place to win new business are not for everyone. As a matter of fact, finding sales and service champions that embrace the effort that sometimes comes with the job are hard to find. We can write paragraph after paragraph about how to hire and retain champions, but for this conversation we are focusing on the importance of leadership to adopt a mentality, and bring in people that believe in the importance of the sale and the selling process.
Drive your team to adopt a sales-driven mentality and help them to stop at nothing to win the hearts and wallets of every prospect and retain every customer. Developing sales and service teams that understand the fine line between profit and loss will help you win big as a leader. Be open and honest about the effect of a profitable sale-driven relationship, and nurture the sales process with greater focus on becoming a sales-driven organization. Cross all departmental lines with the same NHUSIS mentality and you will be amazed at what happens!
Mike Gullickson is the lead consultant at www.salesforceusa.net. He has over 25 years of direct sales and service experience and has led sales and marketing divisions for companies from 1-100,000. His unique perspective on sales and service and natural enthusiasm make him an excellent consultant for just about any type of organization that has a customer contact strategy.