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Consultants Recommend How All Employees Can "Sell"

Monday, May 2, 2011
The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® has asked it's global members to recommend techniques and best practices to encourage non-sales people to help in the sales process. Here is a sample of the findings.

"It's important to remember that most of the people who 'sell' your product or service aren't really sales people at all," said Linda Popky, president of Redwood City, CA-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates. "Anyone who has a customer-facing role—whether in person, on the phone, or through email or the web—can significantly impact not just current sales but future business for your organization.

"Each individual who touches a customer in any way leaves a lasting impression that can impact the value of your brand. That's why it's so important that all of your employees understand the image you want to portray and the key attributes of your brand," she said. "They should be able to clearly articulate how you are different from the other alternatives available to your customers and should understand how their interactions with those customers can make or break a customer relationship.

"It's not about asking them to 'sell' products as much as it is encouraging them to always convey the value you offer whenever they have the opportunity to touch a customer."

Growth consultant and author John Carroll sees non-sales people as the great untapped resource in strengthening the company's revenues. "There are so many examples of non-sales people who want to be in the game and would enjoy helping that it would require very little in the form of incentives," he says. "Take the truck driver of the distribution firm who knows more than just about anyone when it comes to what and how much customers are buying from competitors. The driver mentions, 'We'd be happy to quote on your next order of widgets,' or asks, 'What else are you going to need this week that you hadn't anticipated before now?' The driver is usually glad to strengthen that customer relationship and get a $20 gas card for adding several hundred or a thousand dollars to this week's sales numbers."

Carroll, president of consulting firm Unlimited Performance, Inc. in Mount Pleasant, SC ( adds, "Companies that raise the business literacy of their non-sales people can create a fully supportive sales culture simply by sharing the numbers, creating a modest incentive for participation that generates desired results and using a scoreboard-type tracking mechanism that allows everyone to see progress.

"We all like to be identified with winning and winners," Carroll concludes, "and getting non-sales people into the sales game and having them feel like winners can make a huge difference in revenues in both short-term games and long-term business processes."

"Those companies who find a way to jump start sales in today's lackluster recovery will thrive in the new normal; thus, it is vital to figure out how to best leverage non-sales people to boost sales," points out Lisa Anderson of LMA Consulting Group, Inc. in Claremont, CA. "Leadership will succeed if they implement a few critical steps: 1) Ignite the passion of the workforce towards achieving the vision. 2) Provide simple yet practical ways in which employees can help achieve the goal. 3) Utilize the power of focus—stay involved, ask questions, appreciate progress, remove roadblocks, empower employees and celebrate success."

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach and member of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is the president of Working Resources, a boutique strategic talent management consulting and leadership coaching firm in San Francisco, California. He offers a few insights:

It's no new news that we are in a difficult business climate that requires making connections and building relationships more important than ever. We buy from people we know, like and trust. So marketing and making sales is more important than ever. However, the problem is that the old way of making sales by pressuring potential customers into buying may actually help you lose the sale and have unintended dire consequences. We all need to market and create sales especially in this challenging economy. However, there is a much better way by asking permission and establishing a relationship first.

According to Dr. Brusman, "Non-sales people may need to change their mindsets about sales. It is important to coach non-sales people to reframe their belief system so that sales and business development are more about partnership and service than interrupting and bothering customers to buy their stuff. Sales is more about creating mindsets about authenticity, meaning and values, and creating relationships than merely making short-term numbers for personal gain."

SAC CEO Alan Weiss, PhD, notes that, "Everyone must be in the hunt to gain customers and capitalize on existing customer relationships. You can never be sure when and where the opportunities are, so everyone had better be prepared."

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