Urgent Sales Problems: State of Emergency

October 29, 2011
Urgent Sales Problems: State of Emergency

When you receive urgent sales problems, it is often difficult to look past them.  Instead of having a defensive front against the blaze, it's time to be on the offensive side.

Hi everyone! It’s David Matos here – former Trainer/Advisor and proud graduate of Criteria for Success. Quite a bit of time has passed since I last roamed the halls of this Blog section, but it feels good to once again contribute.

A former New Yorker in the world of sales, I now live in sunny Florida where I manage Customer Operations for a telecommunications company. I recently visited New York and got a chance to meet with the team, reminisce, and share some war stories.

During our conversation I committed to the team I would write a blog about my experiences with an old CFS adage “We rush to the urgent at the expense of the important.” Anyone who has tried to build something special knows how true it is.

So what's the worst state to live in? No, not that state (shame on those of you who said New Jersey – I used to live there and absolutely loved it). In truth, the worst state to live in is the state of “Emergency.” One of the most difficult challenges to face as a leader is when your team runs up to you and tells you they have an urgent sales problem. In an attempt to respond quickly to these “fires” we drop everything we are currently working on and respond. We never think twice about it because after all, our customer comes first.

The problem is, these “fires” tend to grow over time and distract you from other important things like planning, process development, etc. You become so focused on being a fast respondent that you miss other commitments and sacrifice truly important work. Before you know it, you are rushing to get things out of the way and lose focus on the important building your business activities.

Sure, your customers are grateful. But now they have become accustomed to dealing with only you and your uncanny – and usually unsustainable – turnaround time. Truth is, without setting the proper expectation for handling issues, you create a “ghost” process that tells your staff to treat everything as urgent, passing along every issue to you without even attempting to address them.

Not setting customer expectation is a sure way to fall into an unrealistic system for how you or your company operates. In the end, it can create more harm than good in your future customer interactions. Instead of putting out fires, you take these small flames of crisis from your customers and transfer that mindset to the site where you should be building a bridge for your company's future.

So how do we avoid living in a state of emergency and directly combat any urgent sales problems? Here are a few helpful tips to help keep your eyes on the prize.


Urgent Sales Problems: Fireproof Your Customer

Understand your customers’ needs. Listen, listen, listen! The key is to understand what your customers’ issues are and what they expect you to do about them. This will be the perfect opportunity to give your team the proper time to resolve the customers issue without sacrificing time in other areas.

Train your team and have faith in their ability. Sure, we all get frustrated in our customer experiences from time to time and want to speak to the Boss. However, it’s important that you take the time to train another resource that can be used as a point of escalation and communicate that to the customer from the beginning. Trust that your team can manage these relationships.

Reassure and follow up with your customer. Take a few moments to write a quick e-mail thanking your customer for their patience and assuring them that the issue is on your radar. This will comfort your customer knowing that even while your team is handling the issue, you are keeping a watchful eye as well.

Do you have any ideas of how to put out the fire of urgent sales problems? Let us know in the comment section!

On the subject of burning bridges, I would like to thank the team for their patience as this blog was written about two weeks later than I anticipated. When we met I assured them it was still on my radar and I would deliver. How is that for a bit of irony?


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