With Sherlock Holmes making a revival, his infamous quote “that’s elementary, my dear Watson” will once again be heard and it is very true about what is the new competitive advantage in today’s global, technology driven market place.
Now some sales training coaching experts to organizational development consultants will focus on this new sales skill to increase sales or to new strategic systems wide continuous process improvement. However, the answer is far simpler and one that has existed for years and years, but very few people will admit to because the beliefs behind this word are quite negative.
Actually the new competitive advantage is really quite old.
Today a colleague, S. Anthony Iannarino wrote about poor language choices and his words are quite accurate given the words we think and speak all have specific experiences many of them emotionally based within them. Yes the words we speak have incredible impact and more importantly incredible baggage.
There is one word in business that usually secures a negative reaction (has a tons and tons of baggage) and that is sales.
How many times have those engaged in selling avoided the word “sales” or “salesperson” on their business cards? We read of business development specialist or customer liaison. Yet, we know they are selling and their meager attempts to showcase they are not in sales are quite laughable.
Imagine what would happen if any company or organization accepted this axiom:
Everyone in this company is in sales!
When I did the research for Be the Red Jacket, I came across this quote by Zig Ziglar and one I find that succinctly sums up the essence of what is considered the organizational culture.
“Sales is the transference of feelings.”
The internal customers (employees) are in sales in that they are transferring their feelings to other internal customers be it a request for documentation to collaborative teamwork.
Employees are not robots or androids without feelings.
They are human beings driven by emotions first.
This transference of feelings extends into external customers from the initial contact by current marketing efforts to the actually negotiated sale to the support after the purchased has been made.
If customer service is not about sales, then why is their so many emotions involved when having to communicate with customer service people or departments?
If you have not figure it out what is the new competitive advantage it is:
Everyone in this company is in sales.
Imagine a company or organizational culture where the very best sales skills united with the highest emotional intelligence because of the transference of feelings? Do you believe that organization be it small or larger would have a significant competitive advantage over one where the focus was only on those directly paid for their selling efforts.
When I was in corporate, my forward thinking boss (a small business owner) recognized that everyone played a part in sales. He constructed a monthly profit sharing compensation program that was years ahead of its time for many small businesses here in Northwest Indiana. Everyone from the warehouse personnel, union truck drivers, administrative staff and inside sales team earned a percentage of the monthly profits based upon new revenue. As Inside Sales Manager and Purchasing Manager, I stressed with the entire staff how each interaction with our customers could build the business or tear it down.
This philosophy (for the most part) tore down the silos so often found in organizations. Purchasing fights with accounts payable. Inside sales has confrontations with accounts receivable. Non “sales” employees resent sales personnel.
Yet when the culture supports this attitude of “everyone in this company is in sales,” those silos are broken down and the small business has an incredible competitive advantage.
So if you truly want a new competitive advantage, start a campaign where everyone in the company understands their role is all about sales and selling. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Look to job descriptions and infuse this “sales attitude” within each job description.
You just may be surprised by the results and who knows maybe repeating these words when asked about your new competitive advantage: