August 4, 2016 at 11:18 am | Blog
The flyer arrived in the mail at the right time. It came from a window treatment company at the very moment I was planning to contact various window treatment companies. It felt like serendipity, so I called them. It also saved me valuable research time.
Sadly, my experience was not a good one.
I requested an in-home consultation. I was specific about the shades I wanted to get a quote on, and that I travel a lot, so I had limited availability. The company called me 3 times to confirm I would be there. Ok, I get it, time wasted on no-shows costs money.
Ninety minutes before my appointment, the salesperson called to say she was on her way. What should have been a comforting moment gave me pause. She had incorrect information on what I wanted. When I told her my interests, she seemed to adjust and understand. Whether she really felt that way is unclear as 30 minutes before the appointment, the owner called and said the sales person got sick and wasn’t going to show up.
This was disappointing, but I understand that things happen. A new appointment was made.
When the new salesperson showed up for the rescheduled appointment, he was late. He had clearly just had a cigarette and brought a cloud of nicotine into my home, which did not dissipate the entire visit. As he proceeded, I realized that he had only partial information about what I requested, and was unprepared to address what I had wanted from the beginning.
Some salespeople can overcome adversity, but not this person. He rambled (mostly about himself), never made any design suggestions, and wasted my time. He made no apologies. Everything about the encounter, including scribbling the quote on the back of a business card, was unprofessional.
At Smart Advantage, we help companies improve their marketing and sales content. Consequently, I’m sensitive to the role and responsibilities sales people have for representing their companies, and I always ask my vendors, “ why I should do business with your company?”. In this case, the experience was so utterly disagreeable, I didn’t even bother to ask.
When you think about the presentation of your company, do you:
- Get the back office pieces right so that the face of your company speaks from a place of knowledge and expertise, without actually using those clichés?
- Set a consistent sales presentation standard and hold employees to it?
- Give your reps the content they need to answer “why choose us?”
The company I called did a few things right. They likely invested a lot of money in marketing. What they did wrong (poor internal communications, poor external presentation) turned a likely customer into a detractor. This company didn’t just lose an opportunity; they negatively impacted their brand.
In your company: Create processes to ensure your investments in marketing are not at risk due to perhaps one (or more) bad apple salesperson(s).