Asking employees to become a company evangelist is at an all time high. Businesses are not only expecting this of their leaders but now they expect it from all. Everyone… from the front receptionist to the part time warehouse worker. From engineering, accounting, sales, and operations. Is that fair? Is that even possible?
Watching a movie with my son the other night the main character announced that his company had “never fired anyone”. He went on to explain that “because of this they had loyal hard workers as they were secure in their positions and future”. While this is obvious fiction it does make one wonder. Where does company loyalty really come from?
Just Business… Nothing Personal… Of course business is personal. The concept that somehow when we call something “business” the personal touch to the end user and/or potential customer becomes less important is just wrong. I don’t care if you’re the owner of a small “mom and pop” organization or the CEO of a global conglomerate all business is personal or at least it should be.
Business owners, managers, and sales professionals can be blind to a changed market and new competition. In relying on their small group of influence they miss the big picture many times. Ego can also stand in the way. Small successes continue to reinforce small thinking. It’s like the frog standing in the pan of water and stays there as the heat is turned up until boiled alive.
No matter how great an organization is there are always customer issues. It could be a misunderstanding, personality conflict, a service level issue, or simply customer remorse. Many times all of these at once. As the original relationship builder, the sales professional needs to be able to work with customer issues or as I like to fondly call them, customer heat.
My wife needed a new vehicle due to medical issues. She was in Seattle for the operation. I had a week before I needed to get the vehicle to her. The mini-van needed detailed, rear bumper repaired, leather and heated seats added, and floor mats. I paid what they asked and was pre-approved. Pretty easy sale. While signing the papers I was asked to take the vehicle now and then bring back later. I resisted as this was inconvenient and unnecessary. I just wanted to pick it up when all the work was finished. Ultimately I was convinced to take it now.
Networking is certainly not new to business relationship building. The need for business relationships has been around as long as business transactions have taken place. The difference is now with social networking I can start relationships in minutes that typically took months or years before… if at all… anywhere in the world. Professionals and companies of all industries have adopted some sort of business networking integration with social media. They use these tools in a variety of ways to promote themselves, ideas and products.