Shawn Casemore helps CEOs and business owners build their teams, wow their customers and grow their business. Author of “The Unstoppable Organization” and “Operational Empowerment” he speaks to groups of entrepreneurs, CEOs and business leaders across North America
There’s a lot of talk today about the new “secrets” of selling. From social media, to chatbots, to various other strategies, all eyes seemed to have turned toward finding new ways to sell, most of which allow for a “hands-off” approach.
As my father used to say, though, there is nothing new under the sun, and the same stands true for selling.
Selling is a relationship business. Period.
To grow any business, whether it be a car dealership, an insurance brokerage, or a distributor, requires building relationships with customers, and the last I checked, this is very difficult to do without actually talking to anyone.
Problem is, though, if selling is based on relationships, who has the time or money to build all of the relationships necessary to grow a business? When I used to do a lot of corporate training, the ability to scale and grow my business required me to multiply myself somehow.
The same holds true for many of my coaching clients who are often the top salespeople in their business. If cloning ever becomes a thing, I think small business owners from across the globe will be lining up.
There is, however, some very good news.
Since selling is built on relationships, you already have a team of people ready and willing to help nurture and build relationships in your business. They just may not strike you as being part of your sales team.
I call them your Secret Sales Force.
Rather than look at these positions outright, let’s first consider all of the possible people who work in your business, and how they are interacting with both your existing and your potential customers:
• Your bookkeeper is contacting your customers regarding past due invoices.
• Your receptionist is answering phones and emails, interacting with your existing or potential customers.
• Your shipper/receiver is speaking with customers to book deliveries.
The list goes on…
Notice I didn’t address the obvious roles such as customer service agents or inside sales representatives?
Also notice that each of these individuals is interacting outside work with others who may be, or may at least work for, your existing or potential customers. So many different interactions, be they on the phone, at a sporting event, or at a restaurant. There are literally dozens of connections being made each and every day between your staff and your customers.
The big question, therefore, is… what are they saying about your company? Your product? Your service?
Are they making suggestions about others using your company’s products or services?
Possibly. But if you haven’t given thought to this, or put plans in place to develop these interactions into future customer relationships, you’re leaving a giant hole in the boat.
What should you do next, armed with the knowledge that growing and scaling your business might be as simple as drawing the connections between your Secret Sales Force and your customers?
Here are the three steps I’d recommend:
1. Sit down and write down all of the possible interactions your employees are having or can have with your existing and future customers.
2. Identify what it is you want your customers to know about your business, your products, your service, and you.
3. Meet with your employees individually to discuss these interactions and the important messages you’re trying to get into the marketplace. Ask employees if they think they can help (you’ll be surprised with the results).