John White, MBA in Professions, Workers, Careers, Sales Columnist • Inc Magazine Sep 19, 2017 · 1 min read · 2.0K

You're In Sales Too (Whether You Like It or Not)

You're In Sales Too (Whether You Like It or Not)
I bravely walked in through the front door right past their "No Soliciting" sign and up to the front desk. It was a cold call. I felt so cool standing there with my BlackBerry 8700 in hand (later versions even had a color screen!).

It was early in my previous career in the wireless industry, and I was in a small business sales position. In short, my job was to go out and find local businesses that were out of contract with their existing provider and convince them to switch.

The company I was calling on was a carpet cleaning business not far from where I lived. I introduced myself to the woman behind the counter, and I asked that she pass my business card along to the owner or operations manager so that we could be considered the next time the take competitive bids for their wireless service.

I could tell from the look on her face this wasn't going to go well. She rejected the business card (I got the hand). Then she started yelling at me. "You people! I've asked to be removed from your list! Yet, you have the nerve to come into my office?" (Keep in mind this was the first time I had ever called on them.)

She continued yelling. "Now, get the h*** out of here and don't ever f****** come back!"

Instead of leaving, I leaned in a little further and tore out a piece of paper from my binder. I started writing down my name, address, phone number, and email on the paper.

Then, I handed it to her, and I said, "That's fine. I won't ever come back here after this. But first I'd like you to add me to YOUR "list" as well. Please don't ever contact me again about having my carpets cleaned or send me any solicitations in the mail. I used your service three times last year, and I will now be using your competitor's."

That's right: I was their customer, and she didn't know it.

Every business needs customers

So, even if your role and job description is far removed from sales, your activities, behaviors, and customer relations contribute to your company being able to make sales.

Many people view sales people in a negative light, and they will probably fight me on their position having to do anything at all remotely related to sales.

However, consider this: When you're on a flight, and the person next to you notices your company's logo and asks about what you do, aren't you going to begin telling them about your company's products or services and attempt to paint them in the best light possible? (Of course you are.) Why? Because you never know who that person could be or who they know at their company.

The way you interact with people out in public affects your company's sales. I'm always amazed when I see people treating their vendors poorly. The person trying to sell you something today might be your buyer tomorrow, next month, or in five years. If you treat that person poorly, they will go out of their way to use your competitor.

Always remember that sales people are customers too, and you're also in sales whether you like it or not. You never know who that person is who is looking across the counter from you.

Originally published on Inc.


Devesh 🐝 Bhatt Sep 21, 2017 · #8

If i am in sales and i help earn revenues, where is my incentive?

If i do not deliver in my core function but deliver in sales, isn't it time i shifted to the sales department?

If i am in sales and doing well in sales, why am i the first one let off when the company is havimg a rough time?

Enjoyed your article and i very well understand what you are saying.. but these questions popped up

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Chuck Bartok Sep 21, 2017 · #7

And everyone needs to realize that their existence is the result of a "sale".
In most cases, somebody had to convince somebody else that a child should be created.
~~smile

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Yolanda AM Sep 20, 2017 · #6

True @John White, MBA
I have had 2 clients .... of whom I was his client first.

But the point here is that we have to treat all your skateholders and professional contacts with respect and honesty without distinction.

+1 +1
Jerry Fletcher Sep 20, 2017 · #5

John, Brilliant. In the past week I've seen the results of what I've been calling "sales with a customer service viewpoint" work wonders. One start-up I'm working with was just offered several million dollars if they will sell to a multinational manufacturer that because of traditional distribution has no contact with end users of their products. The start-up will give them the contact they haven't had for a quarter of a century. Another client, a consulting firm had not contacted people requesting resources from their web site. One thank-you e-mail generated two requests for face-to-face meetings. One of them closed for a five figure engagement.

The secret is that you and your company are always in the public eye.

+2 +2
David B. Grinberg Sep 20, 2017 · #4

Thanks for more good advice per this blogging buzz, John.
As Shakespeare famously wrote, "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players." Thus, even if you don't have professional sales training or experience, you can still act like you're a salesperson. It's also been said the much of sales is selling oneself (personal branding).
Also, regarding your past rude encounter, it's always best not to "burn bridges" as they say. To the contrary, being courteous, cordial and polite will usually go a long way and may even boomerang in your favor going forward.

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Preston 🐝 Vander Ven Sep 19, 2017 · #3

Awesome Article. Whom we are when we are not directly marketing our product, service, or company is the true image we share to what ever we are promoting. So great, I had to share this with everyone.

+4 +4

Excellent points made @John White, MBA. The receptionist, whether it be a greeter at a front desk or a person that takes the initial phone calls is the first impression for the organization's clients or potential clients. Respect should be shown for anyone that approaches a front desk. There's no excuse for rudeness in our competitive world

+5 +5
Oscar Martínez Sep 19, 2017 · #1

I used to work in a laptop repair shop and the service was so bad. Slow, effectiveness was under 65%, and our workshop was doing the opposite that we were telling to the customers. But people kept coming during the two years that I worked there. I was always answering the phone nicely. The emails were fast and politely answered and at the store I was always treating people as if they were my family.

When I sent an email anouncing that I was leaving the company, a really good customer wich had a huge company told me not to do it, because I was the main reason for him to keep working with us.

Not the service, but the treatment.

Thanks for sharing this with us.
Big hug.

+2 +2