Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Corporate reputation and sales reps’ responsibility.


Your company's face to customers.
All companies start out as someone’s idea, perhaps a small group of partners, a family business, a couple, among friends and so on.

And when businesses start out, the company's image, brand, reputation are directly handled by the people who started it.

It’s a strong mark, one that remains, durable, because it comes drenched on the energy that created the business in the first place. 

It might have been your case when you started your business as well: you serviced customers yourself, and did it the way you wanted to, putting your life on it, making every effort to have each client receiving from you, your company and product, the best of memories and, of course, coming back and buying again.

When the company’s footprint begins to fade.

Then your company began to grow. And that’s great! Just what you wanted: maybe open a second office, hire more people, delegating tasks, open new departments. The prize for all your efforts. Your business is growing!

But this growth brings with it a small, invisible component: the difficulty of directly controlling, as you did before, the service that your customers receive. And with that, the reputation of your business begins to be in other people’s hands as well.

That's when the footprint begins to fade, the emotional impact you were able to transmit on the beginning is no longer the same and doesn’t have its original strength.

You have to put a lot of effort and attention to make sure that each member of your team, no matter how small or large it is, thoroughly knows, maintains and implements in his daily chores, your company’s philosophy.

The responsibility of sales reps and how it relates to your company’s reputation.

And I refer specifically to the commercial area because it’s one of the positions that begin to appear in any company as soon as it starts to grow: the "sales representative", the sales guy who walks down the street with your product to show it to new prospects and make your billing grow.

If for a moment you stop to look at the “sales representative” as the face of your company in front of customers, and you value it from that point of view, then you can easily realize the immense influence sales representatives have on your company’s reputation.

Hence the fact that your business philosophy, mission, vision, and all the concepts and values ​​that you want your company or brand to be recognized for, should be completely understood by your sales team.

If your sales representatives are not a true reflection of your company and its values, your reputation starts to run significant risks, whether you can recognize them or not, they are there, dormant, waiting for any failure to unleash the famous "reputation crisis "and the corresponding loss of profit.

When the heat is on, pressure is higher, values ​​are ignored and your reputation suffers.

Generally, the management model applied to commercial teams is the compensation for goal’s achievement. If your team sells, you pay them a commission; if they don’t, no commission is paid, and that’s the end of it. Simple. It’s been practiced for many years, a little in order to force the team to make more money, and secondly to keep the company from committing to pay a salary to a person who isn’t productive.

A double-edged sword, and very sharp edges indeed. One edge points toward the production of money. You want your team to sell a lot, that way they make money and smile, you make money as well and smile too. Everybody is happy and that's fine. This edge is a friendly one. Makes people smile.

However, the other edge is a bit tricky since it points to that sales guy who is hard-pressed to achieve his goals, and who could eventually feel so "between a rock and a hard place" to draw on certain tactics and actions, that even though they may help him close more sales and achieve the goals you’re asking for, can also seriously compromise your company’s reputation.

And here are the consequences of a brand’s footprint that dilutes as the company grows. Unwittingly, and as a consequence of business itself, your company’s growth involves your obligation to train each employee in the core values ​​that you want the business to be identified for over time.

Without adequate training and follow up the footprint disappears.

And it’s important to always keep it in mind to avoid not only the loss of customers but also the possible legal repercussions that could come along with the practice of unusual, commercial or administrative actions.

Always try to invite your sales representatives to share the same philosophy of work that you had when your company was born. Catering to your customers the same, or on a better way you did on the beginning. And always make sure to monitor within your company, all those areas of business that get in contact with your clients at anytime.

Note also that all employees, not just sales people, one way or another, are your company’s face to the client at some point in time and anyone can ruin a business or ruin a relationship without realizing it, starting from the secretary, the transport driver, one of the administration department, etc.. When someone does something to the detriment of a client or potential client, is clearly damaging your business.

For this reason the training of your employees on core company’s values and monitoring of your customer relationships are so important, at all levels within your company. Only by acting this way you can  be sure that your reputation remains in your hands, regardless of your business size.

Related Articles: Can your business exist without customers?


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