Resetting the Relationship When You Are Not Glorified Support

You own the outcomes you sell because you made the promises. You made the commitment on behalf of your company, and you must stand with your client and get things done when problems arise. Things will always go wrong, and inevitably, the more important the client, the more that goes wrong–especially when you first start serving them.

Owning the outcomes does not require that you take care of all the transactions. If billing, for example, gets your client’s invoices wrong, you are responsible for making sure they are corrected. But you are not responsible for tracking down the invoices and correcting them.

Here’s the challenge for you and your company: when you aren’t selling, no one is doing that work for you. No one is going to pick up the slack and do your prospecting for you. No one is going to forgive you for missing your goal because you were busy doing someone else’s job.

But, for a lot of people, it’s too late. You have been taking care of your client’s problems so long that you are no longer a salesperson. Instead, you are glorified customer service. You’ve abandoned your role as peer, and you need to reset.

The first conversation you need to have is with your clients. You’re going to tell them, “I am going to speak to John in billing, I am going to give him this information, and he’ll call you if he needs more information, and then again when he has you taken care of. I’ll have him call me as well, and I’ll call you to make sure you are 100 percent.”

The second conversation you are going to need to have is with your team. You say, “I told Joan you are going to call her with questions, if you need to, and then you’ll call her to let her know everything has been taken care of. Let me know it’s all good, and I’ll call her to make sure she is happy and doesn’t need anything else.”

You’re going to repeat this, handing the problem off to the person or people who own them. You are then going to go about your real work, helping clients achieve outcomes they can’t get without you.

“What happens if my people keep dropping the ball?” you ask. Then your sales leader is going to need to intervene to negotiate a more stable and permanent solution. That’s the outcome they own.

Filed under: Accountability

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