I do not know about you, but I feel disrespected every time someone tries to manipulate me into buying what they are selling. I've always been intrigued by how professionals and companies that use this kind of approach do not realize they are destroying their reputation and reliability in exchange for results in the short term. Especially for me, who works with human development, these sales approaches have always disassociated from what I believe to be the building of healthy and productive relationships.
But look what "destiny" has made me ...
In 2013, I received a call from a consulting firm that was prospecting for a licensee to represent Signature Worldwide, a global sales training company, in Brazil At the time, we were working with a focus on developing teams and leaders, and that proposal seemed outside the scope of our business. But I was intrigued and did talk to the CEO of the company - Steve Wolever. In the call, we talk about business ethics and about how much companies are struggling to build lasting, trusting relationships with their customers. I was very impressed and at the end of the call, we started the negotiation that made me happy for the opportunity to bring Signature to Brazil.
What have I learned in these 4 years driving Signature Brazil?
We set up a team of sales and customer service experts, and each new person we bring on to the team reinforces how much the method that Signature teaches is simple and powerful. And the power of this approach comes just from the basic principles that lie in the logic that permeates every training solution. Our team is motivated because they know that they are contributing effectively in two aspects:
1 - Help companies solve a serious problem regarding their relationship with their customers. A very important aspect, which, incredibly, is left behind in many cases.
2 - Support professionals to develop the necessary skills to be able to migrate from the manipulative or automated mental model to more authentic and human relationships with their clients.
The new service and sales culture, which effectively considers the client from a human relationship perspective, has brought incredible results to the companies that have bet on this model.
Opening the plane's black box
What companies have noticed in most cases when diagnosing their current customer service:
1 – Their employees attend the client in in different ways, based on previous experiences or some training they have already done. There is no method defined by the organization being applied. Making interactions inconsistent and varied throughout the company.
2 - When there is a method defined by the company, the managers think that it is being held to, but in practice, the employees are not applying it effectively. For example, a hotel company that recently contacted Signature to schedule an advanced training because, according to them, their reservation team already mastered basic customer service skills. We picked up the phone and made a mystery shopping call with a request for the price of staying at that hotel and found that the attendants were mistaking into simple things, like not using the name of the caller and not knowing what the customer was looking for in their search for a hotel room. That’s just to mention two points, there were several more!
What an effective and well-implemented method can generate:
1 - Uniformity in the way a customer is interacted with provides more accurate information and creates a peace of mind for the customer who comes to know that in speaking with that company, he knows the level of service you can expect.
2 - Time optimization, both for the customer and the employee, with a service that effectively identifies opportunities, so that the interaction brings the best for both. In practice that means more revenue and simultaneously more satisfied customers.
I consider this the most important thing I am going to write in this text: More than a culture for the sales and service teams, the way a company relates to the customer powerfully conveys the image of what is in fact its purpose and what are your values are. More important than anything written on the walls, or in the intentions of the company board, or even in the marketing actions. What will define the reputation of a brand (and of a professional) and impact its revenues in the medium to long term, in addition to of the quality of your product, is how you are relating to your customers.
Talking about integrity:
I believe the biggest personal effect I've felt from these 4 years having Signature as partner is that I've developed a sharper look at how people are treat me in places. Do you know what my biggest desire as a customer is? It's that salespeople use the same principles that Signature trains its participants around the world. They would help me much more and consequently would sell more and more to me.
Brought to you by our licensee partner, Daniel Spinelli, Principal at Signature Brasil.