Pulling a Truman

buck stops

People are grousing about the price? Sounds like a sales problem to me.

Customers don’t understand our product? Sounds like a sales problem to me.

No one came to our seminar? Sounds like a sales problem to me.

One customer thinks another customer is getting preferential treatment? Sounds like a sales problem to me.

People don’t like the new program? Sounds like a sales problem to me.

A friend and mentor used that phrase all the time. His point was that rather than simply acting as a conduit for every voice from the field, we should engage with those voices and address their concerns. Instead, we often throw up our hands and shake our heads, decrying those jerks back at the office whose ridiculous ideas caused the issue in the first place.

We don’t get to make all the decisions ourselves, regardless of what job or position we hold. At some point, we’re going to have to stand in the gap between someone else’s decision/policy/precedent and our constituency. We have two choices: commiserate or moderate.

If we commiserate, we do nothing to help the situation. And we give away any power of our own. Really, we become part of the problem.

If we moderate, we hold the power to improve an unfavorable situation. We become part of the solution.

Let’s take another look.

People are grousing about the price? Let me show you what you get for your money and why it’s a good value.

Customers don’t understand our product? I must not have explained it well enough. Let me give it another shot.

No one came to our seminar? Let me help get the word out next time. I can stir up some excitement.

One customer thinks another customer is getting preferential treatment? What can I do to help him feel appreciated?

People don’t like the new program? Let me show you its benefits and how they could improve your situation.

Don’t think I’m pointing the finger at salespeople; we ALL have to sell ourselves and our work every day to our customers, colleagues, friends, or family. If the buck doesn’t stop with you, it sounds like a sales problem.

By the way, the friend who said that was a VP of sales. How’s that for taking responsibility?

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