When a small business owner talks about the goals he has for his company “make more sales” is usually high on the list. Not enough sales are an on-going concern, and frustration, for the typical owner. There are many reasons why a company struggles with selling.
One of them is that most have order takers rather than salespeople. This isn’t just a matter of semantics or word play. There is a difference in aptitude, attitude and approach between the two, a difference which can increase or decrease the company’s bottom line.
Aptitude – They know the pros and cons of selling, and chooses to do it. It’s a career rather than a job. They see themselves as a professional and take pride in providing good client service. Also, they believe in the product, understand the benefits it can bring to the customer and is challenged by the process of bringing the two together.
Attitude – Salespeople believe it’s their responsibility to take an active role in finding, helping and selling to people whose companies would benefit from their product. The salesperson and the customer are a team, together they identify problems and find solutions.
Approach – A salesperson enjoys communicating with people, especially customers or prospects. They seek out opportunities to interact (i.e. face to face, email, text, newsletters, trade shows, seminars) with future and existing clients. They keep up on their profession and are open to suggestions on how to improve their performance.
Aptitude – Order takers are in the job by default and don’t see it as a career. Usually, order takers “drift” into the job, they don’t seek it out. It’s just a way to pay the bills and there’s little or no personal investment in the products or the customers. There’s a lack of professionalism or pride in their work.
Attitude – At best an order taker sees the job as “OK” and at worst doesn’t like it. They believe their role in the sales process is a passive one – the customer tells them what they want, they put in the order and they’re done. They are often annoyed with the customers, doesn’t handle their problems or concerns well and sees paperwork as the job rather than the selling.
Approach – The order taker spends all day in the office, regularly playing games on their computer, waiting for orders to come in from established lead sources (i.e. RFP, incoming call, referral, web request), rather than any new self-generated ones. They are complacent and resists ideas for getting more sales or improving customer service, especially if it means changing the way they do things.
A company’s sales plan is only as good as the people who execute it. Too many small businesses have order takers rather than salespeople. This is a management issue; most owners haven’t learned how to, or are afraid to, effectively motivate order takers. Don’t let it be this way – selling is too important to be left in the hands of people who are unwilling or unable to do it properly.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: