ISSUE 42 ISSN 1712-468
PO Box 418 Main, Stn A
Abbotsford, BC
V2T 6Z7
PO Box 8000 PMB 386
Sumas, WA 98295-8000
Phone: 604-852-0566
Fax: 604-850-3003

Don’t Excuse Your Way to Failure

Everywhere you turn today, you hear how terrible the economy is and how many businesses are closing their doors because of a lack of sales.

I appreciate the last couple of years have proved challenging for many organizations when it comes to driving revenue but I think a much bigger concern is causing the problem, not simply a slower economy. Many companies are using “the poor economy” as an excuse to cover the real issue—Incompetent sales and customer service staff!

Let me share with you three true situations that I experienced in the past 30 days.

First, sitting in my office, I receive a call from a company selling point-of-sale terminals. The chap starts off by referring to my company by its old name—we bought the company 3 years ago and changed the name at that time. When I explain about the name change, he says, “oh,” then keeps going with his canned script.

That’s when it really gets fun. He goes on to tell me the reason for the call is that one of their sales reps is in the area, meeting with other restaurants; he wonders if the rep could stop by to give us a demonstration.

At that point, I lose it. It’s one thing for that company to miss our name change, but now they think I am a restaurant! The guy didn’t note the name change I offered him 15 seconds ago. If he had, he would have known we don’t run an eating establishment!

When I tell him I don’t sell food, he asks, “So what do you do?”

I reply that in this day of advanced technology, he should research each customer he is about to call. Why in the world, I ask, would I ever consider doing business with their company with their ignorance of the name and nature of our business?!

I hang up the phone.

The second example has to do with a local walk-in medical clinic. My son is ill. I call ahead to learn their hours of operation because I don’t want to be driving around town with a sick child, looking for an open clinic. The staff person who answers the phone says they are open. We get in the car and head over to their office.

When we arrive, there is a sign on the door that no doctor is available for another 90 minutes. The clinic opened only 10 minutes ago. When I question why the person on the phone told me the clinic is open—even though there is no doctor is on duty, the response is that I didn’t ask if a doctor was in!


Third, I then take my son to an excellent walk-in clinic just up the street from the other clinic and we get a prescription to fill. Instead of making my son wait in the car while I go into the pharmacy next door to that clinic, I decide to take him home, then go to the pharmacy just around the corner from our home.

I arrive at the pharmacy about 3 minutes before it is scheduled to open. I can see staff inside stocking shelves and people in white coats working with prescriptions.

Their “opening hour” comes and goes while I stand outside their door, waiting for them to open. Finally, 10 minutes later, one of the employees comes to the door and asks me what I want. I say I want to fill a prescription. The employee proceeds to explain the pharmacy can’t open because there is no pharmacist on the premises . . . and there won’t be for at least another 20 minutes. I ask why they hadn’t posted a sign to that effect or at least come to the door at opening time to let us know the situation (I wasn’t the only one waiting).

The employee manages a sheepish smile.

No apology.

I go elsewhere.

Wow! I am sure you have stories that could top what I have just shared, but those businesses will never get my business nor the business of the people to whom I relate those stories. One day, they may close their doors because “sales are down” and they will blame it on the economy.


I still spent my money, but not with them!

All the time, I see companies spending money to try to get people through their doors or to “pick up the phone and call the number on the screen” but their staff members are improperly trained on how to provide the excellent customer service that people expect today. As a result, sales—and the advertising dollars it took to get those potential customers to respond—are lost.

I believe much of the fault rests with the owner of the company; he or she has chosen not to invest the necessary dollars to hire the right people to effectively fill the sales and customer service roles. The owner thinks that saves the company money when, in fact, it is costing the business way more in lost customers.

The Remedy

  1. It all starts with hiring right.
  2. It continues with understanding the way your customers prefer to buy, then ensuring that your team is trained on how to best interact with them.

Guy Kawasaki, in his book Rules for Revolutionaries, uses a formula for developing solutions for his customers.

He says we need to look for areas where our customers feel powerless, inconvenienced, frustrated, and pain. As salespeople, we know those are the areas we need to be probing—and doing it in a way that relates to our prospect or customer.

We also need to understand that it costs anywhere from 6 to 10 times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer.

Just knowing that figure tells me I need to make sure I am doing everything in my power to retain my existing clients . . . by

  • knowing what business they are in;
  • ensuring I am providing the right answers by asking the right questions;
  • communicating any delays in service so they are not inconvenienced; and
  • making sure I understand how best to communicate with my respective customers.

Tools to the Rescue!

The great thing is that CRG has created some tools that can go a long way to help you increase your sales and customer service success!

  • The first is the Job Style Indicator. It helps you measure the work style requirements of a specific job, role, or responsibility. Once you establish the exact work style requirements (pattern)of a work position, you use CRG's Sales Style Indicator to compare the style of the job applicant or the person currently in the role.
  • The Sales Style Indicator (SSI) is a powerful sales communication and learning tool that can immediately improve the performance and results of any sales or customer service professional. This 20-page self-administered and self-scored assessment helps you and the members of your sales team discover their natural selling style. It instantly provides those same sales professionals with a framework to determine the preferred buying style of each and every client.

Participants identify their specific SSI style pattern(s), which assists them to understand their strengths and potential challenges so they can be more effective salespeople, sales managers, and customer service professionals.

Robert Townsend said, “One of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people's excuses for failure.” That starts with hiring right the first time, then equipping your team members with the best understanding they can have regarding the individual preferences of their clients.

Don’t delay. Get a copy of both the Job Style Indicator and the Sales Style Indicator today.

The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse.

Author Unknown

PS: You won’t believe this . . .

As I am writing this article, I get a call from a company we use for some of our outside graphic work. I think it is a courtesy call to see how things are going and to ask if they can do anything for us.

Wrong! The person is calling to prospect me; she wonders if I outsource any of my graphic work. When I tell her I already use her company, all I get is another “oh” and “thanks,” then she hangs up the phone.

It’s time for a new graphics company!

There’s another company wondering why their revenue is down!!!

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