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Building a Selling Organization–Not Just a Sales Department
Blog / Sales Training / Aug 19, 2017 / Posted by Shawn Karol Sandy / 11420

Building a Selling Organization–Not Just a Sales Department


Visiting my husband’s office last week, I was making small talk with one of his patients in the waiting area. I discovered she worked for an attorney. Because my clients sometimes need legal guidance, I asked what their practice specialized in. Her answer: “We do mortgages and some of the partners do some more general stuff.” This prompted me to ask, “Oh, as in general business stuff?” She answered, “Um, yeah, I guess, I think so, I just answer the phones at the front desk.”

To myself I thought, “The best referral you can give me, for the person who pays you every week, is ‘Um, yeah, I guess, I think so. I just answer the phones at the front desk’?”

The young woman in question was in her early 20s and newly venturing out in the working world. Nonetheless I found our brief conversation a real crying shame–but unfortunately it’s also a conversation that I either have or overhear nearly every day.

What really bugs me about this? Two things:

Why would she not learn more about her own employer, enough to make a confident referral to me? Is it self-centered thinking, entitlement, or is she just egocentric? Where does she think her pay actually comes from? Where does she consider the money comes from that pays for her chair, her headset, the breakroom snacks or the air conditioning? It is just some magical “Law Fairy” that flies out and gets clients?

She obviously didn’t recognize the opportunity to contribute to the financial health of her employer (by providing a referral). But the second fail is that her employer has obviously not trained her to understand her firm’s value, nor had they equipped her to recognize and grab opportunities so that she could contribute to her own economy. She is simply and only a taker. And she is not alone.

Our team runs into these examples all the time – you probably do as well (and now you’ll be tuned into this forever). You’re chatting up someone in a business or social setting and how do they describe what they do, for whom they work or what makes them so great? Chances are, if they’re not the owner, they’re going to tank or miss the moment to promote the business or advance an opportunity.

Why not build a whole Selling Organization based on a collective culture that coaches, encourages and rewards behaviors that contribute to the financial goals of the organization.

EVERY employee has the obligation to contribute to the financial health of their employer. Non-commission based employees can be incentivized and rewarded to participate in the Selling Organization – much of that can be accomplished with a corporate culture that promotes engaged and eager team players. Employers should require that from their employees and honor them with the tools to identify and promote opportunities for the business.

We apply a 4 part strategy to Building a Selling Organization {click here for more details} with our clients but here is a jump start to building the behaviors of your own Selling Organization:

Build one message with many voices: Outline the core values and key messages of the organization and coach employees how to use their own voices to deliver those messages. It’s not meant to be hammering employees to memorize the 3 page mission statement, or to pull tri-fold brochures out of their purses at PTA meetings. It’s about encouraging them to interpret and practice these key messages in their own voice to prepare them to deliver when they recognize opportunities.

Coach them to identify opportunities and advance them: Sometimes the best “buying signals” happen outside of the Sales Process. Customer engagement can happen anywhere within and outside of the business. Billing, Shipping, Customer Service, Delivery, Installation . . . any of these teams should be able to assist, enlighten, identify and advance customers to the next steps when those precious opportunities arise. Sometimes customers are more candid and build more trust outside of the Sales Teams.

Coaching the messages and training employees how and when to use their voices to benefit the business should not just be reserved for Sales People – nor should it be a one-time event.

Leveraging employees who share in the collective culture of contributing to the fiscal health of their place of work comes with training and trust and will multiply your sales and marketing efforts by adding more members to the team.

Until Next time, keep kickin’ butt!

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About Author

Shawn founded The Selling Agency after a successful sales career working on building solutions for Small Businesses. Shawn's titles include: Market Director, Sales Director, Marketing Director, Development Director, and Entrepreneur. She focuses on organizational selling and strategies.

Comments (4)


Cybala Vincent Akpa commented...

Every individual has a marketing skill some discover it early and others need to be reminded that casual referral is a key marketing strategy.


olalekan oladunjoye commented...

great article…i like how it helps encompass growth as a collective culture when it comes to sales


Todd Cohen commented...

Interesting bit and what I have been keynoting and talking about for years – a sales culture is the embodiment “everyone’s in sales”. That’s what a sales organization means and showing people that they are selling with every conversation. Sales is a mindset and behavior.


Ike Halliday commented...

The four part strategy is phenomenal. Awesome article.

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