Where’s the Passion?

Hands in pockets.  Shoulders slumped.  Expressionless face.  Closed body language.  Basically, everything about these salespeople was screaming, “If you want to buy my product, that’s fine.  If you don’t that’s fine, too.  Whatever, just follow me on my tour as I tell you stuff.”

Watching these people was a terribly underwhelming experience.  Each and every single sales rep from this company was missing a key ingredient from their sales schtick (I couldn’t quite tell if they were asking questions and matching needs with solutions).  That one ingredient is this…

Where’s the passion?  I’ve written about this idea before, but then I see it happen again and again wherever I go.  Lack of passion is a plague and it’s not showing much, if any, signs of improving.  I’ve heard it suggested a couple of times recently that wages and salary caps are to blame.  (Which, of course, begs the question, At what salary can we expect excellent customer service and effort?)  Lack of incentive might also be a cuplrit (in this economic climate, however, the primary incentive should be receiving a steady paycheck).  I have a different theory personally.

Management.  Pure and simple.

Managers, if you want passionate sales and customer service reps (or all team members in general), you need to do three things:

1.)  Train the passion.  Granted, I can’t give somebody passion as if it’s a Christmas present (though I wish I could).  But I can show my team how to express passion in two words: body language.  Open posture and gestures.  Smiles on faces.  “Yes” phrases instead of “no” phrases.  Genuine interest in a prospective or current client’s questions, and wanting to let them do most of the talking.  Train your team on expressing passion…and you could see an uptick in your closing ratios.

2.)  Foster the passion.  Maybe you can’t pay higher salaries or fat bonuses.  (Of course, if your sales team closed more sales, this might not be an issue.)  But you can do more to encourage people to get jacked up on their jobs.  Contests, incentives (doesn’t always have to be about more money…find your team’s hot buttons and get creative), and other morale boosters can get your team excited about their jobs and give them more reason to come into work each day.  Share your vision, your goals, and how your team members contribute to the success of the company.  Try some transparency and trust that they’ll catch on to what matters.

3.)  Model the passion.  It starts at the top.  There isn’t a manager on the face of the planet who could possibly expect his or her employees to have passion for their work if they, themselves, don’t personally model it.  I tell middle and frontline managers to suck it up and show their direct reports their own passion for their work and company, even if the higher ups don’t do likewise.  But upper level managers, if you’re reading this, believe this to be true…if you’re not doing it, don’t expect your team to do it, either.  They’re watching you and will resent you if you don’t practice your preach.  You want them to model passion?  You be the first to model it.

If your team is currently lacking in the passion department, there is no easy fix or turnaround.  But you can right the course of your vessel if it’s off by following these three principals.  It’ll take some time, but the results will be noticeable.  And profitable.

QUESTION:  How can you best model passion for your team (regardless of your position in the company)?

Speedy Service?

I want that and I want that yesterday.

Have you ever heard those words from a customer?  Okay, maybe not those words exactly…but you have assuredly felt those sentiments when faced with a customer making seemingly impossible demands.  So what do you do in this situation?

Among the many aspects of customer service that your clients will rate you is your speed of service.  I would submit to you that this speed of service is broken down into two key components:

1.)  Rate of Response

2.)  Rate of Delivery

Let’s face it….you want to do all you can to satisfy your customer, but your Rate of Delivery may not be exactly what the customer has in mind.  Doesn’t he know  that it takes 1-2 weeks for that part to come in?  He might, but he doesn’t care.  He’s got a busted ride or a fridge on the fritz.  He wants it fixed on HIS timetable, not yours.

Though your actual delivery time might take longer than you’d like, your Rate of Response will be what makes or breaks the service experience.  Are you giving your customer the impression that you’re moving heaven and earth to make this thing happen?  Are you showing him that he’s a VIP (regardless of the price tag) and that getting this handled is priority 1 for you?  (And yes I realize this means that you’ve got a hundred “priority 1’s” on your desk…again, this is about impressions.)  If the answer is no, then it doesn’t matter how fast you get it done.  If you appear slow on the stick in solving your customer’s problems, then you’ll have an unhappy customer on your hands.

Always do what you can to handle the problem ASAP…but even if that part takes longer than you’d like, show the customer that you’re prompt, punctual, and professional in your response.

QUESTION:  What else can you do to show that VIP mentality to your customers in responding to their service issues?