Service: A Lost Art?

May 26, 2022

Not long ago, I visited with a few of my clients, and interestingly, all of the conversations came back to one topic: service.  Each of these small business owners talked about how salespeople would come in and hound them for weeks, trying to get them to buy their products, and then once the agreement was final, they were never seen again until it was time to make another sale.  It didn’t matter what the rep was selling, whether radio ads, newspaper ads, or vendors for their particular industry; most of the time, the actions were the same; make the sale, then move.

People do business with people they know, like, and trust

As someone who has managed sales teams, I have preached about the importance of relationship selling for a long time.  I firmly believe that the key to long-term success in selling, especially to local businesses, is building a relationship with the client.  Sharing stories, meals, family events, and even a few personal struggles can create transparency that builds the trust needed to make a significant partnership.  When I have accomplished that kind of trust, I can make a real difference in the life of that client’s business because I know what they need, and I can use my power of influence to improve their bottom line.  that has been my belief.  Surprisingly, I discovered in my recent conversations that the clients want the same relationship with the sales reps.  They want to know we are real.  They want to know our successes and our struggles.  They want to know that we are not just in it for the money.  As one man put it, “I don’t need them to hold my hand. I just want to know that they give a damn.”


So how does that change our approach to the sales process?  We should understand that we can’t get so caught up in meeting goals that we forget about the people we are trying to help. If we take the time to stop by and check on our existing clients regularly, not ask for money, but instead ask:  How are they doing? How is business?  What can I do to help them today? We will find that those clients will stay with us longer, trust us more, and in the long run, we will both accomplish what we want, enjoy a better life and maybe even make more money.

Join My Leadership Newsletter

Subscribe for tips and resources to achieve your leadership goals