Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

For customers, it’s your sales person who creates the first impression of your business. If that person listens more than talks, probes to discover why resolving a need is important, and proposes multiple viable solutions that address the customer’s aspirations as well as their stated need, then it is highly likely that the customer will want to do business with your company. 

The effective sales person appreciates that she or he will continue to be the primary face of your business for that customer, and recognizes that a trust relationship can only take root once your proposed promise is realized. To ensure this result, the sales person takes ownership of the relationship by clearly communicating the customer’s needs, expectations, challenges and related goals to your operational personnel, and by collaborating with them to ensure that your promised value is delivered. 

Taking ownership implies a deeper commitment to the customer, an accountability that far exceeds just booking the order. Its premise is that the sales person’s responsibility is not fulfilled until the promise made to the customer is. It acknowledges that having made the promise, preserving the customer relationship depends on sharing ownership of it with those in your company who deliver the promised value, the promise keepers. 

Measuring sales performance by only monitoring orders booked, without considering if promises have been kept, drives a sales person to focus on the next transaction rather than on commitments to customers. For markets in which recurring orders are unlikely or typical order value can’t justify the obligation, a transactions-based selling strategy may be appropriate. But in most cases, because the highest sales productivity results from increasing transactions with established customers, motivating sales personnel to take ownership of customer relationships, leveraging the trust and intimacy that has been sustained right from first contact with the customer, builds enduring relationships that accelerate your growth

How committed are your sales personnel to taking ownership 
of customer relationships?

How do you motivate them to do so?