If you’re like so many sales leaders or CEOs out there, you know how important values are to creating a company that people want to be a part of. In fact, today’s best companies, the ones that win in their markets and dominate their segments, often times have a deep connection to inner values that radiate out through the company to their customers, and make people want to do business with them.
There are a lot of misconceptions about values as it relates to sales. The typical stereotypes of fast talkin’, slick lookin’, superficial sales people who are only interested in taking your money. All of those images are conjured up as we think about our own experiences in dealing with the worst of sales people in our own personal lives.
The fact is, a healthy sales culture is one that instills the core values and beliefs of the company. Values such as caring for customers, honesty and integrity, consistently exceeding expectations, providing long-term value, doing what’s right for the customer even if it means recommending another vendor or passing up a sale.
The core values that you’d like to instill in our people throughout your company are certainly applicable to the sales department. They’re also the values that you want to make sure that your sales managers are imparting to your team and reinforcing through what they do and what they say.
Showing people that you’re committed to healthy, honest communication, to respectful corrective action discussions or even terminations, to solve a customer’s problems, even when the customer is yelling and screaming at your people. Those are all things that a sales leader needs to be willing to do in order to show his/her people how important it is to uphold the company’s values when it comes to sales.
Talking about values with your sales people is equally as important as leading by example. What do we want to be as a team? What do we want to stand for? How do we want to treat others? How do we want to be treated? What are our core beliefs? These are questions that are easily asked of a sales team.
If you go through this kind of an exercise at an off-site or an annual planning session you’ll be surprised to see that most sales people, at least the best ones, are deeply committed to upholding the right values.
Integrating values into your sales culture is an important job and one that sales management must embrace in order to optimize the success of your company.