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Selling vs. Solving
By: Tom Roarty
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One of the best things any business can do is train their employees about their products and services. Not just the salespeople on the front lines, but all of their employees. By doing so, a business can expand its possibility for a potential sale through even the most unexpected channels. Although sales is the lifeblood of any business, if a company wants to arm its employees with the power to sell, it should also train them on appropriate times to do so.
The topic for this submission came to mind this week after dealing with my local cable company after my Internet went down. Some back history about my relationship with my provider: I had cable and Internet both from the same company. After two weeks, my cable box went down; I called nightly for another two weeks to get it repaired, which never happened. So, after a month of having cable, but only being able to watch it for two weeks, I canceled it. Which you might think would be easy, but it wasn’t. The lesson I learned that night was that if you threaten to cancel, you will be offered a whole lot more for a whole lot less.
Unfortunately, since the product did not work, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Eight hundred channels for the price of 12 sounded good, but all that would do is give me 788 channels I couldn’t view, so what would be the point? For that reason, I started using Apple TV and Netflix through the cable-company-provided Internet, which seemed to have no hitches that the TV had…until this past week.
When the Internet went down for the first time in 11 months, I didn’t even think of calling the provider at first. As time went on, though, I realized something wasn’t right, so I called to find out if there was an outage in the area. After being on hold, the tech confirmed that we were no longer showing up in their system and passed us along to their national support center. Another half hour on hold, and I found out we weren’t in the system, so they had to pass us back to their sales team to get the problem solved. However, before doing so, they started to go into a sales pitch about upgrading our service.
It is a pattern deep-rooted in this company: Sell at all costs. I understand the need for upgrades and new clients in all businesses, but to try and sell over solve is one of the most unprofessional businesses tactics any company could endorse. Why would anyone who is having an issue with a company want to invest more worth into them if they are not even willing to support the products they previously sold you? That was the question I asked the national tech, who ignored my inquiry and continued on with her speech. After being told there was no interest in her new product since she couldn’t support the old one for the third time, I was finally transferred back to where I started.
In the end the problem was the person who originally set up our Internet, from their company, mind you, who put the wrong modem type down. So instead of contacting us, they disconnected us instead. Is that the most unprofessional part? It should have been, but the idea that a company could put so much more on sale quota over service is, in my opinion, actually more disturbing. For any business, there is a time to sell — and a time to listen to your customers. Help and understanding will lead to increased profits, but if all you do is teach your employees to sell without arming them with the knowledge of when to do so, your customer base will look for alternatives to your service.

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