Feedback excuses in sales. Why we need to get over ourselves and aim for a better customer experience.

by | Mar 4, 2021 | sales, Uncategorized

Feedback excuses in sales. Why we need to get over ourselves and aim for a better customer experience.

Feedback collation without application becomes noise. If something becomes noise it becomes a distraction. If something becomes a distraction it will not be an important task and will be easily forgotten.

Our friend Dan is the typical traditional sales chap. His days are busy. He has stacked meetings, prospect calls and closes to make. His pipeline is pretty full of all kinds of opportunities and he is proud to be busy.

The days are quite long and there are some deadlines looming to reach the target, so the pressure is on now to close, close, close! Head down, bum up. Call, call, call, zoom meeting to teams meeting to zoom meeting to a phone call. It’s all non-stop in the pursuit of the close.

The team meeting

Dan had a meeting with the marketing team last week as he was a little frustrated with the quality of the leads coming from the website. Customers had no direction or pre-qualifying nature to them, so as soon as someone completed the web form this landed straight in the lap of Dan who would drop everything to call them immediately, with little context or reason for the call.

From the meeting it was suggested by the wider team – operations, marketing and MD, that the reason sales were slower but Dan’s pace was intense was the sales function (Dan included), was simply charging ahead, number punching and throwin anything and everything at the wall, knowing that come month end, something would stick.

“We want you to start getting feedback” was the summary of the meeting. “We need to know why people are buying from us, we need to know what it is they actually want and we need to showcase more of our customers on the website. We think it’ll help our sales function, but we really need your input.”

“What?!” says Dan, clearly flustered and a little taken aback by this marketing request. “Not been funny, but how do you expect us to do this? Can’t you see, we’re busy?”

I’m out on calls, meetings, follow-ups, lead forms, digital expos. This digital thing is all just temporary until we get back to normal and then I’ll be out on the road 8 hours a day hitting up 10 or more businesses from the list we have. Besides, no one wants to leave feedback or reviews, and we already do it – at the end of the year remember – in our quality review. We seem to score pretty highly on this so everything must be fine?”

Reasons or excuses?

Dan is definitely a bit perplexed here by the request for sales to be responsible for the collection of feedback. I don’t have time to ask for feedback, we already do it at the end of the year, isn’t that marketing’s job – I’m busy! This is how we do things here, it’s worked before, it’ll work again – I don’t want to be a nuisance.

These common reasons (see, excuses) are evident in our Online Live sales training and is something we must overcome.

Our research consistently suggests the majority of sales people say they don’t have time to ask for reviews and feedback, they also cite that it is too much hassle for them and the customer.

Stop making excuses!

In their article talking about the difference between a reason and an excuse, Medium suggests ‘Reason implies that fault is sincerely recognized and accepted….that you step up and take accountability for your actions.

An excuse exists to justify, blame or defend a fault…with the intent to absolve oneself of accountability.’

why do people not ask for feedback and reviews?

The intent to absolve oneself of accountability. It’s not my job, boss! That is marketing’s job. Sound familiar?

We know from our research across hundreds of Online Live sales training attendees that the majority of us as a consumer are more than happy to leave a review or offer feedback – it’s almost expected. So why then the hesitance when we are in the sellers’ shoes?

Wait, no news is good news – isn’t it?

No news is good news is a line I heard recently. It was said from a good place which makes me think that a lack of knowledge or understanding around the importance of feedback is evident in most businesses. I talk more about the risk of silent detractors and the power of one simple feedback line in the supporting article discussing the power of feedback in the sales process.

Is no news good news? Here’s a lesson learned from two decades prior!

A reminder, 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. So if you think word of mouth is important and you can understand this, reposition the focus to look a the power of online reviews.

And if you think your customers aren’t educating themselves, it’s thought that 47% of your customers are looking at 3 – 5 pieces of content about you before contacting you or continuing their sales journey.

And finally, if over 90% of buying journeys start online and if 57% of a buyers decision is made before actually speaking with you – what do you think these people are looking at before they reach out to you? That’s right, what other people are saying about you!

Customer facing activity for sales success

In our article asking is it sales or is it marketing we suggest that the two roles now are nothing more than two sides of the same coin. Sales people must start to understand their role in the development of a feedback strategy and businesses as a whole must integrate departments and functions to work together to be a customer facing and customer centric organisation.

So let us take a look at some numbers to help Dan and the team at Sell Your Ads Magazine understand how feedback can show up more effectively in their joined up approach for sales and marketing. 

Let’s assume for a moment that we all agree on a few basic things;

  1. Not everyone is a customer
  2. People buy from people….like themselves.
  3. 88% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

With this in mind, think about the touch points and call points your prospects and customer have with your business. If you are busy simply calling, and zooming, and meeting with anybody and everybody in your pipeline at the first instance, there is a risk you are operating in the Dead Zone, a place where ultimately you are trying to sell your stuff to people who simply don’t know who you are. You risk commoditising your product or service and this could lead to a race to the bottom.

Instead, let’s consider that by talking more actively across your sales process with potential buyers, you will have better conversations, in a better context, that means when the time is right to ask for the sale it should be the most logical next step to do so. If you are grinding away treating every person the same, you will get busy for sure – but busy doing what exactly?

The feedback continuum in the sales process

Feedback should be a continuous process and therefore it must be the responsibility of all departments to work cohesively in the collation and application of that feedback to help drive more of the best kind of sales opportunities.

If you spend your time trying to sell your stuff to people who don’t yet know who you are, there is a risk you are trying to sell to suspects and haven’t taken the time to build in the processes that are available to help distinguish between a Suspect and a Prospect.

Confidence, process and structure in sales.

Feedback collation without application becomes noise. If something becomes noise it becomes a distraction. If something becomes a distraction it will not be an important task and will be easily forgotten.

How a business utilises feedback to impact sales will be key to get company wide buy in to the process. Take a look at the Plan. Grow. Do. feedback. We love when our customers leave good snippets for us about their experiences with us. Every attendee is asked to leave their thoughts and we then make forward facing, customer focussed messaging around it.

95% of Online Live sales training attendees are actively referring the training to their network.

You can see more of our case studies and sales training success stories across our website and over on Google.

The sales environment has changed. Waiting and hoping for how things used to be is a short sighted risk that will have long lasting implications. Use this time now to start thinking about how you can impact your business messaging, positioning and success by collating feedback. And get over your excuses! Your customers are waiting for you to ask them about their experiences.

Don’t leave this down to an annual review that nobody in your business can be bothered with. Make feedback a meaningful, consistent and vital part of your sales process. Your customers and your sales success will thank you.

Sales training webinar – free to access.

We have a free to access, on demand webinar that opens up the discussion about The Three Re’s. you should head over there and take a look to see how you can proactively benefit your sales activity in a more modern and relevant way.

Further Reading and supporting articles about customer feedback, customer centricity and your responsibility in building an effective feedback process.

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