As a global thought leader on entrepreneurship, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) partners with leading voices on better business around the world. Recently, our partnership with Inc.com produced an article by EO Detroit’s Vladimir Gendelman, founder and CEO of Company Folders. Read his article below, which was yesterday:
Not everyone is cut out to be a superstar salesperson. It requires dexterous communication skills and a knack for negotiation–talents that not every employee necessarily has. But even if they work in accounting, maintenance, or manufacturing, employees at every level of your company can end up impacting sales in ways that you might not have considered. Here are four ways your employees can make–or break–a sale.
1. Quality of Work: Even if an employee doesn’t interact directly with clients, there’s a good chance that his or her work will be on display. Your manufacturers determine the quality and appearance of the products you sell. The janitors make your showroom clean and attractive. The billing staff ensures that customers’ payments are processed smoothly and efficiently. All of these workers are acting as “salespeople” because their actions affect the way your brand is perceived. If they do their work poorly, that will eventually show through to the customer and discourage further business.
2. Word of Mouth: Most of us “bring our work home with us” to some degree, even if it’s just discussing work with friends and family. Though we rarely think about it, this is actually a form of sales marketing–one that may or may not work in your favor, depending on what your employees are saying.
Chances are all of us have at least one person in our social circles who is also a potential customer, even if we might not think of someone that way. If employees are enthusiastic about the company’s culture or the products they work with, their family and friends will be more likely to purchase those products themselves. If they complain about an obnoxious manager or poor working conditions, that might discourage others from making a purchase. Remember that when you deliver value to your employees, that value is bound to eventually reach your customers.
3. Social Media: With the growing popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and other social-media networks, the things your employees publish online actually have the potential to go viral. The principles that govern word of mouth are magnified online. What’s more, recent National Labor Relations Board rulings indicate that many of these statements are fully protected by the law, meaning you can’t necessarily fire someone for making negative comments online. Certain forms of social media can also affect search results. Even something as simple as “liking” your company’s page will influence online traffic.
4. Promotional Products: Many companies provide their employees with fun, relatively inexpensive branded products such as T-shirts, bumper stickers, or mugs. Not only do these help to motivate your staff and boost morale, they can also serve as a form of marketing to potential customers. Promotional products are a cost-effective way of giving your brand extra exposure by essentially turning your off-duty employees into mobile billboards.
You should never underestimate the potential for your employees’ actions to help or hinder your sales efforts.