“Get those sales guys – we have to hit today’s target. Everybody pitch hard and bring me the numbers!”
Does that have a familiar ring to it? Am sure it does, especially to all those working in direct sales, marketing or customer service roles. We have all, at some point or the other had our supervisors and team leaders “encourage” us to push the limits of our horizons and chase targets with a determined frenzy. If by God’s grace you do achieve the coveted sales– they top it off with “I’m so proud of you!”
Quantity has become synonymous with quality, profits with caliber and money with success. More often than not, the ends justify the means, and as long as the cash is flowing in, it little matters how it comes in. And if your methods fail to yield immediate gains, your capabilities are undermined, your sincere intent, genuine commitment and complete integrity notwithstanding.
It’s this shortsightedness that, in my opinion, could well prove counter productive and reverse fortunes of flourishing businesses. For employees in sales and customer service roles, building a steady rapport with the client fosters brand loyalty and ensures their long-term association with the business. It reflects genuine concern for customers as against a typically “salesy” attitude that reduces the customer to merely being an object to be tapped into – a stepping-stone towards achieving the golden mark.
So single minded is our focus on short-term profits that we prefer turning a blind eye to the real values intrinsic to the job at hand. If there is nothing in the deal for us, customer queries and problems are simply shrugged off or pushed behind in our agenda, to attend to “later”. So obsessed are supervisors with attaining sales goals that they totally overlook employees who may not have made a sale that day but have gone out of their way to help a customer, solve his problem by clearing his doubts in an honest, unselfish manner and earned his trust in the bargain. It is this employee who deserves a pat on the back too – as he has paved the way for client retention and brand advocacy – the true barometers of lasting success for any business.
The corporate world urgently needs to come to grips with its priorities and stop being swayed by superficial victories, which though heady and intoxicating, will never be able to replace old fashioned principles. We cannot raise the bar for profits by forgetting the larger objectives. The hare may out pace the tortoise – but only in the beginning. In the end it’s the ideals like consistency, sincerity and commitment that will most certainly drive the way and emerge triumphant.
Related topic: The ROI of the intangibles