Staff resources can be tight, particularly in businesses that are just getting underway. Employees are charged with many different responsibilities and may have several different titles in a startup. Although that arrangement can lead to chaos in an organization, the spirit of collaboration and doing whatever is necessary to satisfy clients and boost revenues can also be extremely motivating.
Having everyone – no matter what their position in the company hierarchy – serve as an informal customer service representative, marketer and salesperson is not only more efficient, but can also help your business capitalize on more opportunities to increase sales and provide value-added service to clients that may have been left to the wayside otherwise.
Every customer interaction presents a chance to build client capital. Clients’ levels of trust in your firm can change (for better or worse) every time they meet with an advisor or call into the office to ask a question. How you manage these experiences can determine whether a person will be a lifelong client or a one-time sale.
This is not to suggest that your front desk administrative assistant should be pitching a product when a client calls in to ask an unrelated question. However, he or she could be laying the foundation for a future sale by portraying your company as patient, compassionate and above all, invested in the client and his or her personal and business goals.
Ron Volper, a sales consultant and a New York University adjunct faculty member who teaches leadership and management, discusses the concept of encouraging customer representatives to also work on sales in a piece for the International Customer Management Institute. Although he talks about the customer service teams who work in call centers, some of the points can carry over to an independent financial advisory firm.
When directing your employees to consider sales and service in any interaction with a client, be sure that you are clearly communicating your expectations and putting both priorities at the heart of everything the team members do. Frame this mission in terms of providing added value to your clients. What products or services would advance their financial and personal goals? By adopting the attitude that every sale is not only benefiting your business’ bottom line, but is also improving the quality of your clients’ lives, you may be able to motivate even the team members who are not centrally salespeople.