Building Pride in Your Company18 Jan, 2001 By: Larry Breed imageSource
Building Pride in Your Company
A sales rep should be a walking encyclopedia on whatever they are selling and
their knowledge begins with knowledge about the company they represent.
When you make a sale, you sell three things. First, you sell yourself. Then
you make the customer like you and trust you. Lastly, you sell your company. You
sell yourself and your company before you sell your product or service. Buyers
can like the product or service you're selling, but if they don't have
confidence in you and the company, they'll buy elsewhere.
You already know about yourself, and it's assumed that you know how to make a
good personal impression on your potential customers. You also know a good deal
about the company you represent ¾ but do you sell it?
There are some sales reps who criticize their company when they're talking to
customers. They think it's a sign of sophistication to belittle the
organization. And every time they do it they tear down themselves and minimize
the chance of closing a sale.
How Do They Belittle Themselves?
When a sales rep says anything patronizing or derogatory about the company that
they represent, they are saying in effect, “The company I'm working for isn't
much, so I guess I don't amount to much, either, or I'd have a better job”. When
a sales rep makes a slighting reference to their company, they brand themselves
as inferior. If they were any good, they wouldn't be devoting their working
hours to a low-grade organization.
The head of a major corporation was quoted as saying, “I refuse to buy from
any sales rep who isn't proud of their company and their product, and who
doesn't show that pride in their selling operations. A sales rep should know
more about their company and what it's offering for sale than, I do. And if what
they know doesn't make them proud of their position, I think it's wise to avoid
any business dealings with them. When I buy, I want to buy with complete
confidence ¾ and if the sales rep doesn't have such confidence in what they’re
selling, they can't expect me to have it.”
Why should the sales rep bother to sell the merits of their company? Because
people want to buy with confidence, and they want to buy from winners, not
losers. As one new customer put it, “I just placed a big order with a brand new
firm. You might think that's a risky thing to do, but the sales rep was so
doggoned enthusiastic about the company, I felt I couldn't miss. He told me
about the experience and capability of the key people in the organization. He
told me how they'd left good, safe jobs because they felt they could offer much
more than the established competition has been offering. He told me how
conservatively they started, and the rapid progress they've made. In addition,
he mentioned that he joined the company because he felt it offered greater
opportunities. “He gave me some impressive facts and figures, even before he
tried to sell me anything. His pride in his company was so evident and so great
that it was contagious.”
Gather Your Tools
A company's age is something to be proud of, because a company that stays in
business over a number of years must be doing something right and it must be
satisfying a good many established customers. But a new company that can survive
against established competition has something to brag about, too.
The quality of the key executives in a company is important to a buyer,
because companies are made up of people, and the character of a business
organization is usually a reflection of the top executives' character. Good
research in a company is something to talk about and that's important to
“Firsts” in a company are worth bringing to the attention of prospective
· The first company of its kind to establish a policy
· The first to introduce a new feature
· The first to back its sales force with aggressive advertising
· The first to offer a money-back guarantee
· The first to offer service facilities
· The first to offer a complete line
· And the first with a new product or service
All firsts of any kind are impressive to customers because they indicate
leadership and innovation.
The financial stability of a company is sometimes the clincher in closing a
sale. Financial stability doesn't mean bigness; it means sound financing. Some
huge companies are spread extremely thin, and some small companies are as sound
as the rock, staying small by preference. While size is not a sure-fire
indicator of quality, it always impresses customers. Business begets business.
Buyers like to go where the action is. Growth can impress customers at least as
much as gigantic size.
A firm that has a high percentage of volume increase always looks good to
An attractive physical layout often impresses customers, although it has little
to do with merchandise or services. It does indicate, however, that management
takes pride in its operation, and a management that takes pride in its physical
plant also tends to take pride in its output. Even a firm's internal relations
can help to sell merchandise or services. When a sales rep is enthusiastic about
what a great outfit their company is to work for, they makes points. Many buyers
reason that a good company to work for is a good company to work with.
· Any company's good public relations are helpful in selling customers. A
Company that's active in community affairs shows that it has a corporate
conscience. For example, a company executive involved in what would seem to be
an unimportant event (from a business standpoint of course), such as Junior
Achievement or Boy Scouts shows that by their participation they are good
people. By nature, people prefer to do business with other good people.
· Industry or community awards of any kind are always worth bragging about. A
potential customer can't believe that an award winner is an also-ran. A good,
convenient location can be made a talking point ¾ and so can a low-cost location
that saves money so that it can be passed along to buyers.
A brand new firm has something to impress customers. People today don't often go
into a business blindly, and a group that has the courage to go into competition
with established old timers must have a strong belief in its plans. The new
company almost invariably prizes a customer, and gives them special attention,
which an established firm might not care to give.
A Company's sales manager or marketing head may be impressive to customers
even when they seldom or never have contact with them. Any sales manager with a
long and consistent success record can't have ignored good customer relations. A
good sales manager does all he can to see that a company's customers are kept
Quality In Your Product
A firm that's careful about the quality of anything it sells has to win customer
approval for such a policy. For example, some retail stores will sell anything
to make a buck while others won't stock an item until they've satisfied
themselves that it's up to their standards. Among manufacturers, some test new
products exhaustively before they market them, while others don't, and a new
product that hasn't undergone rigid testing may show itself to be full of
Knowing that a company is careful about such things has to be important to
any customer. Therefore, you sell the merits of your company before you sell any
merchandise or services. You don't take it for granted that a prospective
customer knows all about your company. All they may know about you may be what
they’ve heard from competitors and the chances that they've praised you are not
Now, you can't do a good job of selling your organization to customers unless
you believe in it, yourself. Therefore, if you don't believe in it, you
shouldn't be there. There are probably things you would change in your firm if
you had complete authority, but you're there because you think your company
offers you an opportunity to grow right along with it. You believe it will grow
and prosper and that you can be a part of that growth and prosperity.
Not Airing Your Laundry
Whenever you make cynical or belittling remarks about your company, you hinder
the growth, you want for your company and for yourself. I've never known a sales
rep in my life that didn't have grievances, sometimes justified and sometimes
imaginary. Since we all want to better ourselves and it's the nature of a good
sales rep to sell, they sometimes try to sell things to their own management
that they won't buy. But the place to air those grievances, to get them into the
open for discussion, is inside the organization, not outside. You don't tell a
customer that you're unhappy in your job. In the first place, your happiness
isn't of much concern to them. And in the second place, a gripe from you about
the firm plants a doubt in their mind about the advisability of doing business
Differences of opinion should be an internal matter. On the outside, we
should present a united front - a proud front. If we don't let people see that
we think our firm deserves patronage, we can't expect them to reach that
One of the simplest ways to sell your company is to say something like,
“Before I show you our product, I'd like to say that our company wouldn't even
let me show it to you if our management didn't believe it was tops. That's the
kind of company I represent.”
You can easily lead from that into a few sentences that will sell the merits
of your firm. Ask some sales reps why they're proud of their company and they're
hard-pressed for an answer. They've come to take the merits of their firm for
granted and to assume that everyone knows why the organization deserves
business; but that simply isn’t so. It's a constant selling job, and the more
you sell your company, the more you will profit.
What are the things about your organization that should be called to public
attention? Make a list of the good things about your company and the benefits to
your customers of doing business with you.
You may think your company falls short in some areas. Nobody's perfect, but
good merits are ones that the sales force can help to strengthen. For example,
great integrity starts with a sales force that does an honest selling job. And a
good sales force helps to create loyal customers. It goes without saying that
the sales force can be the major factor in achieving a bigger gross volume.
Service to customers usually starts with the sales rep. Customers can't know
that your company takes pride in its output unless you tell them so. An
efficient operation can't exist unless orders are put through properly.
The sales rep can do a lot to improve your company, and they can do more than
anyone else to improve your company image with your customers and prospects. You
are the company as far as many of those you call on are concerned. We've all
been guilty of assuming that those who already buy from us are thoroughly
acquainted with our firm. As a matter of fact, it's a pretty safe bet that not
many of us know all the good things about our organization that make us a
desirable supplier. We could probably learn a lot by talking to people in other
departments, to our own suppliers, and to outsiders who see our firm for the
first time and are struck by things that we're too close to see.
We should know about possible areas for improvement, too, because you can't
correct a fault until you recognize it. One thing is, or should be apparent,
that people like to deal with a friendly firm, and you are the company from that
standpoint, as far as all but a few customers are concerned. So, if you tell a
customer that your company has a friendly concern for the welfare of its
customers and then you proceed to take a friendly interest in that customer,
You've proven your claim. Be a public relations person for your company. Sell
it, both during and after working hours. When you take pride in the organization
you represent, you'll find that the more pride every company member takes in it,
the more the company deserves that pride.
Stress good service in your conversation, and you'll find that your service
improves. Stress company efficiency and you'll discover yourself working more
efficiently. Don't hide your light. Point to your company merits with pride.
Help to make your company grow, so that you can grow along with it.