Are You Giving Your Inbound Sales Reps Enough Respect?
To your customers, your inbound reresentatives are your company. To your best customers your inbound reps are their friends! I learned this first hand many years ago when one of my inbound reps got invited to the wedding of one of our customers; someone who lived in another city and had never before met the rep in person. In fact, I was so shocked and impressed by the strength of their relationship that I paid for our rep to attend the wedding.
The point is, in any direct marketing business, “people buy from people” and your inbound reps are pure gold. In far too many cases, they need to be paid more and treated with more respect. Consider these points:
1. We’re all repeat buyers of certain catalog companies. Some of them we love to return to again and again because of the competent and friendly phone reps. Others we avoid! (think Lands’ End vs. Dell). Some have foreign reps whose accents are so heavy that we can’t understand and would rather just avoid having to talk to them.
2. We invest a great deal in hiring, systems training and product training in our reps. It takes a rep six to 12 months to reach peak effectiveness. The cost of turnover is very high. We also spend millions mailing catalogs and need the customer experience and order value to be maximized.
3. A good rep can cement and repair any customer relationship and create a personal bond. Conversely, a bad rep can turn off a customer in a nanosecond.
4. A good rep can do more. A smart, educated, well-trained rep with authority can juggle two tasks at once and answer or resolve 99 percent of all customer requests on the spot.
5. A good rep can also sell more. Take a look at the talk time, orders processed, average order value, median order value, lines per order, units per order, qualitative call reports, etc., of your best reps vs. your marginal reps.