How ethical is your sales approach?

I read a really interesting deep dive today into Cruise Companies and how they have been impacted by Covid-19 from the Hustle newsletter.

What really stood out for me were some examples of sales tactics over the last couple of weeks.

According to emails obtained by the Miami New Times, salespeople at Norwegian were instructed to respond to coronavirus-inquiring customers with scripted one-liners, like “The only thing you need to worry about for your cruise is do you have enough sunscreen?”

I am sure you would agree that this dismissive approach to a customers concerns is not an appropriate approach to sales or service and will only damage the relationship.

Unfortunately it gets worse with another response that was received.

When we called the company’s booking hotline last week, a salesperson told us that “coronavirus doesn’t exist in tropical climates”

These are unprecedented times and the above examples just go to show when under pressure to survive what organisations sales staff will do to close a sale. This is a short term view and will do nothing to build a companies reputation, credibility or trust with customers in the long term.

Even with these external pressures to survive organisations need to be looking at how their sales staff are selling ethically, building trust with prospects and customers to establish long term relationships.

Here are a few things you can be looking to do as leaders of sales and service teams:

  • Develop appropriate scripts for staff to use that ensure a consistent message that aligns to the organisations values – I am not a huge fan of everything being scripted but having clear FAQ’s or messaging that staff must use in sales and service roles whilst still being able to bring to life their own personalities is important.
  • Observations and coaching – Leaders need to make the time to be consistently observing and coaching team members to identify ways in which they can improve. provide support and guidance. In these challenging time to also increase morale and positivity in team members to ensure the right behaviours are recognised.
  • Regularly review calls with clients as a team – use team meetings to critique and review customer conversations so that scripts, sales tactics and strategies can evolve and improve through the input of team members.
  • Adapt your process – it’s likely that your sales process and other processes need to change in line with changing customer behaviours. Organisations need to be flexible at this time and being so will improve customer confidence and trust. Recent examples are airlines changing polices around cancelling trips and receiving credit for a future flight.

When under pressure it can be very easy for human behaviour to change and not always in a positive way – we only need to look at ‘toilet roll panic’ – and the same goes for sales and service staff.

Leaders need to ensure they are providing the necessary frameworks and guidance to support their team members and create a customer experience that builds trust, credibility and is focused on the long term.

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