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  • Writer's pictureCollette Booth

A sale is a byproduct of a privileged relationship, think of your customers through Covid-19.

It took me a while to chose an image for this blog, I know it doesn't relate to the content of the post. It is, however, an image that I hope will evoke happiness of times past and times still to come during a situation that I think none of us felt we would witness in our lifetime.

The COVID -19 pandemic has made many of us realise how fragile our presence is on this earth and how privileged we are to experience its beauty. My reason for choosing this picture is my love of the ocean, something I know I won't enjoy for the foreseeable future, but I know it's there waiting for me when we hopefully come through the other side.

As many of us embark on learning to adapt to being in a new world, our work life has changed beyond recognition. Whether, like many of my own family and friends, you are on the frontline or sadly, like many others, your career is at a complete standstill until the world starts to function albeit differently again.

In this blog I wanted to speak from the heart about my own experience. Anyone out there who has a career working in sales knows it is a difficult career to have at the best of times, however, in the middle of a lockdown it definitely brings with it a moral dilemma.

For a long time I've had a different view to many of my peers in what a career in sales is all about. Whilst I was in the infancy of my career it was drilled into me that a sales role revolved around targets, money, more targets and more money. Unfortunately it never really sat comfortably with me, I knew I would never fit into their world in that capacity. I worked with people whose ego's and arrogance was a huge turn off, I hated the falseness of it all. I met people who I thought were friends who thought nothing of stabbing you in the back the minute that they had an opportunity to land the next big sale.

I knew with conviction I could do the job, but my reasons for choosing this career wasn't simply the money it was because I enjoy working with people. Some would say I talk too much, but social interaction is my vice and the primary element of what I enjoy most about my job. Money is a byproduct to building connections with new people and ultimately building a long term friendships over the years.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have many clients working with me today who I known my entire sales career. It's great to have that connection where you know their kids names and chat about holidays and hobbies. In return, I work incredibly hard to make sure that they are getting the best service, help at the drop of a hat and access to everything they need to make their life easier. The end result is a win win for both of us, I am fiercely loyal to my customers and I am very grateful to those customers who return the loyalty. Having a two way partnership is a proven recipe for success. I am also a realist I know you wont have this with every customer and some will come and go, but I can categorically say that it works every time when we work together as a team.

Now more than ever in these turbulent times it is extremely important to remember that people come first. I received a lovely email from a client last week whose organisation has been hard hit and it is impossible to continue due to the nature of the business.

I know that I will not be working with this client for a long time, but I have built up and good relationship with him over the months we have worked together. What is important to me now is that he and all my other clients and their families remain healthy and safe. We may not work together now, but it is in these times it's important to support people and show some humility not just keep in contact when the sales are flying in. This is what separates real sales people from the group who care for nothing but the sale.

As a mother, wife and business owner everyday has thrown up new challenges during this relatively short time we have been in lockdown. I, myself find it hard to motivate myself to work at all somedays. I know that I am not on the ball as much as I should be. It's hard trying to work, try and be a school teacher, keep the home running, support your family and navigate the new social distance one way system round Tesco. I have spoken to loads of people and many people feel exactly the same.

When it comes to work though, one thing is consistent. As part of my moral compass in what we affectionately now to refer to as "normal times", I could not bring myself to bombard customers with sales tactics, which means I certainly can't bring myself to do it now. I know sales people still have a job to do, but I urge people who have lived with the target, money mantra for years and years, think before you pick up that phone, should we really be trying to sell? Or should you be putting in that call or dropping an email to ask how they are just feeling and let them know you are here if needed.

Remember, we do not know if someone has lost someone close to them to terrible effects of Covid -19, we do not know if they are ill or suffering from mental illness due to worrying about their jobs, their personal life or health. What we can do is stay strong, respond to customers requests quickly and efficiently, help them through turbulent times.

Sales people have had some bad press in the past. I hope that when life returns to some normality, we will be remembered for our morality and together we have built a better reputation for our industry.

Stay safe everyone and take care.

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