One President states, “I don’t sell!”

Over that past year, I’ve had a President state a few times in one of our advisory boards, “I don’t sell” when it comes to his company. While historically, I haven’t put a lot of thought into his comments, the topic came up again recently and really started to sink in for me.

First, this company has a small sales team in place. This President’s prospective is that he’ll never compete against his own sales personnel. He personally does not have one customer in their list of accounts that is his personal customer. As President of the company, they all are his customers; however, not his direct sale. And, he is committed to the fact that he’ll never be the “sales person” or contact for an account.

The first few times I heard this, it just blew right past me. Candidly, I don’t even remember the circumstances by which it came up other than to remember him saying it. However, this past week, as I said, it started to sink in a bit.

First, I think we all can relate to the thought process that everyone has roles and responsibilities on the team. Thus, when a President takes the position that he’s hired competent people to sell and selling doesn’t fall under his roles and responsibility, some likely relate. It’s not that he won’t occasionally go on a sales call to assist one of his representatives; however, he’ll never takes responsibility for the sale as that isn’t his role. Vice versa, there are a set of roles and responsibilities he has as President of the company that the company needs him to be focused which selling can distract focus if not careful. This all seems pretty basic and some may relate or even debate.

The point that recently sunk in this time with me is his desire to not “compete” with his sales representatives. Most may take the position, we’re all on the same team and what’s best for the customer is the right approach. That being said, let’s face it, who would you rather talk to given the option? A sales representative or the President of the company? Most would rather communicate directly with the Owner, CEO, President of the company given the option.

So what is the downside in doing so and why is this President so committed to not selling? Well, one of the bigger reason is out of respect for his sales people. For a second, think about the phycology of a President “competing” with his team for a sale. What does this do for the other players on the team? In a world of responsibility, trust, and confidence, is this increasing or decreasing these characteristics in the President’s sales representatives if he “competes” with them? Clearly, it’s demotivating his people whenever he “takes ownership” of the situation or even gives the customer a door to walk through. What might be perceived as best for getting the account is really the worst thing that could happen looking at the long term effects.

So, you say, Chris, we have an abundance of opportunities out there and everyone needs to hear about us. Well, this might be true, however, the mindset of this President which I’m tending to start to agree is “open the door and make the hand off”. Doing so, you’re going to instill a much greater sense of trust and confidence in your team which will reap rewards much greater than what you ever could achieve on your own.

Like me initially, today’s post may not sink in; however, if it fits, don’t allow it to blow right past you. Doing so could have a long lasting impact that isn’t the best for you and your team.

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