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Selling Through Service; Serving Through Sales

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Our group will often perform third-party quality assessment projects (e.g. "Your call may be monitored for training purposes") for sales teams as well as service teams. There are a couple of lessons I've learned  about sales in the contact center over the past 16 years.

First of all, sales people and service people are generally different people. Great customer service representatives are usually those who like to fix things. They love solving peoples problems and are motivated by the emotional lift they get helping others out. Great sales people are motivated by competition, the hunt, the reward and the adrenaline rush of closing the sale. When you have a sales person in a primary service role or a service person in a primary sales role, you're going to have problems.

However, the other thing I've learned is that service people can learn to sell, and sales people can learn to serve. It's really a matter of motivation. Service people tend to sell when they are convinced that the product or service they are offering the customer could be a real benefit. Offering the add-on product or service is actually an additional way of serving the customer. With that motivation, a service person merely needs to learn the techniques of how to conversationally broach the subject with the customer at the appropriate time.

I've heard a lot of great sales people over the years. The best seem to understand that courteously and personably serving the customer is actually a viable means to increasing their sales. Customers tend to return to sales people and businesses with whom they feel they have a positive service relationship. When a sale person provides great service, the customer will generally respond over time with loyal, return business.

The sales person's motivation for serving may be different than the service person, but when they learn techniques of good service and understand how it will help their bottom line, they can usually be trained to do it well.

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