I’m declaring December 7th the first Sales Respect Day.
Talk to any real estate salesperson. Their job involves providing valuable information to people who need to make a decision. Yet they are treated like second-class citizens. Often they are spoken down to, their correspondence is ignored and they are very seldom thanked by the prospective purchaser. They endure jibes and constant insinuations that they have lower ethics than other people.
The fact is, every profession has a mix of people who are scrupulous and people who are not. Professions like Real Estate are probably more conscious of ethical requirements than most, because they are more regulated than other professions.
I think many business people treat the sales person with disdain because they ascribe malicious intent to people who are trying to make money out of them. As if, somehow, a profit motive offsets the right to be treated with respect. It’s the same thought pattern that instilled a hatred of money-lenders when they started charging interest. People who provide you with a service should be treated with respect. Here is the quid pro quo: I’ll give you information and act ethically. You tell me honestly where I stand and treat me with respect.
One of the greatest sins against sales people is the disingenuous mining of information by a client. They intend giving the business to a particular supplier but will seek information from a range of companies to exert price pressure on the preferred supplier. A potential supplier might spend huge amounts of time and resources answering questions, educating the client or pitching ideas. But they were never going to get the business because they were too small a company. Or in the wrong location.
So here’s how you celebrate Sales Respect Day.
1. Send a thank-you note to a sales person who has given you useful information.
2. Send a thank-you note and a small gift to a sales person who has given you useful information and didn’t get the business.
3. Send a sales person honest, constructive feedback about why they missed out on the job.
And give some thought to how you treat sales people – consider the following questions:
* Are you completely up-front with sales people about how the sales decision will be made and the chances of a sale eventuating? If you have no intention of purchasing, perhaps you should pay for the information.
* Do you reply promptly to sales people or wait for them to call you six times? Do you treat others poorly because it makes you feel more important?
* Do you have ethical guidelines as to how sales people are treated in your purchasing process?
* Do you thank sales people for comprehensive proposals that have clearly taken lots of time and effort?
* Do you waste people’s time because you have no intention of buying something off them? If you intend buying something off the Net, it’s just mean to bleed some retail sales person of information.
Most of us are sales people some of the time and purchasers some of the time. Show some respect.