A Finance Professionals Story of How He is IN Sales…. and Gets it!

A few weeks ago after one of my keynotes on Sales Culture, I received the story below from a senior level finance professional who had been in attendance and bought my book ” Everyone’s in Sales”. I thought this was a great story and continues to illustrate what I have been speaking about for years now…we are “ALL in sales”. I hope you enjoy it!

“At one time I worked for a company in Pittsburgh. The senior management team constantly stressed the need to provide excellent customer service. Day-in and day-out there was a drum beat of customer service, customer service. That drum beat was felt and heard in every corner of the company. Federated was known for its’ unsurpassed customer service. BUT, few people outside the sales team ever realized what that meant to them. To most of the employees, excellent customer service was something the sales team was responsible for.

I was running the Corporate Accounting department within the finance division. The building maintenance team was the only group to be further away from the front line sales efforts than we were. At the time I was a young finance professional with my first promotion under my belt and I wanted to make a good impression. I held a meeting one day with my entire group and asked them how they provide excellent customer service. Crickets……. no one wanted to be the first to tell me how ridiculous they thought my question was. I pick a friendly face from the group and asked him directly, “How does Corporate Accounting provide excellent customer service?” He politely respond that “Corporate Accounting doesn’t have any contact with customers, the sales team does”. I said, ”Every person in this company has a customer, who are ours?” I continued with, “every person that makes your phone ring and every person that appears at you cubicle opening is YOUR customer”. I continued my speech with the idea that every person, exclude none, should understand and visualize how the path of customer service winds from their cubicle, through the company, to the support of the sales team and ultimately to the customer. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was endorsing the idea that “Everyone’s in Sales”. That meeting went on for another couple hours. From that day forward, Corporate Accounting knew and believed that they were part of the sales team, what you would call the “virtual team”. My department became wildly successful. Moral increased, errors decreased, turnover decreased and I was recognized at the annual company dinner for the transformation of Corporate Accounting.

Now, every company I go into, one of the first things I do is to talk about customer service. I love doing this. I love it when I see the light bulb above their head turn on. I love it when I see the energy created when every person in the company understands that they are part of the team and not just a cog in the big machine.”

A big “thank you” to Robert Anthony for sending this along to me.

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