For those that know me, know that my background is business development and sales. I also worked predominately in the banking sector and did so around the time of the financial crisis.
When you work in sales, and in the banking sector, there is a culture of target setting and many workers are set targets depending on the amount of sales they make, or the amount of business they bring in. With these targets come rewards.
There is no doubt about it; target setting in sales works! I have never met a sales person that has ever achieved great things without some form of targets being set and rewards being granted.
My main issue however with these points is that as soon as you start bragging about these points, you can start to alienate your customer – and it does not set the right image whatsoever.
You see, we should all be in business to help one another. Sure, there are monetary rewards and profits to be made – but all of us work as we have a solution to a problem that someone else needs. We just make a profit on that solution. That is business theory brought down to a very basic level.
Now, there is nothing wrong with making profit. However, the appearance of bragging about making big commissions and ‘smashing your targets’ can really portray the wrong image to your customers old, current, and future.
Your customers will turn to you to solve a problem that they have in that current time. That should ideally be your main priority as a sales person or business man. If your sole focus is on making commission, making money, or hitting targets is your heart in the right place? Is this how you want your next customers to feel when they walk through your door; just a commission hit, or the next target?
Now, I am not against offering targets or financial rewards where they are justified. These things can work wonders to increase business and to boost profits. They also make a great impact on staff morale and can, if done right, create a great culture to work in. But for your PR and your marketing image these should really remain in house.
Your marketing image and PR view should always be that of helping customers solve the problems they have, to develop long-term relationships with your customers and to offer solutions for your customer needs.
Hitting targets and earning high amounts of commission should be kept under-wraps and in-house – these elements of success should be hidden from any form of marketing strategy whether planned or unplanned.
If anything were to go wrong, just like they did during the banking crisis, you only leave yourself open to criticism which will only incur lasting damage upon your brand and marketing message which will be very hard to repair.
So next time you feel the need to boast about your latest achievements, just think to yourself: “Is this the right message I want to be putting across to my customers?”