DSRs who take the responsibility for their company’s problems and errors are viewed as true professionals by their customers and will be rewarded in sales growth.
I’ve been riding and working with many DSRs lately and have noticed (too often I might say)
that when they’re talking to their customers, some of the DSRs are blaming just about everybody they work with for the problems that happened this week or last.
The day this bad habit became clear to me, I was in my second year of being a DSR. A light came on in my head about how I was handling the company’s problems and I decided to change my attitude and quit complaining to my Customers, DSM and our management team about the problems that happened day in, and day out.
Below is my story about taking ownership and responsibility for “the problems that never seem to change.”
You might be asking, what happened? I changed because one of my largest accounts stopped buying from me when I went in to get my weekly order.
That customer, my friend, told me that even though I worked really hard and was a pretty good sales rep, he (and his staff) had so much anxiety every week after I left because of my attitude and complaining about my distributor and a lot of the employees who worked there.
He also said that he was not doing business with me or my company until things changed!
He said he had been warning me for the last few months with hints like what was I doing about the problems; and why would our distributor hire so many incompetent employees?
He basically told me that he and his staff had enough problems of their own, and the last thing they needed was a DSR who wouldn’t take responsibility for the company he represented. Before I left, he asked me this question, “Would you want to do business with a Sales Rep and company that had all these incompetent employees?” He asked how would he know if/when the bad truck driver would steal something from his cooler; or if the bad credit manager would add up his monthly A/R right; or if the incompetent buyers might forget to place the order for his 8 cases of special order ribeyes? He told me it was my job to take the responsibility for my company and help them to help themselves.
I was really upset with him for about an hour while driving to my next customer which happened to be my largest nursing home account. When I walked in the front door, Betty, the Dietary Manager, asked me how my day was going because her accounting department was having issues with our monthly invoice. They were trying to pay it (late), but because there were a few credits that had not been deducted from the month before, they did not know what amount to pay. They had called into our office and talked to the credit manager who blamed me for not writing the credits in a timely manner and they were still on the invoice.
That’s when the light came on in my head. I told Betty that it was my fault, not the Credit Manager’s, and that I should have written the credit the day I knew about it. Betty about fell over and asked if something had happened. She thought I was going to blame it on the Credit Manager again. I called the Credit Manager and got that problem worked out promising to write the credits when I got to the office.
I told my boss and the management team about what had happened because I had to explain why I did not have an order from my largest customer. I volunteered to take on the role of identifying and owning problems (of customers, internal team, drivers, etc.) that affected me and other DSRs, and to come up with three opportunities for each problem with the goal of improving on the customer’s experience.
The goal of this team was to be better than our competition since they all had the same types of problems happen every day too, and like us, they had no one whose job it was to work on those issues, BUT NOW WE DID.
From that day forward, I always took the responsibility for every issue regardless of whose fault it was. This mindset helped turn problems into opportunities for my company and my sales career.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
You must believe in the product and service that you’re selling.
You have to believe in the company you’re representing.
You have to believe in every person who works with you at your company.
You have to believe in yourself.
The most successful DSRs in the industry truly believe in their products and their company, and they go out and tell everybody who will listen.
Be a Resource…and Sell Something!