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Your most important responsibility

April 08. 2013 12:10PM

REGARDLESS of what you sell and what organization you sell for, you have a responsibility. The primary responsibility you have is to ensure you meet the performance expectations of your role. As sales professionals, we are judged on one simple thing: achieving our financial targets. For some companies, that means the top line revenue you bring in. For others, it means gross profit.

Selling in every form is how companies succeed. Nothing happens without money, and salespeople are the engine that drives a company's success. Along with the financial responsibility you have, there is one other responsibility that is equally as important and is directly related to the financial metrics you are judged on. And that is the perception customers and prospects have of you and your organization.

I do my best to always remind salespeople that they are the face of their company. The experience you provide your customer is how the customer will judge your company. In other words, you are your company.

Whenever I am discussing this topic, I always try to use a personal example. I've found that personal examples best illustrate the way salespeople and anyone representing their company affect the perception people have of the company. Let me share a recent story.

Last week, I had a routine procedure done at the Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center. While it was nothing serious, I was there for a few hours. When I checked in for my appointment, I was introduced to a nurse. Her responsibility was to get me ready for the procedure. She got me into the room and began all of the tasks associated with getting me ready to see the doctor.

The nurse was certainly professional and knew what she was doing, but she wasn't very personable. She answered the questions I asked and minimized a few concerns I had, but there wasn't a whole lot of detail. Her answers were short and pointed and lacked any substance. She seemed serious and didn't have the ability to really connect with me and give me a positive feeling. I got the feeling that she was there to do her job and that was it. She didn't do anything wrong, but I wasn't blown away. It just seemed routine for her. And for me, that wasn't the greatest feeling.

Because of the initial experience I had with the first nurse, I immediately had apprehension about my decision to go to this facility versus another option I had. Does the experience I had with a nurse justify me having a negative perception of the Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center? Not really, but it did.

It's worth mentioning that the doctor I dealt with was amazing. He answered my questions thoroughly, joked around a little and made me feel comfortable prior to the procedure. My time with him was brief, so it had less of an impact on my overall experience. However, I'm sure if my experience with the doctor was negative, I would have felt differently.

After my procedure, I was assigned to a new nurse. Like the first nurse, she was professional and definitely knew what she was doing. But the second nurse was different. She had a great personality and mixed small talk with some humor. She was passionate, full of energy and attentive. She seemed liked she genuinely loved her job and was willing to do anything to make my experience positive. And she certainly did that.

I left feeling good about the experience, thanks in large part to the doctor and the second nurse I dealt with. The procedure went flawlessly, and I suppose that's what matters most when you're dealing with anything related to your health.

The point of this example is to illustrate how powerful customer experience is and how much of an influence you have on how people perceive your organization. Sure, a nurse isn't in sales, but it's about the experience you provide your customers. My perception of the center was directly related to the feeling I had dealing with one of its employees. And that's what it's all about.

Never forget: In the eyes of the customer, you are the company. And that's a responsibility that can't be taken lightly.

Christopher Thompson ( writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.

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