Are You A Finger Pointer

Are you a sales leader or a finger pointer?

Anybody can be a finger pointer.

Are you always accountable for your actions?

Do you take responsibility even when it's not your fault?

Are you setting the right example for your salespeople?

Last week my wife and I went to one of our favorite restaurants - the Stonewood Grill & Tavern. We've been there many times and have always enjoyed the food, drinks and atmosphere.

This time the meal didn't meet our expectations. When the server came around, as they usually do, and asked, "How is everything" we told him we were disappointed and told him why!"

Without losing a beat or taking a breath he pointed his index finger at another table and told us they had exactly the same problem with their meal. He was a finger pointer.

Wow - that made us feel so much better.

Wow - we were impressed how he took the BULL by the veritable horns.

Wow - it was nice to know that misery does indeed love company.

Well look, that's simply elwrongo!

You gotta be real careful that you don't start pointing fingers, especially when you're working with your salespeople - because it becomes contagious.

You don't want to be managing a team of finger pointers.

Imagine you're spending a day with one of your salespeople calling on some of his best customers.

At one account, your customer doesn't give you a chance to ask, "How is everything?"

He proceeds to tell you about a duplicate shipment he received that very morning. Naturally he's upset, because it was a rather large order.

How do you respond? What do you say - without being a finger pointer?

You could go into the finger-pointing mode and say something pathetic like, "I'm sorry. Our new shipping manager has been having some problems like this since he started 2 weeks ago."

You could also say something like, "I'll call the shipping department later and have someone get back to you."

Whadda-ya-nutz? Do you really think that's going to make anybody feel any better?

Finger-pointing doesn't make anyone feel better - so don't do it.

As a sales manager, you are the face of your company's senior management during every face-to-face sale call.

You need to step up and take charge. Take responsibility!

Tell your customer exactly what you'll do to fix everything for him.

You could say something like, "After we leave, because I don't want to take up your valuable time right now, I'm going to call our shipping and accounting departments. I will arrange for the return and full credit immediately. I'll call you 9 AM tomorrow to confirm all the arrangements with you."

And remember 9 AM isn't he same as 9:04 AM.

Rest assured you have a lot of options here - but being a finger pointer isn't one of them.

Take charge and take full responsibility. Don't complain and certainly don't try to explain.

Be different - just deal with it!

When you leave the account - this customer will feel like he's in very good hands. He'll remember that - long after he forgets about the duplicate shipment.

Now back to the restaurant . . .

Our server could have reacted in a more professional way, but he was probably not trained in the art of effective communications with disappointed customers.

He could have said something like, "We usually do better than this. I'm going to talk to the chef right now to see what he can do to make things better for you tonight!"

Now that's a WOW! That kind of statement wouldn't make us think twice about coming back again.

Taking responsibility is always more effective than finger-pointing and re-directing the blame.

And be sure to teach this lesson to your salespeople.

By now you should know where the buck stops!

Return from Finger Pointer to Sales Articles