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Guest opinion: are you running a sales or service business?

Mike Dalloz

The theory

It is important to understand the context between sales and service. Often when we ask clients whether they consider themselves to be a sales or service environment the response we get is:

“Our objective is to deliver the highest level of service whilst maximising all sales opportunities.”

Well of course that is the perfect aspiration! However, we ask you to delve deeper and consider ultimately where your organisation sits when it comes to choosing where your priorities lie. This is well articulated by choosing one of the following two outcomes:

Performance In People: sales or service environment? July 2016

When we put this scenario to professionals within a retail service environment, many initial responses are for outcome 2; “better to not achieve a sale but have the customer leaving with a good feeling about the service they have received”. What if we then told you that the sale was worth £100,000?

For most that would change things; “of course we want to deliver a great service, but we are all commercial organisations and after all it is £100,000.” What if we then told you that customer had a further £100 Million pounds to spend? Suddenly the service has become more important!

Maths time

PiP has calculated a formula for assessing whether you are a sales or service environment:

Performance In People - sales or service % - July 2016

If your answer equates to more than 1%, then you are a more sales focused environment.

Your calculation explained

In reality if a customer’s average visit spend is more than 1% of their potential lifetime value, then you are a sales environment where maximising sales conversion is critical. Think about the kitchen industry where a customer may only buy 3 or 4 kitchens in their lifetime, with up to 10 year gaps between visiting a showroom… closing that sale is the ultimate priority!

On the other hand, a supermarket that is visited by a customer 2 or 3 times a week, would be crazy to focus on risking a future lifetime value of £100,000+ for the sake of a small additional purchase.

Of course being a sales environment does not stop you delivering an exceptional customer experience (which will of course increase your chances of selling products). Equally, a service environment is not a badge that stops you from selling! We just think it is important to understand your retail environment and ultimately where the priority sits.

Performance In People - sales or service - July 2016












Author: Performance in People managing director Mike Dalloz (pictured)

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