Think about how you have helped people rather than just focusing on targets!

For those that know me, you know I have a background in business development and sales. I also worked predominately in the banking sector and did so around the time of the financial crisis.

A culture of target setting

When you work in sales and the banking sector, there is a culture of target setting. 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, sales take a certain type of person and that type of person is motivated by rewards. I’ve never met a committed sales person yet that hasn’t ever achieved great things without some form of target being set that includes a reward.

The issue with this is…

I have an issue with this in that many sales people will talk about their targets and results with their customers and prospects, this isn’t of interest to the customer, they want to know what you can do for them, not what they can do for you, so it’s to be avoided at all costs otherwise you risk alienating those that you ideally want a long-term beneficial relationship with. People buy from people, they won’t buy from someone they don’t take to that’s self-focused.

You see, we should all be in business to help one another. Sure, there are monetary rewards and profits to be made – but if we all work together we generate better solutions to problems, we grow our reputation for all the right reasons which in turn is fully supported by others and works towards making a profit. That is business theory brought down to a very basic level.

Are you smashing your targets or your relationships?

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 or business person. If your sole focus is on making commission, making money, or hitting targets your heart really isn’t in it and people can see that. Think about how you want your next customer to feel and I’m sure they don’t want to be thought of as a target, a commission hit…

Positive rewards and reputation

I’m not against offering targets or financial rewards where they are justified. These things can work wonders to increase business and to boost profits. They can also have a positive impact of staff morale, if done right, and create a great workplace culture. But, for reputation management targets should be kept to internal use only.

Managed well, reputation as an individual and a business stands the test of time and places you in a position that sees you as an expert that is informed and helpful in providing the right solutions that create long-term relationships.

Manage your reputation and your businesses for a stable and long-term future that you can be proud of. And, always ask yourself “Is this the right message I want to be putting across to my customers?”

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