Dear Manager,

There have certainly been many lessons to be learned from the rise and fall of the dot.com world. In its first incarnation, the pace was so frenetic, and there was such little historic knowledge regarding these uncharted waters, many companies simply made decisions by the seat of their pants or on a wing and a prayer. This was a time of great anxiety and pressure to play ball with the BIG kids.

There’s no question that these lessons greatly assist the survivors as well as those who venture into business in the future. Which of these lessons might apply to our own business experience? Is there a connection, and can we learn and apply these lessons without having to pay our predecessors’ price?

As suggested, in the aftermath there were many lessons learned including the fundamental need for profitability, and never to put one’s cart ahead of one’s horse. Why did some survive while others with much greater funding and clear potential proceed to fail? The single answer that seems to continue to apply to those who survived the test of time suggests the following: Those who found success never deviated from their model of insuring a positive and clearly rewarding customer experience!

The successful companies only followed applications that would allow them to enhance or improve upon current standards of service for their potential customers in the marketplace. Those who survived executed this premise very well. While it didn’t guarantee their success, in retrospect failure to do so certainly negatively impacted their potential or led to their ultimate demise. How can this lesson enhance our own “more low-tech” organizations?


Anyone who’s spent time on the Internet with business-to-business or business-to-consumer websites will understand the frustrations that can occur in conducting business in this forum. By nature, Internet commerce best accommodates those individuals or companies that are fully prepared to complete an immediate transaction. In many cases these sites are ready and willing to finalize the sale, if we could just figure out what information is required to do so! I’ve found the circuitous routes used by some websites to guide me to the “purchase” button make me want to jump in my car and drive to the mall! Aren’t they trying to grease my path to this mutually productive outcome? One would think so, yet many have failed in this most obvious area of conducting business.

From the outside looking in, how user friendly is your company’s sales process system? Have you ever asked someone with no current awareness of your product or service to evaluate their ability to purchase from your company? There are now very successful companies who are doing this for the high tech industry, so why not for the low tech industries as well?

As often as not we are developing client relationships with individuals with little or no understanding of what we do, who we are or what benefits and services we can provide them. Wouldn’t there be significant value in reviewing current marketing materials, product initiatives, and customer support agendas with this thought in mind? Are you effectively communicating and translating “your best sales effort” with regards to your most basic sales initiatives?


This is a great place to begin the process. When a new or existing client initiates contact with your company, what will their experience be? Whether with a receptionist, through customer service, or with a professional sales person, will this be a positive and memorable experience? Do these individuals have the current information readily available to assist this person in meeting their immediate needs? Even though not all these individuals may be classified as “sales people,” do they fully understand their personal value in meeting the sales objective?

Since sales is not part of their formal “job description,” these first lines of contact may not fully understand or implement this clear objective. These individuals must learn to consider every potential line of contact as a sales initiative, and be trained to effectively do so. How often have we contacted companies, only to get the run around with regards to gaining basic information about a product, service, or placing an order? It can make a frustrated client wonder, “Do they want me to buy something or not!?” Develop a training system that will allow these individuals to provide at least basic sales procedures. We must also provide instant access to individuals who can meet the needs of more complex customer demands.

This process should not include leaving messages on a voice messaging system. The objective here is to focus on providing an exceedingly satisfactory customer experience. We want to create the “wow factor” by anticipating their needs, having the answers to their questions, and having all members of our staff on the same page in meeting this goal.

It’s easy for organizations to take these fundamentals for granted. Management often assumes that its staff instinctively understands the need to communicate a positive and supportive sales message with each client interaction. I would encourage you not to assume this. Now is the time to (re)establish a company-wide initiative with regards to this clear objective.


Based on the assumption we can’t assume anything, wouldn’t this be an excellent time to develop a document and single agenda relating to this objective? This then becomes the standard by which all members of your staff will be judged. As managers we must first establish the standards, and then be prepared to provide the training to fulfill this objective. Finally, we must also – and very consistently – send a strong message in support of this program. Awards should be established for superior performance, perhaps on a monthly basis. Those who are in a position to benefit, including the sales team, should also recognize individuals who have provided excellent sales support.


One would like to assume that in each and every sales environment, our sales people would understand the value and importance of creating a positive customer experience. While this would be true in many instances with our best sales people, it’s not the case in many instances. Creating these standards of customer experience might seem obvious to management, yet fulfillment is totally dependent on the message takers: your sales people.

An addendum to your mission statement should be targeted directly at the point of sale. This document should not only suggest your mission and its merit, it should also suggest the minimum standards of performance related to your expectations in this area. These standards should clearly state defined timelines relating to customer follow up, problem solving, assistance to one another in the sales arena, and the principles relating as to how to exceed your clients’ expectations.

We are no stronger as a company than the message embraced by each and every member of our staff. Clearly these ideals will feed off one another once a consistent and inspired message is delivered each and every day by your management team. You need to become the exception rather than the rule if you are going to improve your “customers’ experience” with the objective to truly dazzle the marketplace. In fact, this could easily become the title of your mission statement.


Personal Regards,


INTERPERSONAL© is published by INTERPERSONALBIZ.COM, Keenan Longcor, Editor, ©2011. Duplication of this publication is permitted for both personal and business use. Excerpts may only be quoted with acknowledgment of INTERPERSONAL/INTERPERSONALBIZ.ORG as the source. For re-publication rights, please contact the editor at KEENAN@INTERPERSONALBIZ.