Customer Service Training — the link between marketing and sales

Why your sales team MUST understand how customer service turns marketing into sales.

Picture this. It is time for a special sales promotion. You run an advertisement. Your website has great content. You may even design a brochure or direct mail piece. It’s working, prospects are responding and you are generating leads.

So far, so good.

HOWEVER…If your sales people don’t understand how customer service bridges the gap between marketing and sales, business will slip right through your fingers.

A case in point…

We recently found ourselves in the market for a new DVD player. The old one had emitted a dark-brown, expensive, burning smell the night before — so we set off in search of a replacement.

We scanned advertisements and catalogues, and finally we found one that suited our requirements (a $45 cheapie) at a large national chain. It was a part of their TV advertising, and we also spotted it in a full-page advert in the newspaper.

Great! This looked like the solution to our problem.

We tore the advert out of the paper, and trooped off to one of their stores in Capalaba — about a 12-minute drive. In anyone’s language, we were ‘hot’ prospects. We were keen. We had money. We wanted a DVD player!

Once in the store, we found someone who appeared to be a sales person — he was busy unpacking stock. We showed him the advert and asked where we find the $45 DVD.

What unfolded was a jaw-dropping example of what good customer service is NOT all about.


He looked at the ad. Strode manfully to a computer terminal. Keyed in the number, and said to our expectant faces, “Sorry, they’ve all sold out.”

There was a moment’s silence while we took in this news. Then he excused himself and went back to unpacking.


The ‘loss leader’ became a ‘lost sale’!

Now, I have to admit that I wasn’t present in the boardroom when the decision was made to run those advertisements.

But my GUESS?

The cheapie $45 DVD player offer was a ‘loss leader’. In other words, at that price, there wouldn’t be much return on the cost of advertising them. HOWEVER, they would bring people in to the stores, where the sales team may be able to convert them across to a better unit with a fatter profit margin.

But nobody told that customer service guy!

He was happy to just let us walk away — right past shelves of bigger, better, shinier DVD players, and out the front door.

The fish stinks from the head down

I’m sure we are all agreed this was a breathtaking example of stupidity. And that this guy didn’t even qualify for the lowly rank of ‘order taker’ — let alone ‘sales person’ or ‘customer service genius’.

But let me tell you, like all things in a business, poor customer service is ALWAYS the fault of management. Sometimes it is a result of hiring the wrong people. But mostly, it results from poor training. Whatever the cause, it comes from the top. In short: the fish stinks from the head down.

On the face of it, the bloke we saw looked reasonably bright. The chances are he would have done a lot better, had someone told him:

  1. About the money spent on that advert.
  2. How a loss leader works to bring traffic to the store.
  3. Why his role in converting the likes of us into happy, DVD-owning customers was so crucial.
  4. How to do it, by taking an interest and asking a few questions to find a better solution to our problem.

With some customer service training, he may have even talked to us about new a DVD rack, low loss (pardon the pun!) cables, or even a new TV or set-top box to solve the looming ‘changeover to digital’ dilemma!

But none of this happened. And opportunity was lost.

To find out about interesting, engaging, and relevant customer service training for your sales team, Contact Us. We'll look at your particular situation, and see what needs to be done to give you the competitive advantage you are looking for. 

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