You often hear sales and service described as two different things. In fact, most companies treat them as such. They have separate sales and service departments on their org charts, offer separate career paths and separate sales and service courses to their employees, even direct their customers to separate areas depending on where those customers are in the buying cycle.
This disconnect often causes confusion, conflicts and inefficiencies for both customers and employee alike.
By my way of thinking, sales and service are if not one and the same, flip sides of the same coin. The best simple definition of service I've ever heard was 'the process of identifying and meeting customer needs' which also sounds like a pretty darn good definition for sales, or at least for needs based selling, which is the only kind that makes any sense.
Wouldn't we all be better off if we were to reconnect the two? If companies were to adopt the notion that 'around here, everybody sells and everybody serves', I'm betting they would make a lot more sales and at the same time, improve both employee and customer satisfaction levels.
What employee wouldn't prefer to be identifying and meeting customer needs over just flogging product, or handling the problems that arise when someone else does? And what customer wouldn't prefer having all of their needs met in one place, without being sent from pillar to post?
Sales without service are fleeting... and service without sales is fruitless!
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