The Sales Prevention Team

I was talking with a colleague regarding past experiences with clients and he came up with a beautiful explanation for sales with some companies he had worked with in the past.  The “sales prevention” team was the label given.  Both a humorous and sad label.

Organizations are desperate for revenue in these economic times and push methods reign to “get the revenue.”  Some times organizations use manipulative methods to up-sell or convince the customer of an “unrealized” need.  Most of this stuff is BS and actually can work against you in raising costs.  Returns are a good way to identify some of these costs to hit revenue numbers.  When customers buy things that don’t fit their needs they return it and there is cost associated with returns including distrust from the customer that can’t be measured.

Sales departments that can’t help customers solve problems can actually prevent sales.  When non-sales calls are taken in a sales area they often get passed to customer service.  Most service organizations see this as a good design as they have sales “specialists.”  The customer, however, sees it as another barrier to overcome.  not helping a customer at point of contact creates great dissatisfaction . . . it prevents sales.

Some sales folks are more interested telling you about their knowledge than helping you solve the service problem they have whether it relates to purpose (value demand) or a problem the service organization created (failure demand).  I roll my eyes when I great detail about the features and benefits that don’t matter to me from a sales person that is working hard to convince me.  Most customers want to call to buy, but the failure demand and the salesperson get in the way . . .  more sales prevention.

Making sales is a process of discovery.  How do I enable the customer to get what they need and not more than that?  Or helping them discover new ways to get jobs they need done more effectively and efficiently.  This is sales enabling.

Tripp Babbitt is a speaker, blogger and consultant to service industry (private and public).  His organization helps executives find a better way to make the work work.  Read his articles at Quality Digest and his column for  Learn more about the The 95 Method for service organizations.  Reach him on Twitter at LinkedIn at

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