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Sales team keeping promises?

One of the questions that I ask sales teams when working with them for the first time is this: ‘Tell me what you sell’.

Now, there is any number of directions in which this conversation can go.

And there are any number of directions in which I want this conversation to go and help this conversation to go depending on the situation.

Usually, sales reps’ responses refer to the portfolio of products or services. Sometimes, they go a little deeper and regale me with the advantages and benefits which these same products and services confer on the customer. 

Not products and services

I expect this to some degree. In essence, the inside sales team is regurgitating the content of their sales training. Almost chapter and verse what they believe the prospect wants to hear.

But it’s not so much a question of what your sales team believe the prospect wants to hear, but rather whether the prospect believes what they hear from your sales team.

I would go so far as to say that in sales training, an excessive amount of attention is paid to the product itself and not enough paid to the promise that the product makes. 

Don’t break trust

What do I mean? I want your sales team to know your product inside out so they can answer questions and give me confidence in the product. That goes without saying. 

But I also want your confidence in the people behind the project and that starts with the people your customer speaks to first. Your sales team. That does not go without saying, because people aren’t saying it enough.

All the money and resources that your business invests in identifying a prospect and converting her to a customer are at critical risk if her interactions with your sales team are undermined by broken promises.

Will I trust them again? Nope :/

As I sit here, I am patiently waiting for a call from the sales team of a motor insurance company promised by a colleague in customer services three weeks ago. (You know where this is going)….

Despite repeated emails back and forth, I still have not gotten 1 inch further. Will I ever do business with them again? Nope. Will I ever recommend them to anyone else? Not a chance.

Is there anything wrong with the product i.e. the insurance product? Possibly not. I will never know because I don’t care anymore. That sales team can take me out of their CRM right now.

A brand is a mental shortcut

A brand is ultimately a mental shortcut stored in the mind of a customer. Think about that for a moment.

Unconsciously, a company name, logo, product service etc. is inextricably linked to the future promise of a feeling. “This product/service = this feeling”. 

When a business cannot keep a promise made, a customer cannot help but psychologically ‘discount’ every subsequent promise ‘across the board’ irrespective of who makes it.

Confirm or corrode belief

If you have promised me a discovery call at 15.00 and you call at 15.00, I cannot help but extrapolate that to the rest of the sales team and assume that this is how you do business. All of these interface ‘touch points’ either confirm or corrode this belief. 

It’s mind-boggling how just one or two missed calls or ’that went completely out of my mind’ excuses from sales people permanently sink your ship. 


Can you afford to let your telephone sales team corrode all your hard one trust in the marketplace? No. But it might be happening all the same.

As a sales coach, I want to hear your sales people not just execute their sales process but execute their sales promises.

The brand lives or dies by promises your sales people make on your behalf.

Sales people become the custodians of your business when they make promises on behalf of your brand, so your sales people have a responsibility to keep them.