My post last week on Trust being the bottom line currency of business brought a flurry of comments and even more questions.
We don’t normally see the world through this prism so it can be challenging to look around your organization and wonder whom you trust and who trusts you. Wherever you hear conflict, you’ve got some element of mistrust.
And when mistrust starts, productivity and performance slow down. Information is hoarded. Meetings are all about interpersonal power plays rather than understanding the real problem. Sales people feel alone out there in the field.
Mistrust gobbles up a lot of time that you are paying for, as a business owner.
The big question on everyone’s mind is “So what does a company that has trust look like?” What can we learn from a company that respects the two-way relationship that must be present for trust to flourish?
Let me tell you about the Tom James Company. They make custom clothing for busy people. Beautiful bespoke suits, casual clothes and even denim. Their business model is unique to say the least. (Unless you tell me about other organizations that treat their people this way! Leave your comments below).
Tom James suits are not sold in retail environments where service is haphazard and the chance to lose the sale is high. Their suits are not designed and made overseas making quality control difficult to maintain and the customer experience promise hard to deliver.
Their products are sold in the offices of the people that need the service.
Trust tip #1 – Remove the hassles of buying from you…be where your clients are, not where you want them to be.
Their products are made to order. Measured to make the wearer look fabulous no matter what size, shape or age.
Trust tip #2 – Solve the right problem as your desired customer sees it. Tom James customers like the assistance of selecting the cloth, cut, color and style that will suit them best. To deliver on that promise, the sales people have to communicate all aspects of those needs from the customer through to the factory and back again. Every person in that chain of relationships has to trust each other. Otherwise Tom James loses.
They train and support their sales people in jaw-dropping, loyalty building acts that defy conventional business wisdom.
Their sales people have to have the confidence and the skills to find referrals, go into offices and build instant trustable rapport so that a customer feels fulfilled enough to say ‘yes to the dress’.
To do that, new employees go through an incredible journey that weeds out the faint of heart and tempers the best of the best. New recruits spend three months knocking on doors from morning till night selling children’s educational material.
They learn how to get over rejection by hook or by crook.
You know about door-to-door sales people. Your impatience and irritation at being interrupted at home by a doorknocker when you least expect it is their training regimen. They learn that your reaction is not about them. It is about you. And they learn to move past your irritation.
But these sales recruits are not out there alone facing doors being slammed in their faces, they are being supported by a network of trainers. One young salesperson being trained for her hoped for career with Tom James had the team from her local Tom James office come door knock with her. They had all done it. So they took the day off from their commission-only jobs to support her in the field. More than once.
Trust tip #3 – If you want people to represent all that your brand stands for, set them up for success. Mentor them in the structure you provide, in the training that sets them up for success, out in the field so they know they are not alone. Be the strength you want your people to aspire to by being on their side, hand in hand.
But their crowning achievement, the real ‘bring it home with bells on’, ‘over the top’ support that they give their people so that everyone feels like they are part of a winning team where they walk their “all for one and one for all” talk is their commission structure.
Now I’m not revealing trade secrets here. It’s not the numbers that count. It’s the structure that sets their new recruits up for a home run.
After boot camp in door-knocking, they spend 3-4 months shadowing the established sales people: And every sales person gives the new recruit all, not some, all their referral business.
How come? It’s the right thing to do in their culture. It’s the right thing to do for all concerned, not just the new recruit. To the rest of us, it seems like the wrong thing to do for the established sales people. But in actual fact, each sales person makes money from the new recruit’s sales.
Trust tip #4 – Want your sales people to do whatever it takes to win new business? Then start with the right training and support. Then build the right commission structure.
Tom James’ commission structure is a win for all. It helps the company because they need that new recruit to hit the ground running, able to deliver sales growth. Referrals give that leverage to the new recruit.
Trust tip #5 – Want your people to stay so you are don’t spend a fortune on training that never pays off. You need loyalty. You need love and trust to get that loyalty. You need your company to walk its values. We humans stick around when we are emotionally engaged, cared for and respected. It’s a two-way street.
Tom James sales training system helps the new recruit feel like this career, this company, this sales environment is on their side. They are now part of this supportive team that has their back.
And the established sales people feel inordinately proud of that new recruit that they nurtured from the person that took rejection personally through to the recruit that knows how to turn a frumpy irritable chunky business guy into a suave, streamlined, happy professional.
In short, this entire structure builds everyone’s bank account.
What’s not to like? Everyone wins.
Here’s the question you now need to ponder. Do you have the kind of training, mentoring, supportive system and commission structure that really delivers trust? Have you built your company in a way that creates a win for all and your customers?
If not, it may be time for some remodeling.
If you want to grow.
If you want to be able to sell your company one day.
If you want to be more profitable.
It’s the right thing to do… especially for your sense of pride in all that you have done to make your company what it is today.
You’ve done well. Now get ready for the next level.