Welcome back!
Stop Blaming the Pandemic
The pandemic has undoubtedly disrupted how businesses operate, and that certainly requires some grace from customers.
But plenty of the issues we face as customers today are not because of the pandemic. A few may be exacerbated by it, but most are due to poor decisions, leadership weakness, and short-sighted management. Here are some challenges I’ve seen leaders blame on the pandemic, many of which existed long before COVID.
  • Long (more than 20-30 minutes) sometimes absurdly long (over an hour) hold times
  • Customer support that doesn’t provide competent service because of poor training and lack of knowledge
  • Dropped calls with no call back
  • Inadequate systems that are too slow, or have frequent problems
  • Blind transfers to the wrong department requiring customers to explain their issue multiple times before reaching someone who might be able to help
  • Automated assistants that only respond to pre-programmed options (and don’t cover a full range of issues that customers call about)
  • Automated phone trees that are endless loops with little hope of reaching a person who is responsible for helping
  • The ability to process payments coming in quickly, but somehow slow in distributing reimbursements
Too many leaders are aware of customer’s dissatisfaction but don’t prioritize them. I’ve often heard “that’s just the way it is in our industry.” Or “that’s just to be expected with this kind of business.” It is until it isn’t. And when the market makes up its mind that it won’t tolerate your deficiencies because another better option exists, it happens fast. At that point, it’s too late to act.
Stop blaming the pandemic and take responsibility for what you can control. We can’t predict external factors, but leaders have great authority to create strong and responsive organizations.
I originally wrote this article in early December after being furious with a few businesses. But clearly I’m not the only one who is thinking this.
Successful Selling is About Leadership
The days of pitch and close as the primary sales skills are gone. So what does work? Leadership. I’ve observed over 1,500 sales calls and spoke with many customers following those interactions. The best sellers exhibit more leadership behavior than what would be labeled as traditional sales behavior.
To develop a great sales team, focus on leadership skills. It makes sense – a key characteristic of leadership is being able to motivate people to move or change something. Best-selling author Dan Pink said, “Selling is moving others to action.”
When I co-authored the Inspiring Leader, it was clear to me that the behaviors that leaders use to motivate their organizations are similar, if not the same, to those the best sellers use to bring value to clients and move them to action.
To improve your sellers performance, focus on developing their ability to build emotional connections, drive for results, communicate powerfully, foster innovation, and listen so that they can collaborate. This will make them inspiring leaders that can move others to action.
You can read more about this topic in two articles I wrote for Harvard Business Review, “Get Over Your Fear of Sales” and “Would Customers Pay For Your Sales Calls,” and another I was interviewed for, “How to Improve Your Sales Skills, Even if You’re Not a Salesperson.”
LinkedIn Live
Join me on Tuesday, January 11th at 10 am Eastern for another live session. Your sales team may be struggling to sell solutions and the leadership team might be at the root of the problem. We will identify the three main issues executives fail to address in building a high-performance sales organization. Hint – it has nothing to do with sales training, compensation, or recruiting…
Current Read
I’m not writing much about resolutions this year, but if you are considering your resolutions, thinking a little bit about the quality of your sleep may be among the most valuable things you can address. It’s as critical to your health as nutrition and exercise, but often not attended to. Here are 10 Reasons Why Good Sleep is Important.

Edinger Consulting