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In the early days of my first business, I experienced an understanding about how business really worked. This story might date me a bit, but back then, the norm was still to send and receive payments via cheques. I remember sending off payments well before the due date, the 20th of each month. Come the 20th, I arrived at our mailbox, excited for all of the payments only to find it empty. Not a single cheque in sight—nothing, nada, zilch! 

Recently, a friend confided his reluctance to ever work with a well-known New Zealand company again due to their chronic late payments, lack of communication, and generally aggressive business tactics. Another friend in finance shared that she received bonuses for successfully delaying payments to creditors. These stories are common and reveal a hidden truth about business but more importantly they are bad for the business community and are bad for your brand. 

On the flip side, consider a supplier to our business who attaches personal notes to their invoices, transforming a routine transaction into a genuinely pleasant interaction. This isn't just good business, it's a masterclass in customer relations. It is the one invoice I enjoy being sent! 

It is unfair however to solely pick on the finance team as they are only a small but important cog in the business wheel. This includes everyone in the business whoever has any form of engagement with a customer. Courier and freight drivers play a big role, operations, IT, HR and of course Sales and Marketing, everyone! 

These experiences underline a crucial business insight: everyone in your organization is part of the sales team. Whether they know it or not, every interaction they have affects your brand's reputation and, consequently, your sales. This is why, in the past nine months alone, one of the most frequent requests to our training division has been for programmes titled “Sales for Non-Salespeople.” 

Does every department in your company enhance your brand's reputation? From finance to front desk, each team member plays a role in either building or eroding customer trust and loyalty. The finance team that understands the art of customer relations can turn routine transactions like invoice processing into opportunities for enhancing customer retention and satisfaction. 

Moreover, every employee should be empowered and trained to think like a salesperson. This doesn’t mean turning every interaction into a sales one; rather, it's about ensuring that all parts of the business understand how their roles impact customer perceptions and business outcomes. Whether it's the timeliness of a payment, the tone of an email, or the warmth of a greeting, these are all moments where your business is evaluated by current or potential customers. 

Integrating sales-oriented thinking across all business functions is not just about increasing transactions; it's about creating a culture that recognizes the value of every customer interaction. Richard Branson said it well when he said “if you look after your staff then they will look after your customers.” By doing so and arming the team with awareness and skills then businesses can create a pretty successful internal sales force that drives brand loyalty and success far beyond the traditional sales team. Pretty valuable at BBQ’s as well when a potential client asks the company accountant “so what does your business do?


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