Passing The Baton

Passing The Baton

If you’re in sales, you know the all-important role of the “hand-off”: that point in the process at which the sale you’ve successfully made gets passed on to the other folks in the organization, for completion of the transaction.

You know–that point at which you lose control.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this old tale of woe…. “I closed the sale, the client was happy, everything was great, but then (DEPARTMENT X) screwed it up.”

Well, we all know it’s impossible for you to do Department X’s job. If it wasn’t, the company would fire them, and have you do it…along with your current duties.  Which, trust me, you most likely don’t want. So invariably, there comes a time when a hand-off has to occur.

But even though you’re no longer actively involved in fulfilling your client’s hopes, dreams and desires, it doesn’t mean you have to be locked out. Here are a few things you can still do, to ensure that the transition goes as it should, with a smooth passing of the baton…..

Know the process.  In order to succeed, it’s obviously a necessity for you to know your own workflow inside and out.  But it’s also critical that you know what happens once you sign off.

If you haven’t already, take steps to learn what takes place once the sales function is finished. Know which departments will be playing a key role in all aspects of completing your client’s transaction.

You don’t have to become an expert, but you do need to know the terrain…which in turn will school you in where the potential potholes and pitfalls are.

Make sure they know YOUR process. A basic understanding by all staff of how the sales process works always helps things go smoothly—but all too frequently doesn’t exist. Don’t assume that everyone else knows how you operate.

Taking a few moments along the way to explain a particular step, or including a quick explanation in an email, can go a long way toward building this awareness—and creating a sales-focused organization. Because, as we all know—sales is EVERYBODY’S job.

Don’t be a stranger.  You may no longer be your client’s main connection to the company, but that doesn’t mean you should disappear.

Calendar a few follow-ups with the client once you’re “out of the picture.” This not only can help identify problems that may be occurring, but helps to build a customer relationship conducive to more business down the road.

Remember the big picture.  You’re all in the same boat—you need to be rowing in the same direction, toward the same horizon. The roles all departments play, starting with sales and continuing through completion, all are critical pieces of the puzzle.  It’s teamwork, plain and simple.

A successfully completed transaction builds growth, productivity and profitability.  But success in fulfillment of the client’s expectations and needs does all that and more—it lays the groundwork for future business.

After all, what one thing did this year’s winning Olympic relay teams have in common?

Nobody ever dropped the baton!  

Grow Big or Go Home!