Have you ever considered firing your star salesperson??
I thought not.
Yet that’s just what the CEO of Anthropologie did. It’s one of the great stories in “Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win” by William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre.
We’ve talked about hiring sales reps that live & breathe your brand. They connect with your market every day. And when they don’t personally convey your brand personality, they negate your entire brand strategy and competitive positioning strategy.
Great companies are original and different, say the authors. They have a strong purpose and cause that they live and breathe every day.
CEO Glen Senk has helped grow Anthropologie (a women’s apparel and accessories retailer) from one location and $2 MM in annual revenue in 1994 to 77 stores and $500 MM in 2005. He’s achieved this success in part by focusing on their passion and sticking to their cause.
Here’s how Senk describes their brand:
“Our customers are our friends, and what we do is never, ever, ever about selling to them. It’s about helping people put together a wardrobe or create an eclectic home. It’s about helping someone look great and feel good about themselves. It’s never about the quick sale.”
Back to the star salesperson. She consistently sold $6,000-$7,000 of merchandise daily. Her store had an incredible day whenever she was on the floor.
But Senk watched her in action and made a discovery: she didn’t really care what she was selling. She just wanted to make the sale.
“She let people walk out of the dressing room with things that simply didn’t look good,” Senk explained.
He fired her immediately. She wasn’t treating customers as her friends.
Anthropologie has a clear brand personality and believes their employees must radiate that brand. No exceptions. And it’s hard to argue with their success.
In many B2B companies, people are the brand and the ONLY differentiator. Sales reps, account managers, customer service and support teams all shape the customer experience. And that makes it even MORE important to hire team members that live & breathe your brand promise!
Have you experienced this in your business? Any recommendations or thoughts for our readers? Please share your thoughts in the comments lbelow.
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