Between Us Pros: The High Price of Sales at Any Cost

One rogue sales staffer — particularly if they are left unchecked — can be a cancer internally among employees and externally to clientele.

Between Us Pros: The High Price of Sales at Any Cost

Adobe Stock image by Feodora

With society’s emphasis on social media, peer-to-peer communications and political correctness, the perception and reputation of your company and you can make or break the business more than ever before.

Nowhere is this truer than in security, an industry predicated on trustworthiness, reliability and vigilance in practices, policies and protocols that safeguard customers’ lives, limbs and livelihoods.

Especially within smaller, independent security companies, a single rogue individual — particularly, if they are left unchecked — can be a cancer internally among staff and, depending on the role, externally to clientele. This is especially true when the individual is part of the sales team.

This can translate into disgruntled, disengaged or lost employees. Worse, it can result in improperly secured, dissatisfied or departed customers. Both scenarios can undermine a provider’s credibility and open the door to potential liability and lawsuits.

An Insidious Problem

The problem can be quite insidious, as it can reside within an associate seen by some as otherwise being successful in their position.

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is focusing mostly on newer or lower-level personnel to ensure they understand and execute proper conduct. Of course, that is absolutely essential; however, it should not be to the diminution or exclusion of monitoring a company’s veterans and managers to ensure they continue to uphold that organization’s ethics and stated values.

I have witnessed firsthand how higher-ups sometimes look the other way when managers or salespeople are producing favorable numbers.

Long before our present “woke” era (but not so long ago that we didn’t all know better), back when I entered this industry in 1998, we had a salesman whose inappropriate behavior toward women made several people on our staff uncomfortable, if not downright appalled. However, because he was exceeding sales goals, complaints to his supervisor were disregarded.

As a result, some excellent workers and quality people quit. What do you think they told others about that company? Eventually, amid mounting customer accusations and declining revenue generation, that salesman was fired. But the damage was done.

A few years later, I found myself reporting to an aggressive, abrasive, offensive and sexist male department head and sales manager whose conduct was so aberrant that he seemed like a character from “The Office,” except there was nothing funny about it.

He verbally abused and psychologically tortured people throughout the organization, with at least one woman quitting and pursuing legal action. (The company settled.) But business was up! Thus, complaints to HR only led to slaps on the wrist, a thicker personnel file and the company president saying things like, “I love his passion” and “He plays to win.”

End the Madness!

In a concentrated effort to end the madness and send this bull in a china shop out to pasture, I formally presented the president with a detailed list of 20 to 30 incidents and reasons why my manager needed to be fired.

I very much appreciate the chain of command, so it took a lot to cause me to take this matter to the top. Something had to be done, as many of those transgressions would make your toes curl. The president and I met in his huge, corner office, and he carefully reviewed the damning case of misdeeds. Then, he told me, “I look for people to bring me solutions, not problems.” Wow.

This was particularly shocking given my tenure, stature and proximity to the carnage. Despite loving my job, I began looking around for other opportunities. Mercifully, the loose cannon was finally snuffed out before my departure. It took him unleashing an outburst at the president during a boardroom meeting for that overdue action finally to be taken. Again, the damage was done.

Fortunately, I never again experienced anything approaching that dysfunction in the workplace, and I even stayed on years later after that business was sold.

Don’t Be Swayed or Seduced by Sales

No doubt, it can be challenging not to be swayed or seduced by things like increased productivity or revenues. And don’t underestimate the degree to which an aversion to conflict can compromise sound judgment. That’s why it’s critical to ensure a company’s decision-makers are of high character and good moral fiber — and that that ethos effectively flows through the entire operation.

Well-maintained checks and balances are imperative throughout all levels of the business, its activities and its processes.

Nip any emerging issue in the bud so it does not fester. If you have a company whose moral compass points to righteousness, rewards will follow in abundance.

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About the Author

Contact:

Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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