Javed Laher, MBA. Sales Director of Mediaocean EMEA and founder of Chef33, Home Food App. Based in London #Harvard #Brunel #London
The fundamental component of sales in any industry is the transfer of money in exchange for a good or service. While this may sound simple, it is a transaction between two or more distinct parties, whether they be a consumer and business, business and business or otherwise.
Whatever the deal at hand, the foundation upon which an exchange is based is actually trust between two parties. Trust that the service or product being sold will be of a fit and suitable nature for its intended use. Trust that the person selling the product has been truthful in their description of said product or service. This is where brand recognition, feedback and word of mouth pertaining to the product—and the company—can play a huge part in revealing values held by both the seller and the consumer.
While we may represent our places of work during the hours in which we wear our company badge or send emails from company-branded mailboxes, we remain humans who have our own views, live our own lives—and leave a digital footprint. Unless an individual has been living in a forest for the last five or so years, unplugged from digital media, many of us generally have a footprint of our thoughts and whatever we’ve chosen to share about ourselves online, as well as the things others have shared about us.
We are in a time of high connectivity and increased discoverability. A time when a simple Google search might bring about embarrassing pics from school years as easily as articles in which we are mentioned. What does this mean? It means being authentic and true to your beliefs has never been more important.
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That customer who is buying from you, whether articulated or not, brings an expectation that may come in the form of simple psychological safety: The assurance that they are dealing with someone who is of a sound nature. Respect plays a huge part in this, as we all share a basic human desire to be both respectful and respected.
As companies increasingly share their statements on various important topics such as diversity, equity, inclusion and equality, there are two readers. One is the public, those disconnected from the day-to-day of the business. The other is the internal staff, who are able to observe and determine for themselves whether you actually live by your words of authenticity.
If an employer were to claim support of equality using promotional pictures illustrating a wide array of people in their brochures, yet this principle was not reflected by representatives of the company on their personal social media accounts, this could have a huge impact on the reputation of not only the individuals but also the company. Consistency between theory and practice and an ability to closely align your values with the members of your workforce can have a major impact on your company’s degree of consumer trust as well as success.
There has been much discussion about how much better companies with a more diverse employee profile actually perform. However, while benefits to performance may be a measurable factor and additional motivation for a company, shouldn’t there be more focus on “doing the right thing?”
As we enter a time of the fourth Industrial Revolution, in which AI and machine learning are projected to perform more tasks for humans, it will be more crucial than ever for companies to remain as focused on the authenticity of their human workforce as the resilience of any technology they choose to adopt. This is the only way to ensure both a human-centric and respectful approach in all we do.