The Sales Prevention Department

Many companies have one or more sales prevention departments. Some people consider the credit department a sales prevention department when they won’t issue acceptable credit terms to a prospective customer. My friend, Abe Walking Bear Sanchez has some thought-provoking ideas on that subject should you be interested.

However, today’s post shares two personal examples of sales prevention at work in places you would least expect it. The first involves my wife, Carol, and Macy’s.

While not a big shopper (by certain standards), my wife is loyal to Macy’s and Ann Taylor Loft and carries their store brand credit cards. Apparently her Macy’s card expired last August but nobody noticed it and she was able to continue to use the card regularly until last week when a clerk noticed it had expired. (Why they had not issued her a new card is unknown.)

Today she called Macy’s credit department to get a new card issued. They apologized for the error in not sending her a new card and promised one would be in her hands in 10-15 days. She suggested that would prevent her from doing her Christmas shopping at Macy’s since she would not have her card in time. The agent politely told her he was “sorry about that.” So will Macy’s, but some other store(s) will be happy that Macy’s doesn’t care.

We offer public workshops several times per year on process improvement and marketing planning for small teams from several companies. These workshops are always held in a hotel, usually either a Hilton or a Marriott as I prefer these two brands. Earlier this week we held a workshop on marketing plans in the Dallas, TX area. The workshop was held at a Courtyard by Marriott property only because the Hilton Garden Inn was sold out. Why not at the Courtyard by choice you might ask?

The sales prevention department made it so difficult to buy from them that had the Hilton not been sold out, we would have booked at the Hilton before we ever got a proper response from the Marriott. You see Marriott forces you to work through a regional sales office before you can talk to the local property. This is true everywhere for Marriott, which is frustrating because the regional office cannot answer the questions we need to ask before we can decide. And in the case of Dallas it took them so long to respond that, had the Hilton not been sold out, we would have been booked at the Hilton before they even responded.

Is your sales process set up to facilitate the customer’s buying process or to be efficient for you?


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