Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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Your employees are your first customers

Employees First Customers

A main target of managers at any company is to increase the sales figures. That is why they set financial targets, push their sales team to achieve these targets, and push other teams to reduce production costs so that company can achieve high profits.

There is a critical point here. Achieving targets requires motivated employees that work hard towards the company goal. Actually, all managers dream of having motivated, dedicated, and loyal employees. However, not all of them succeed in achieving that. Why? Simply, because they fail to think of employees as customers!

Challenge is how to do that.

First, what is selling?

Generally, how can you sell something to someone?

“Sell me this pen!”

A remarkable sentence from the famous movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” for Leonardo DiCaprio … he was showing others that to sell the pen to a person, that person should have a need. If you convince him that your pen will fulfill his needs, then he will buy it.

Selling stocks (Leo was explaining) is similar. Everyone feel the need to be rich. Therefore, if you convince someone that these stocks will make him rich, he will buy them … you got the deal!

Selling to employees

Let me say the core message in one line:

Before selling to customers, managers should sell the company to their own employees.

Selling here means selling the idea of being an active member of that company. Similar to selling the pen, if a manager can convince employees that company will fulfill their own needs, then the manager will get motivated employees. and they will be employees for the idea, not the salary.

You may the seven common reasons for employee’s low performance.

Employee Types

There are two types of employees:

Employee for the salary (let us call him Type S): he mainly works for the salary. Therefore, he will just work during the working hours and finish his own tasks and no more. Once he finds another opportunity with a higher salary, he will join it right away.

Employee for the idea (let us call him Type I): That employee believes in the company. He will do his best to make the company succeed. He will do his tasks, volunteer to help others, work for extra hours when needed, promote the company to his friends, and he will tend to reject offers from other companies. That type is what managers prefer.

Fact is no one is 100% type S or Type I. Actually, we all stand in a large gray zone between the two types. However, some are close to type S while others are close to type I. In other words, every employee is a mix of both types but we vary in the percentages.


What is in it for me

Selling to employees is not an easy job. The employee will expect an answer for a six-words question: “What is in it for me?”

A common mistake for many managers is selling the wrong idea to the wrong employees… To be clear, achieving the financial targets is extremely important for the top management (chief executive officer, managing director, Sales Director …) because that is how they are evaluated and rewarded. However, it is not a priority for a young employee in a technical team!

A you employee will be looking for other items such as experience, building self-confidence, exposure, learning, flexible hours,work-life balance, nice working environment,…etc. And definitely, good income.

So, you cannot motivate an employee to fulfill the needs of top management. Instead, you motivate the employees to fulfill their own needs. Then, needs of top management will be achieved automatically as a natural result.

In other words, the quote says: “take good care of your employees and they’ll take good care of your customers”.

Selected Tactics

The needs varies from an employee to another. However, these common tactics will help you sell the company to your employees.

you may also read the seven concepts for a better working environment.

Sell your vision

If your company is facing some troubles, employees will like to know how it will be good in the near future. If your company is already doing well, they will like it get the good news.

Point is no one wants to be a member of a losing company. Employees are looking for stable and successful companies. Therefore, unless your company is not one of fortune 500, you should share a clear & real vision for the company future. Accordingly, you can sell them the company future.

Otherwise, if they do not see where the company is going, they will definitely lose the motivation to move forward. Some of them will even jump off the ship before hitting the iceberg.

Build the trust

The quickest way to lose motivation is to lose trust.

To keep the trust managers should:

  • Keep their promise: If you tell your employees about a coming salary increase, new policies, or better facilities, they expect that you achieve what you promised.
  • Be consistent: Your acts should be aligned with what you say. For example, if you declare that company is encouraging innovation but you shut down all R&D activities, then that is against consistency.


Consult them

One of the best ways to build motivation is to ask employees about their ideas for improving the company performance. For managers, this technique is:

  • Free of charge
  • Free of obligation… managers are not obligated to do anything more than listening & discussing.
  • A source of new ideas that some of them may be brilliant.

For employees, they feel that they are participants in the decision-making process.


Deliver the right message

When you assign a new task to an employee, what is the embedded unspoken message that you deliver to him/her?

You have two alternatives:

One: You have to finish this task on time so that company can succeed and win more money.

Two: We need your participation in this important task. And we depend on you so that we all can succeed together.

In both cases, the task is assigned to the employee. However, the second alternative will change the spirit with no extra cost.

Encourage innovation

Innovation means giving a space to employees to suggest & try new methods for doing the job. Positive side is that will lead to improving the performance. Negative side is that mistakes will occur.

Fact is people learn from mistakes. If managers don’t allow a margin for that, employees will not take initiatives.

You can refer to our previous article: Successful companies have no hot potatoes.


If they are already motivated

Actually, employees are naturally motivated at the beginning of their career. Managers can keep & increase that motivation with minor efforts.

Fair payment

Most likely, money is not the main motivator. That is why we are mentioning it at last. If all the other factors are negative, money will not be that effective.

If you notice, all the previous tactics requires either no or minimum financial investments. However, fair salary is mandatory. If applicable, a percentage of profits will motivate employees to achieve the company financial targets.

Be creative

What we mentioned here are only examples. Managers can use their creativity to find more tactics.


See let us summarize it. If you can provide your employees a company with stability, clear vision, trusted management, encouragement to think & try, challenging tasks, and Fair salary, then you are having the motivated team that will work hard until the company achieves its targets needed by top management….That is how it works.