Increase Your Sales By Involving Customers, Not Blaming Them Like NTSA

When you (like NTSA) blame your customers for your inability to sell, you cross a line that is difficult to ‘uncross’. It’s not me, you say.It’s them.

It was the loudest death knell for National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) in particular and the Ministry of Transport in general- the claim that Kenyans, not NTSA, are to blame for the road carnage that continues to ravage us. Listen to Mr. Francis Meja, Director General of NTSA in one of his interviews: “This is a societal problem, not an NTSA one. If Kenyans are not self-disciplined this carnage will continue unabated.” This unfortunate admission followed staccato reprimands by fire-spitting Kenyans incensed by the continual loss of life on our roads; it culminated with NTSA officials running for their lives after angry crowds chased them from an accident scene in Kitui last month.

Blaming customers is a recipe for disaster

When you blame your customers for your inability to sell, you cross a line that is difficult to ‘uncross’. It’s not me, you say, it’s them. If they were self-disciplined, they would see this is what they need and buy. It doesn’t help matters that another seller (the late Hon. John Michuki), by enforcing the law, sold the same service so effectively that doctors noticed a striking reduction in accident victims at the casualty.

You see, if Kenyans were self-disciplined there would not only be zero accidents on the roads, there would also be zero misdemeanours of any kind-even cheating in national exams. In fact, we wouldn’t even need laws to govern us. We would be in a Utopia. Likewise, if customers bought with zero concerns or objections, then there would be no need for salespeople. On the other hand, if we involved society instead of blaming it, we would be more successful in curbing the mayhem. Remember how we chose to ‘resist’ matatus in favour of walking in support of ‘Michuki Rules’?

Shifting blame shows in performance

Here’s more. NTSA turned five in October last year. In that period, the number of deaths on our roads has remained relatively unchanged, averaging about ten a day and 3,500 annually. This death toll is among the highest globally according to WHO. Meeting targets continues to elude NTSA despite their branded vehicles criss-crossing our roads. Also, despite the tragi-comedy scenes of drunk drivers nabbed by Alco-blow wielding NTSA officials and talk of miscreants washing corpses. Even the all-seeing traffic cameras, and provocative stickers in matatus urging passengers to speak out against speeding drivers. Activity is a good thing; accomplishment, however, is much better-like the effect of introducing speed governors by Michuki had. Equally, for any seller, accomplishment is found in customer facing activities. Computer- and ‘air-facing’ (moving from point A to B) activities have their place, but they struggle with accomplishment.

Success breeds success

Finally, I learnt from a policeman how relieved they were by the drastic reduction in drunk-driving accidents they had to contend with following the introduction of Alco-blow. If so, perhaps NTSA should sell their successes better than they currently are. When customers like what, and how, you are selling your services, they find themselves selling for you. You become the ‘go-to’ person for them, and they defend your territory for you saying, “Don’t buy from (competitor). Wait for (insert preferred seller’s name); he comes in today and Tuesdays; he’ll sort you out.”

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