I have written previously that risks do not only come from the production side of your business but also from your sales force. The thing to bear in mind is that they are often working alone and away from the supervision, support and the sort of controls that reduce risks in other parts of the business.
Here are some tips on minimising the risks without reducing your sales.
- Have clear policies and procedures against mis-selling and make sure you provide training so your salespeople know them. Frequent updates and refreshers will be worthwhile.
- Have clear rules about levels of authority for negotiating discounts or other benefits, otherwise your sales people could be selling your products at a loss out of the desire to get a sale at all costs – to you!
- Check driving licences and insurance certificates of all people who use their own vehicles on your business or you could find yourself liable for accidents they may cause.
- Set realistic targets and programmes so you will not be held to be the cause of any accidents due to drivers being too tired or driving for over-long times.
- Issue appropriate Health & Safety advice to people working alone.
- Issue rules and guidelines for the use of IT and social media, whether the kit is provided by the business or not.
- Have procedures for handling complaints which involve independent review to ensure fairness to both customers and employees.
- Make sure members of the sales force do not handle money or invoices to guard against fraud and protect the innocent from false accusations.
- Try to get out there and see what is happening in reality, do not just rely on reports on paper or online. Meet customers and salespeople occasionally at the front line.
Remember that in all these things rules are no use unless taught and enforced.