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The power of the sales bell

By Brian Moloney

March 31, 2009

Many, many years ago, someone gave me a gift of a ship's bell. It is brass and designed to be mounted on a wall (or bulkhead). There is a nice braided line attached to the clapper. When struck, it has a pleasing resonance.

In a time long since past, it would have been proudly struck to mark the passage of a duty watch aboard a ship. Instead, I co-opted it for use in the workplace - to identify the moment of a closed sale.

It seems silly to the outside observer and is often joked about internally, but nothing comes close to the power of the sales bell.

In past jobs the sound of the bell would literally draw people out of their offices and cubicles into my office. The bell was loud enough to draw the CEO from down the hall. Everyone smiling and wondering.

"What was that for?"
"How much?"
"What client?"
"Who made the sale?"

"It's a new client that Charlie just brought in."

"Way to go, Charlie."

It is a simple thing but allows for immediate, impromptu recognition and fills the office with positive energy.

But there are rules.

A strike of the bell is strongly regulated. So much so, that in our current office there is a post-it note stuck next to it with instructions. Woe to the person who tolls in error.

Rule One: The bell can not be struck unless a properly executed and signed contract is in hand. Fax will do. Verbal or email commitment does not count.

Rule Two: The bell must only be struck by the person who made the sale - not the boss, not the assistant.

Rule Three: No do-overs. Strike well the first time.

Rule Four: The bell waits for no one. If the fax arrives at 6pm and the office is empty, there is no waiting until the morning (this rule is often abused).

Rule Five: How many strikes?

Our office has an open floor plan so everyone hears it. At times, upon hearing the bell, management has stepped out of meetings in the conference room to find out for whom the bell tolls.

Everyone loves a bell ring.

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Categories: Business Marketing Sales