The 10 people at your funeral …. The Arsonist in your life…and The importance of Sales Gratitude
In Part 1, we covered the first two topics:
- Be Easy: Be easy to get hold of… easy to order from… make your accounting easy on your customer
- The Vital Few vs. the Minor Many: One of the most important decisions you make every single day as a salesperson is where to go and who to call on.
Today, we cover the remaining three ways to improve your selling skills.
3. The 10 people at your funeral: It’s often quoted on the internet (so it must be true) that on average, ten people attend a funeral. Of those ten only half will go to the graveside service and their decision will be determined by the weather. Get buried on a cold rainy day and it might just be you. Here’s my point. Quit worrying so much about what others think of you. Quit worrying about making mistakes. In sales, we fear too many unrealized outcomes. The fear of looking incompetent, the fear of being too salesy/pushy, the fear of making a mistake, or the dreaded fear of failure. Again, my point is that nobody cares. They are too focused on their own lives. So, jump in and do it already! Turn down the driveway and just have a conversation with that big scary prospect. Launch that test run of a new product or promotion to see how it will do. Take 20 or 30 minutes to shut the busy world out and work on your business or on your territory instead of in your business. If fears crop up, just remind yourself, “Why do I care? Why am I so worried about what they think? They probably aren’t coming to my funeral anyway.”
4. The Arsonist vs. the Firefighter: “Every person”, and I mean every person I work with tells me they are busy, too busy. Super busy! Crazy busy! Too busy to have time to eat, or even think, they tell me. I always ask them, “Doing what?”
“Fighting fires” is often their answer. I understand many industries, like agribusiness are seasonal. There truly are times when everything is a three-alarm fire drill: planting, harvest, etc. However, there are those people in our lives who operate at the three-alarm fire level all the time. I liken them to an arsonist. If there isn’t a fire emergency, they create one. It’s important that you first recognize their behavior. Often, they failed to do their job or procrastinated and now they want you to drop everything to fix the problem. Or, they just thrive on chaos. Or they just want to avoid any responsibility for a “problem”. So, they come to you. Why? Because you have proven to be a champion firefighter. You handle it. You make decisions. Why do you do it? You tell yourself that it’s necessary and someone has to do it. However, maybe it feeds your ego and makes you feel like you are needed. Be very careful as this can be highly addicting.
What do I do if an arsonist keeps setting fire to my daily schedule? Recognize it, and don’t own it. Let the Arsonist know that you will not be able to handle it. Turn it around on the arsonist and let them know that you trust them to handle it. As my sales manager often said to me, “If I have to make decisions like that for you, I’m going to find someone a lot cheaper than you to do the job.”
One last note on this topic: Please understand that you might be both the Arsonist and the Firefighter. That’s right. Often, we create our own fires and then feel heroic in our job of putting them out.
5. Sales Gratitude: We are an arrogant bunch, aren’t we? We are top-performing salespeople, breaking into new markets, finding prospects all on our own, and landing big accounts. We create results out of thin air. We cultivate customers where there were none.
Why can’t everyone in the office and in production just do their jobs and get MY customers their products? If this sounds like you or your thoughts, then it’s time for a little gratitude.
The Sales Gratitude challenge: Each day this week, I want you to find someone in your life. Since this is all about our work life, find someone in your company or your industry. Go see them. If you can’t meet them, do a virtual meeting or call them. Take 20 seconds and thank them or recognize something very specific that they do for the customer. Try to connect it to the customer if you can. Showing appreciation for what they do for you is ok but can come across as self-serving. Connecting their importance in the company to the customer gives them a clear vision of how important their role is and how much the customer needs them. Trust me, they don’t hear this enough and they don’t always know. Hearing it from a peer like yourself is highly regarded in their opinion. Especially a peer who talks directly with customers.
That’s 20 seconds five times this week. That’s fewer than two minutes. I know the conversations might take longer than that, but the feeling of gratitude shown by you will last forever to them. Again, they don’t hear this enough. Sometimes, never. Also, find someone not normally in the spotlight. Find someone who quietly just does their job. No need for an award or a certificate signed by the CEO. Just your kind words are enough to let them know they are valued. Don’t wait. Start right now! Trust me, you will miss them when they are gone.