Posts Tagged ‘sales career’

In sales, we’ve always been taught to “mirror” our customers, but what do you do when your customer is rude?

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When my daughter MacKenzie says her prayers at night, I let her free flow-whoever and whatever she wants to pray for, I let her roll. One night as she was praying, she prayed for a name that I’d never heard before-his name was “Mr. Vic.” When I asked her who “Mr. Vic” was, she told me that he was the janitor at her school. “I’m praying for him, because he’s always nice to me,” she said. The other day Mack forgot her lunch, so I told her I would drop it off on my way to work. With only a few minutes to spare, I rushed into her school and placed her Lunchable on the table next to the lunchroom entrance alongside of a half dozen other kids who forgot their lunch too.  As I whirled around a man mopping the school’s floors, stopped swaying the mop from side to side and with a big, toothy grin, asked me how was I doing?  In a rush, I smiled back and told him I was doing fine and in turn, asked him how he was doing, but I didn’t have time nor the inclination to wait for his answer. As I waved goodbye to the ladies in the school’s front office it hit me, the man I had just spoken to in the hallway was Mr. Vic.

Turning around I walked back down the hallway and asked him, “Are you Mr. Vic?” he smiled and said that he was and as I shook his hand I said,  “Thank you for what you do, Mr. Vic.”  Stopping his mop, he pridefully looked around and said, “Oh, I’m just trying to keep it looking good around here.” “No,” I said, “Thank you for what you do while you’re here.”  I went on to tell him how my daughter prayed for him and that I appreciated how nice he was to her. “Sir, I’ve been here a long time, but I’m not here for the money-I’ve been offered opportunities to work at other places for way more money, but I don’t feel like that’s the position I’m supposed to be in. Maybe one day, but right now, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. My position is right here with these kids.”
Life is a blur and then we die. It becomes a blur because, we’re so focused on titles that we give no thought at all to our position in life. We’re so fixated on how the words printed below our name on our business card read; so hellbent on trying to schmooze with certain people, so adamant about rubbing elbows with a certain others, and are so seemingly obsessed with who we can step on, beat out, or crossover in our quest for a title, that we’ve lost sight of the most impactful part of our lives..our position.
If not today, one day you could find yourself wearing a title that you don’t care for-maybe you’re working for someone that you feel is inferior to your skills and expertise; perhaps you’re being asked to shoulder more responsibility with no more pay; or it’s conceivable that you find yourself standing in the ashes of a once promising career-for years you climbed the ladder of success-literally sacrificing everything, only to find yourself today back on the bottom rung having to start all over again.
Ground zero is where most people stall in life and ask, “Why?” Why was I passed over for this promotion? Why am I the one singled out to do more work while others stand around and get the credit? Why did injustice prevail and ruin my life? People who ask why park in life and become bitter; people who ask while move forward in life and become better.
The better question is to ask, “What do I do while I’m in this position?”
  • If you work for someone who you feel is inferior to your level of expertise and knowledge, your job is to make them look better. You have to understand this one position is not the end game in life unless you allow it to be. Use your vantage point to not only shore up their areas of weaknesses but also to gain a bird’s eye education into the pressures and decisions that they must make on a daily basis. If they’re poor at building relationships, you help build it for them; if they’re unorganized, you keep them on task; if they’re short sighted, you help them set the long-term vision. Stop competing for their title and begin completing their position. Not only will you earn her trust, but also you’ll build the morale of the  entire store. Remember, you’re teaching those who work under you how they should think and act. If you want it done to you, do it to others; if you want it done for you, do it for others.
  • If you keep getting volunteered for more work, shut up and do it. It’s been said that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. Don’t think like those who want to get the most for doing the least. Learning and teaching a new skill keeps you out of your comfort zone, raises your level of expertise, and makes you more valuable. Don’t wait for something catastrophic to occur to decide that you need to raise your game. Stay ready, don’t get ready.
  • If you find yourself back on the bottom rung in life…you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. I worked hard and lived fast until in 2008 I lost it all. I was financially, mentally, and spiritually bankrupt and had to start all over again. With my ego stripped, my position removed, and my hope lost I was scorched earth. But out of the ashes come new growth. It was at that time that I had to take responsibility for my life, put my feet back in the stirrups, and ride life’s horse again. I learned how to appreciate the good times and the bad; I realized that I could never be satisfied with what I already knew, and I had to lean on God to remind me that I still had more to give and much more to do. What you’re reading is my position..it is my testimony to let you know that you are not alone.
When you leave a room or leave this world what will be said about you? Obituaries are for titles-all the awards you amassed, all of the boards you sat on; all of the ribbon cutting ceremonies you attended will be printed on that piece of paper. But eulogies are for position. What will your eulogy be? What impact did you make for those you were around? Use your position to friend the porter who eats alone at lunch; use your position to encourage the accounting clerk who can barely pay rent and day care; use your position to develop the salesperson whose last resort is the car business.
Why’s not the question. While is. Use your position to go make an impact. They’re waiting on you…
Thank you, Mr. Vic.

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As of late, the New England Patriots have been under fire for allegedly playing with under-inflated footballs. Playing with under-inflated footballs allows the quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs a better grip. When under-inflated, quarterbacks have more control when throwing and running backs and receivers are able to catch and carry the ball better. (Especially in inclement weather.)

Having an under-inflated ball definitely has its advantages. 

 
For those in the sales profession, I suggest that you always keep your balls under-inflated. From your triumphant highs to your darkest lows; from your string of runs of those who say yes to those who rollback, bought elsewhere, or the deals you have to split. 

You have to keep things in perspective because you’re never as good as you think you are nor as bad as they say. You will have good days and bad, but no matter how high you are sailing or how often you keep failing, keep your moments under-inflated and maintain your grip on life.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

 Have you ever noticed that all head football coaches seem to say the same thing at a press conference? When boiled down, they invariably say something like “They’re a good team; we have our work cutout for us; we’ll be ready to play.”  That’s it! It makes you wonder why there are press conferences anyway-they give no insight into the challenges, weaknesses, fears, injuries, nor conflicts they may be internally facing. The only sound bite we get is ”They’re a good team; we have our work cutout for us; and we’ll be ready to play.” They do this simply because they don’t want to reveal any distinct area that could give their opponent the advantage to win. 

As a sales professional, you need to hold your own press conference every morning. You are the head coach, captain, and member of a team of 1. When you hit the ground this morning,  give yourself a sound bite that there will be opportunities mixed with challenges; effort in the face of complacency; and execution due to preparation. Stop holding press conferences for yourself and others- offering insights of your frustrations, insecurities, aggravations, and injustices-for one: your audience (i.e. other salespeople) are glad it’s you and not them and two: negative speech = negative action = negative results. Stop griping and start grinding. 
  • “They’re a good team.” Respect the fact that there will be opportunities today that will be laced with rejection, negativity, defeats, and setbacks. Don’t avoid making a mistake today-you can’t win a game in a clean uniform, instead go out there and get dirty by failing early and often-that’s where the greatest growth and opportunities are found. Ironically, at the first stain of rejection, most of your fellow salespeople will turn back and sit on the bench of mediocrity. Opportunities are only revealed to those who are willing to keep showing up. 
  • “We have our work cutout for us today.” Your opponent isn’t your customer-it’s you. It’s who you were yesterday; your choices; what you allow; what you did and didn’t do-you took a 2 hour lunch, hid in a van and watched movies, and hung out in service all day when you could’ve caught up on product knowledge, perfected your walk-arounds, and followed up with sold and unsold customers. Say to yourself, “I have met the enemy and the enemy is me-the me who says it’s good enough, maybe tomorrow, I’m going to.” 
  • “We’ll be ready to play.” Stay ready-don’t get ready. Stop reacting to your day, be your own “whether” man. Most salespeople react to the traffic (or lack thereof), weather, or the attitudes of others. Find an alternative route to your day-while they’re standing around waiting for something to happen, you go out there and make it happen. Talk to service customers who are waiting to get their oil changed; introduce yourself to the guy standing in line at the gas station, call EVERY-nice, rude, or indifferent customer you’ve worked with recently. Just like you used to throw the football up in the air and catch it in mid-stride, hurl common objections at yourself and practice smoothly overcoming them. Learn the art of persistence-most salespeople stop at the customer’s first No-practice finesse by pulling the layers of No’s back hearing the intent behind their objection so that you can offer other, more suitable alternatives. 
Sound bites are for others-insight is for you. Huddle up.
 

If you’ve ever sent a text message or an email from your smart-phone, chances are you’ve had a run in (or 10) with the power of Autosuggestion. In an effort to save you time in today’s hectic pace, computer programmers have programmed your phone to anticipate what you are about to say. Unfortunately, the programmed suggestion brought you the wrong result, because what you sent was not what you meant to say- now you’ve got to stop everything and send another email or text clarifying what you meant to say the first time. 
When you first got into sales, Autosuggestion was a benefit to you…today it’s a barricade. It was a benefit to you in the early days because you, the programmer, programmed your mind-which correlated into action, that you were going to be successful. And you were.  Every customer was worth your time-every day you had multiple appointments, you believed in your product, the dealership, and your management. You didn’t totally understand the product, process, or paradigms-you just anticipated that you would do well and you did.
Did that is… 
Today, you believe the management, customers, and products are the ones barricading your success. And you know what? You are 100% correct! They are the ones stopping you because YOU, the programmer, have programmed your mind to believe that they are barricades to your success. YOU have programmed your operating system (aka effort) to anticipate negative results. With each keystroke of negativity- the management is out of touch and unfair, customers are liars, upside down, and idiots, the Internet has taken the fun out of the selling cars, the service department can’t ever get it right, and the manufacturers are idiots because you can’t get  leather and 20” wheels on a 26C package, you are getting everything you have anticipated. 
The people, product, and processes aren’t your problem-the programming is. Change your program and you’ll change your production. 
I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop!
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“Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.” Friedrich Nietzsche German Philosopher
How many times have you set a goal only to let loose of the idea the minute adversity hits you? As Nietzche relates, the reason why you don’t accomplish your goal is because you’re inflexible in your path yet flexible on your goal. For instance, let’s say your goal is to break out of your 8 car shell and sell 15 cars this month- a few days later you  find yourself backing back into your 8 car garage again. Like putting your hand on a hot stove, the reason why you’re stuck in your career is because you’re inflexible to your comfort zone-the minute you feel the discomfort,  pain, and setbacks, you immediately drop the notion of doubling your sales output and fall back into the warmth of familiarity.  
If you want the taste of success, then you must become dyslexic in the way that you eat it- flip your inflexible/flexible mindset around. Be tenacious and lock into your goal, yet remain adaptively flexible to the adversity that comes against you. Like everyone, you’ll have setbacks, rollbacks, turndowns, rejections, and misfortunes this month-every month for that matter, but what separates extraordinary salespeople from ordinary ones is that EXTRAordinary salespeople don’t allow adversities to have any permanence in their career. Ordinary salespeople hold onto unforeseen, uncontrollable circumstances-thus letting go of their goals and sinking their month, while extraordinary salespeople handle the adversities by learning how to manage the setbacks (flexible) while still moving forward toward their goal (inflexible).
Don’t adapt the goal to the path; adapt the path to the goal. 
I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop!
  

Most people fill a position, punch a clock, and collect a paycheck. Salespeople face the fear, find the opportunity, and earn a commission. I’m glad I ain’t like most….