Show me a man who complains, "I'm so busy I don't have a moment for myself," and I'll show you a man who meets a major criteria for an outstanding career in sales. I wouldn't leap to that conclusion if the quote was, "I'm so busy I don't have a moment to spare." The distinction between the two statements is more than semantics. We all know people whose every waking moment is consumed with self-centered interests. They are as busy as anyone. These people, if they are engaged in sales, have only two potential futures; the first is riches resulting from one or a few huge sales where they just plain outfoxed the buyers. The second, best case, is an average career.
Consistently remarkable and truly uncommon sellers spend all of their business time consumed with helping everyone with whom they connect be richer for the experience. They spend their brain power, time and energy in service to others. They don't sell. They serve and are consequently bought. The irrefutable truth is that service to others is the surest route to personal reward (however you prefer to measure reward--from good feelings to economic riches).
I love meeting with, training, sharing experiences and lessons learned with other executives, from sales folk to top managers. Our company has major investments in, and oversight of, a number of portfolio companies. I almost never visit one of these companies without scheduling some time with their sales organizations facilitating conversations about sales philosophies and sales strategies. There has likely never been one of these sessions when I didn't introduce one of my core values; service versus selling; helping prospects or customers figure out how to more profoundly and more quickly grow their businesses. I spend none to very little time talking about how to get to "yes." I know, I mean I know, that "yes" takes care of itself if the seller really understands his role. Often I will ask the group that I am spending time with what they believe my motivation is when I visit with them and join in these "teaching" meetings. Inevitably someone will reply, "To help us become better sellers, so that our company becomes more profitable which is good for you and your partners, right?" As rain!
And here's the best part. I promise it never crosses my mind that I am visiting with them so they can make me and our investors more money. I truly do meet with them to see if I can help. The economic value proposition just seems to take care of itself as an incidental yet automatic by-product of the fact of helping.
Have I helped you?
I'm going to have a beer at the local tavern tonight and tell me all about my day :)
Bob Sherman has 40 years experience managing relationships between media companies and advertisers in old and new media from radio, cable and TV to the Internet, and from sales executive to chief executive and from the biggest media corporations to his own entrepreneurial companies. He is currently in partnership with Pilot Group, LLC. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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