Employers generally have a love-hate relationship with their sales people. These are the people that get out there and bring in the deals that enable the company to make a profit.
But, like all the rest of us, they come with their warts. Many of them are their own best customers. They sell to themselves first and buy everything they’re selling – they always convince themselves of what they’re saying, so much so that they can lose touch with what’s really happening in the real world.
That’s not a problem while customers are buying their sales pitch and your products, but when sales figures start declining, that’s when you really see how good your sales people are.
They will go into overdrive and try to sell you the most amazing and convincing reasons as to why targets haven’t been reached and why people aren’t buying. In fact, some of them are so good at this that you find yourself feeling sorry for them – exactly what they want. You try and offer them support and suggestions and leads … but nothing changes.
Why is it that they will use a major portion of their talent, energy and effort just to convince you that they are still “the business” and that it’s everybody else’s fault, not theirs? Why don’t they just use that talent and energy to target the right customers, prepare the right sales presentation and close the sale?
It’s about a mind set that some of them have. They spend most of their lives fighting against something instead of fighting for something. And they don’t realise that it’s far more difficult doing that than simply fighting for something – for the sale, the company or their targets.
They will much rather “fight against” the company and their sales manager by attempting to give convincing reasons for their failure to perform, than “fight for” the company by achieving their targets.
But before we go on the warpath down to the sales department to give them a piece of our mind, let’s consider our own contributions to the company.
Have you ever stopped to assess how you direct your energies during your working day? Are you spending more energy fighting against people, against changes, against new ideas and so on or are you fighting for them?
Sure, if you fight for people you might find yourself fighting against some things – like personal and corporate inertia, or apathy, or prejudice, or any number of similar things. But the motivation behind this is positive. You’re fighting against these things for a good reason.
Of course, there are some things we can’t fight against, like change. We can try, but no-one has succeeded in stopping the world. If we release ourselves to such unstoppable forces and ride the wave instead of trying to stop the wave, we will achieve more. American Nobel Prize winner, author and professor, Toni Morrison, says that if you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.
What winds are you or others around you fighting against?
Maybe it’s time to surrender to some of the winds of change and start riding them, instead of fighting them. Energy that’s directed in a positive way is far more powerful, far more effective, than negative energy.
Now you’ve just got to “sell” this idea to your sales people!
Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and a professional speaker. He assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery so that they can live and lead with greatness.