It’s crystal clear…. Or is it?
It is crystal clear to me….so why can’t everyone else see it?
That was the thought that kept coming to mind the other day as I spoke with some really bright leaders in sales and business.
The thinking that got us here REALLY might not be the thinking that builds the future that we desire. That is a really tough realization. And as it will take some significant shifting to affect the right change, it makes it an easy thought to dismiss and simply revert to what we have always done.
The phrase the hit me hardest was from a really great company that had in fact been very successful globally in a really tough business, and was facing the need to possibly change. We were talking about sales organizations and their focus. The quote from this leader was “our objective is to extract the maximum amount of value that we can from the customer”. I’m listening… thinking… extract, like yanking teeth out of a patient’s jaw…. And “from”…oh yea… TAKING… not giving. Ripping value right out of their hands. Sounds more like a torture technique than any sort of “sales process”. But then again, most of the sales process offerings in the world can be a lot like torture, to everyone involved. Extracting, taking, getting, all to our benefit. Where was the customer in this? Oh yea, they were the subject of the extraction and the taking.
OK, I got it… this is the history of where we, as a “sales” person have come from. All about what WE want and what our company wants FROM us. The rest of the conversation was about the typical subject of compensation (meaning commission). The fundamental belief from most every sales leader(actually manager is a better term) is that their team IS coin-operated, and they CAN manipulate their team into doing what they want them to do by commission systems. The fundamental belief of this group, and most sales managers, is that the only thing that matters to a salesperson is greed and the possibility of a BIG upside to their commission.
And that is absolutely NOT TRUE. But they have been brought up under that belief system, so it MUST be true. Truly sad. Management (not leaders) that believe this are actually lying to themselves and those that they “manage” and those that they report to. That’s tough to face.
One of the other leaders that we were talking with was faced with a great challenge… having to hire a BUNCH of salespeople… NOW. And while training was of concern, the biggest challenge in mind at that time was how to structure the commission system so that everyone would sell more of all of the products that they had to offer. Not leading and coaching, but rather manipulation of the individual back pockets of the PEOPLE that they were working so hard to find and hire (hence the reason also for a retention problem).
Oh well. The journey to enlightenment can often be a long one…and it takes just one step to start it. So let me step down off of the “commission is evil” soapbox for a moment and ask all of the salespeople out there to consider the concept that the most powerful way that you can achieve the success that you desire is to let go of the focus on hitting your “numbers” and focus on the process of serving. Commission or not, the way to create a brighter future for you and your world is by a simple focus on the PROCESS of SERVING. No complex equation needed here. Every day, look to make a difference of some kind for someone new. Every day, take time to dig in deeper to understand that client that you just “don’t get”. Every day, show the world you care more than ever.
Every day, come back to the basics of the “human process”….
SERVE endlessly with,
OK, LET’s ROLL!
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