I was recently on a sales call with a what I thought was a seasoned sales professional. I was there for support and help regain trust that was lost.
I spent an hour in the car with this salesperson and felt really good about what we were going to do. I knew we were coming out with a bigger piece of the pie than we originally had, or ever had before.
When we were meeting with the client, they kept giving subtle hints about what we needed to do to gain a bigger share. After about a half an hour, they began to tell us in a less subtle way, exactly what we needed to do.
It was simple. Once per week, we’d have to send someone to their site, and then we could just take whatever business we wanted on that day. If we waited, or weren’t there, all we would get were the left overs.
So our options were the worst pieces of businesses that no one else wanted; the work hardest to manage and at the least profitability.
Or, we could simply send someone to the location once per week, take all of the business we could handle, and be very selective in only getting the work that was easiest to mange, and putting ourselves in a position to turn the greatest profit on that business.
On my way back, I waited for the salesperson to bring this up. I waited for her to scream that we had to send a person on-site. I waited, and kept waiting. And the response I was looking for never came.
Until finally, I said “we should probably send someone up there beginning next week”. And she said, “I think that’s what they were trying to tell us, don’t you?”
It’s not her fault. Somewhere, at some point, someone made her afraid to share her thoughts. This is common among all organizations, all industries, and most people. They’re so terrified of being wrong, they’d rather keep their mouth shut and let someone else come up with the idea, allowing them to be just agreeable.
If they do it this way, and the plan fails, they’re absolved from any responsibility. Unfortunately, this is the same thinking that prevents growth in most organizations.
There are insecurities in many people that if they make a mistake, they could lose their job. So rather than take a risk on a well thought plan or idea, they’d rather keep it to themselves, and wait for someone else to toe the line. It’s a modern tragedy, really. It breeds contempt, it slows growth and creativity, and builds a culture of ‘incrementalism”.
Where has the confidence gone in thyself?
Taking some chances can be the difference between success and failure. It means money in your pocket, and in your company’s pocket. It creates a culture people want to work in, because if they’re wrong, they won’t get fired. But if they’re right, they’ll be applauded.
Think about your business. Think about how you treat your staff?
Do you preach empowerment and then criticize when someone spends money to create an opportunity? If you have an empowerment culture, than allow those employees to be and feel empowered. Don’t criticize them. You’ll stifle their creativity and prevent your own growth from ever coming to fruition.
Reward decision making. Praise ideas. And celebrate the wins!