I often like to harken back to my first sales job in the hotel industry. It helps to keep things in perspective. Working a small patch of four suburban towns outside of Boston was a grind, to say the least.
At the time I used the “advanced practice” of working the local yellow pages to drum any new potential business. It wasn’t necessarily the most advanced way of prospecting, but it was all that I had available to me at the time. In fact, there was no specific structure at all, as it related to my day-to-day expectations rather than bringing sales in and keeping my existing customers happy.
In retrospect, I realize that, as painful as it was at times, it helped me develop my work ethic and skillset to where it is today. If I could point to one reason why I managed to make it through to the other side with only a few scratches, it was probably because I made the job my own every day.
Our CEO, Paul Alves, relayed an interesting perspective to the organization right before the holiday weekend regarding how we should be thinking when we engage with our customer:
“The old rule that it costs five times more to gain a new customer than to keep an old one is obsolete. In a tough economy, it’s at least 10 times more. Service good customers as if they are your only customer. Go out of your way to exceed their expectations. Just imagine that your competitors are knocking on your customers’ door. (By the way, they probably are.)”
It got me to thinking about what we all need to do in order to take personal ownership. The more personal ownership we take in what we do day-to-day, the more passionate we become in seeing a positive result.
In interviews I often find myself saying that I want my employees to feel as if they are the CEO of their own mini-business on my team. Cheesy, I know, but this kind of mindset helps my team to think more creatively about the different ways they can improve, or at least maintain, their production. We can all be guilty of getting caught up going through the motions with our prospects/clients, assuming that just showing up is all it takes. The problem with a mindset like that in sales is that it will inevitably bite us in the arse. The best way we can feel some sense of engagement in our role is to truly make it our own.
A good manager is responsible for providing clear job assignments along with the resources to do the job. The rest is up to you.