I’m slightly infatuated with written accounts of military skirmishes. Always doing my best to be an avid reader, I can’t consume many business books in a row without mixing it up with novels accounting wartime struggles. Their stories, trials and tribulations show us the fortitude the best of our kind find within, and how they still moved forward. Let me state for the record, I was never tough, disciplined, or dedicated enough to be a member of the armed forces. I knew I didn’t have what it takes, and, for that reason, hold such reverence for those brave enough to selflessly take that step. Instead, like many others, I am merely a spectator to the travails of those men and women in the military.
Since I can’t follow in their footsteps on the battlefield, I idolize their actions in other ways. When it comes to my commitment to work (and my family, but for the purpose of this blog I’ll say work), I am unwaveringly patriotic in my determination to learn. To be better. This is one crucial belief structure so many in the sales industry are unwilling to dedicate themselves to. In sales, so many learn the core functions of their role in the organization, and then sit back to watch what happens. Their only goal to improve their skill-set is to “play it by ear”. It doesn’t bother them to miss a phone call or a sales lead. They don’t get excited at every chance to greet a new customer. Missing another opportunity to sell doesn’t keep them up at night. They allow their sales to come to them, but don’t take the initiative to make good things happen for themselves. Most salespeople take on the role of spectators, letting the day’s goings-on pass them by. They wait to see what happens.
Instead, I urge you to be a soldier. Spectators sit back and watch, hoping to be entertained and wanting to feel as if they’re part of the team. A soldier, on the other hand, continually strengthens their skills through training and hard work. Whereas most sales professionals leave the learning behind after orientation, soldiers brave bootcamp and then continue long after applying what they’ve learned and building other skills as well; the understanding of different weapons for instance. They train consistently. Combat adversity head-on. They educate themselves on who they’re going up against on the battlefield. Soldiers learn new disciplines and strategies. They are not afraid of taking action.
Soldiers aren’t rash, reckless or foolhardy. They don’t wait for the fight to come to them; not unless they’re extremely well-prepared and ready to ambush their assailant. And while this analogy lends itself to pitting a soldier (i.e. sales professional) against the customer, I submit to you it is more about being blindly dedicated to serving your team to the fullest and leaving no stone unturned to be a better member of the platoon. How does this benefit the consumer experience? A researched customer will be equally impressed and thankful they’ve come in contact with someone single-minded in their pursuit to be the best at their job. Every time.
Stop being a spectator. Do not wait for opportunities and education to find you. Devote yourself to being purposeful, disciplined, and eager to improve your skills; to follow orders, adhere to the chain of command, and approach your job with wholehearted valiance. Be resolute in your grit and tenacity to learn new things and stay swiftly adept; ahead of the curve, ready to take on all obstacles and overcome any challenge a customer presents you with. A salesperson who embraces the mindset of a soldier, rather than a spectator, will be triumphantly successful, victorious over all hardships.