Why Would Anyone Go into Sales?

Why don’t we teach high school kids about sales as a profession?  …because it doesn’t have the cache of doctor or lawyer — but truthfully, more of us will go into sales than will be doctors or lawyers and doctors and lawyers need to be sales people too.

I’s a great way to make a living and it can pay very well. Many of us work best when we can be

a) independent

b) not in an “office” all day

c) helping people (n.b. not “outgoing”!)

d) rewarded for our hard work not just “paid like everyone else” (note I didn’t say highly paid)

I read this article on Why Gen Yer’s Hate Sales and the reasons listed here are the same reason EVERYONE is skeptical about sales people… the author says that sales

— seem dishonest

— is decidedly not collaborative

— relies on big cash and big wins

— focuses on selling not on relationships

These perspectives are absolutely NOT true for the majority of hard working sales people. They’ll tell you it’s all about relationships and collaboration. The best sales people I know are:

— Great listeners (not great talkers)

— Actively looking to solve problems – collaboratively

— Know that if they are not honest and straightforward their business is going to disappear

Sales positions comes in many flavors…  recruiting (human resources) to product/services (marketing) to business development (strategic partnering).

The truth is… we’re always selling somebody something whether it’s our children (no you don’t want a pony), spouse, boss, colleague or customer. Right?

For inspiration go to Jeffrey Gitomer — he is a well-respected sales guru who motto is: “Add Value First” – a perfect fit with social media and the rise of customer power.

Photo credit: findthebestcarprice.com

Feedback: Electric, Real-Time, Nasty or True

I work with companies on multi-generational workplace issues  because I heard so many complaints about the “younger generation’s” poor “communication” skills. Gen Y employees may be different in many ways other from other generations; but that doesn’t mean they’re bad or wrong — they’re just different.

One common complaint I hear is that younger employees want to give and get “constant feedback.” Most of us oldsters are uncomfortable with this. Being stoics, we think everyone ought to just ‘get on with it.’

When Jimi Hendrix (my favorite musician of all time) burst onto the rock scene and created new sounds with his guitar…including standing in front of a wall of amplifiers.. many people thought it was awful… the rest of us… thought it was awesome. A new kind of musical sound was born… music to some… noise to others.

So it is with workplace feedback. Let me introduce you to Cleargears.com, take a quick video tour here. Conceptually, these tools allow your workforce to provide you (bossman or bosslady) with regular feedback and in turn, allows you to understand whether your feedback is being accepted and implemented. Wow – what a concept. Real time feedback. Making you uncomfortable? Get ready – this is the world is headed.

Take a look at Rypple.com; they call it social performance management–  “a web-based social performance management platform that replaces the traditional performance review with an easy and collaborative approach. People always know where they stand and are accountable for achieving their goals.” By the way… so are you.

Whatever the tool and no matter how you feel about providing feedback to your team, I suggest you figure out how to listen better. The future of your organization depends upon it. Remember the shark… survival goes to those who adapt.

Photo credit: Milt. Retirement and Financial Freedom


Embrace Disruption

I’ve decided there 3 kinds of people… those who are very afraid of change (about 25%), those who create and embrace change (about 25%) and those who are willing to change if they have to (um yeah, 50%).

Which are you? Be honest… the most important thing is to understand yourself and then build on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. Given that GenY (those born 1980-1995ish) will make up 50% of the workforce by 2014… you might consider how you’re going navigate this change regardless of your age and experience.

Hannah Morgan (the career Sherpa) and I have a fun, powerful workshop called, “Taming the Know it All , 4 Generations at Work.” We share our experience in helping organizations understand that people are comfortable communicating in a certain way..it could be leaning over the cubicle wall, or  by phone, email, text, etc. Most of us don’t think twice about what method would work best for the person we want to ‘talk’ to. Taking a moment to consider the “receiver” of the information can limit undue friction. A little thought and training can make a team more efficient, productive and cohesive.

In his blog, Embrace Disruption, Cory Stewart describes his journey; “In May 2012, I decided to make a change. I vowed to start accepting the chaotic nature of life, and embrace whatever challenges may come my way.” Cool Cory. I’m with you.

In his post titled, Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants, he wisely advises us to embrace inter-generational differences by ‘bending’, not dictating, focusing on balance and encouraging collective work.  If this sounds a little too kumbaya for you then you are probably one of those people who’s afraid to change.

And if embracing disruption, thinking about changing my own attitude (one of the few things I CAN control) and being less stressed out are my goals then I’d better listen to Cory. He’s gonna help us make this work. Remember, its not about being right, it’s about being happy. Agree?

Image credit: simplysolo.com

The “Skate to Where the Puck’s Going To Be” Career Management Philosophy

Recently I came across an article titled, “7 Jobs You Never Heard of and Why They’re Awesome,” e.g. futurist, greensman (not keeping the putting green nice..) and parabolic expert. Do you think these sounds silly? Think again.

It might seem odd to remember elevator or telephone operators, but what about travel agents, department store clerks (try to find one these days) or assembly line workers. Ten years ago a fair number of people held these jobs.

Today a lot of people have titles that didn’t exist 10 years ago, e.g. Director of Inbound Marketing, Content Marketer, Java Developer, .net Developer or Internet Security expert, etc.. If you believe what Wayne Gretsky (aka the great one… hockey player) said, “Skate to where the puck’s going to be, not to where it has been…” and apply that to your career,  it’s possible that your next job could be something you’ve never even heard of.

If you were born after 1980… it’s very likely you will have a job that hasn’t even been invented yet (not to mention being actively engaged in creating new companies.)

When I speak to educators I remind them that it is their responsibility… along with business leaders… to find out what skills will be needed and to start today to create programs to prepare our future employees. And this is not just for young people! Boomers and Gen Xer’s need to change too.

Because if we, as Americans, don’t figure this out…someone else in the world will and if we think the economy is ugly now…

This is not the ‘responsibility’ of politicians and/or ‘someone else’. Each of us must be prepared. Consider the shark or crocodile– they’ve been around a long time while many other creatures have become extinct. Adapt or die.

Image credit:  Oldster’s view