Here I go again, writing about the
significance of understanding that sales is about relationships, and the
reality of relationships is that at times you have to let go and move on. I’ve
watched colleagues for years work on their sales skills by reading a book,
watching a video, or attending a seminar. These are some very bright, well
educated individuals. However, they take the text book definitions and attempt
to apply lessons learned without understanding some of the key principals –
relationships are learned through experience.
Think about this for a moment, you don’t
learn how to date someone, propose marriage, and walk down the aisle through a
lesson in a “How To” book. You date someone, then you date someone else, you
make mistakes, you learn from your mistakes, and then you apply the lessons
you’ve learned through these experiences. That, my friend, is relationship
What some of my colleagues lack at times
is the perspective I have from being a parent. Having children ranging in age
from grade school to high school, I’ve become a believer in “little kids little
problems, big kids big problems”. And, through my parenting experiences, I feel
as though I am yet again learning life lessons that I can apply in business and
in sales. Sometimes simply being an observer of my children offers me reminders
of lessons learned through experiences in relationship management.
Over the past week or so I’ve been
witness to two scenarios with my children that remind me of a golden sales
lesson – you have to learn when it’s time to move on. In the first scenario my
youngest daughter found herself in a rather uncomfortable situation. One of her
close, longtime friends was not being kind to someone else over text and social
media. My daughter tried to explain to her friend that she was being mean.
Unfortunately, her efforts were futile and while she should have walked away
she did not. She was punished by my wife and me, and now she realizes that it
is better to walk away, move on, and possibly even change the dynamics of her
friendship, in order to do what is right.
Another example is based around a young
man that attended grade school with my son. This young man has moved on to high
school and is beginning to make new friends and build upon his new high school
life. However, in doing so, like many others moving on in life, his own mom does
not believe he’s having a good experience. In fact, she believes his older,
grade school friends are turning their backs on him and leaving him out. She
has turned to making false accusations toward other young men and other
families. She believes her son is being excluded intentionally and refuses to
acknowledge that these boys are growing up and moving on with their lives. She
refuses to move on and in her refusal she’s not accepting that her son needs to
also move on.
In our careers, in sales, just as with
personal relationships with our friends, significant others, and our children,
lessons must be learned with experiences applied. In other words, my reflection
this morning while having coffee reminds me that my children must learn life-lessons
even when they’re difficult lessons, and then apply these experiences in the
future. Sometimes it is best to move on. In sales one must always realize that
lessons are learned more on the street than in the classroom. Sure,
foundational ideas can come from a book, but nothing can replace the experience
of learning hands-on. Lessons will be found in wins and losses. You’ll earn new
client relationships and lose some. And, some must be lost, must move on, in
order to grow.
My daughter, as well as the young man
now in high school, must move on. They must seek new relationships in order for
themselves to grow. Sales people need to grow, add new client relationships,
and yes, sometimes this means moving on or allowing others to move.