Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


A Piece Of Rope - February 14, 2015

When I began my career after college graduation, I knew that my world of learning was not over, and here I am twenty-plus years later and I’m still learning. I am also now teaching. I find myself every day sharing advice and guidance on sales tactics and sales management that I’ve learned over years of trial & error, and from those that have gone before me.


I was recently leading a group discussion with a few relatively new employees and I used the story of A Piece Of Rope that I was taught in the first few weeks of my career. So, this week I thought I would share it, because it has as much meaning today as it did in 1994.


I’ve written and ranted about that nasty word entitlement in previous blog postings. As a business owner, as an executive, as a sales manager – I do not owe an employee anything. I’ve provided a welcoming place to come to work. I offer excellent benefits. I provide a career path for each person to grow and expand their own goals and plans. This is not something I owe the employee, but rather how I run a business. Entitlement, nasty nasty entitlement, comes when the employees feel that benefits are a right not a privilege. Entitlement is when the employee feels they absolutely must have the latest and greatest laptop because it will make them a better sales person. Entitlement too is when an employee believes they are more valuable to your company than they actually are and that we, the employer, should kiss the ground they walk upon. Well, that’s just not how the real world works.


And so A Piece Of Rope. A good employer, and speaking directly to the area of sales and sales management, should provide the necessary tools for an employee to be successful. A safe and welcoming place to work. Up-to-date training on sales techniques, on the company’s products or services, and on the competition provides an edge. Fair compensation – you know – an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. In other words, you have provided each person with a piece of rope.


The successful sales person, the A level sales person, does not see this piece of rope as anything but a means to make a ladder and climb. The rope is all of the elements or tools provided by you, the employer or the sales manager, to make this individual person successful. They listen and apply the lessons from training in the real world. They recognize that when successful, their employee review or evaluation will reflect their success, and their compensation plan will reflect the success too. That when all of the tools provided to them are used to their fullest potential, the sales person (or any employee) climbs that ladder of success.


And so A Piece Of Rope can also kill a person’s career. Those same tools, lessons, benefits, etc. when ignored, looked down upon, or criticized, can become a noose for which the career is hung out. All too often, especially in the area of sales, individuals with a sense of entitlement overlook all of the positives available to them; they overlook the opportunity to make a ladder and climb toward great success. Rather, they complain that the training is not enough, or this company or that company offer a greater incentive to sell, and they thumb their nose at their own employer. They, without sometimes realizing it, hang their careers.


A Piece Of Rope – make a ladder and watch your career climb; or, make a noose and hang your career. The tools are all out in front of you, but you must make the ultimate choice.

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