Dennis the management consultant arrived late to a sales training program I was facilitating. He apologised for being late, rushed in and sat down. His body language was stiff and noticeably anxious. Although now behind schedule, for his benefit, I asked everyone to again very quickly introduce themselves and describe what businesses they were in.
A couple of minutes into the introductions I sensed Dennis’ energy. He seemed disengaged and uninterested in the what the others were sharing. I continued into the morning break paying attention to him but not at the detriment of anyone else. As soon as the other participants left the room for the break, he pounced on me and explained the workshop was not what he had expected. .
Dennis was a plump man with silver-grey hair and the lines on his face told me he was in the twilight of his career. He looked stressed and his desperation was obvious. Despite the outline, he thought the seminar was about generating more leads. I explained again that the session was about the most essential sales fundamentals and all things that are easy to do but easier to forget. He paused, then responded, ‘No thanks, I’m really busy, I just need more leads at the moment.’ His comment didn’t make sense to me, but the resolve in his tone assured me there was no point digging deeper into the situation. With half a foot out the door, he promptly accepted my offer for a refund but pretended he didn’t care about the money.
When everyone returned from the short break I explained that Dennis had left for his own reasons. With a collective shrug of the shoulders, everyone quickly drew their attention to the presentation on the big screen.
What Dennis missed in the next section would have provided many answers to his problems. We explored the fundamentals that are easy to do, but easier to forget: aligning values and sharing value, buying-in and being interested in others, learning your ABCs (Always Be Contributing) and the Seven Sales Pillars: preparation, presentation, people skills, passion, persistence, patience and process. We explored how to create and develop deeper business relationships and a RetroService culture by harnessing change while retaining the essentials of human interaction: courtesy, integrity, listening, trust and loyalty.
Also in attendance was a young girl, Taylor, who was just starting her business journey. With long blonde locks and stylish clothing, she was an attractive girl inside and out. Dennis’ and her worlds couldn’t be further apart. She had just graduated from high school and came along with her stepfather who owned a promising online start- up business. In a relaxed manner she listened intently throughout the session and engaged and contributed where she could. Her receptors were wide open and she devoured the content as nourishment. Taylor wanted to get into PR and marketing when she graduated from university. To her credit she is already investing in her own development. If she stays on this path her success will only be limited by her imagination.
The reality is, regardless of whether you understand the fundamentals or not there is a world between knowing and demonstrating them. As for Dennis, he’s probably still chasing leads, and for his sake I hope one day he does catch them eventually. Had he taken the opportunity to stop chasing and start contributing, he would have learnt that when you get the fundamentals right, the business will chase you. #BOOM!
This article is an excerpt from Trent Leyshan’s first book The Naked Salesman: How to Walk the Talk and Sell Your Way to Success! Get your special FREE copy now from boomsales.com with every BOOM! Sales ACTIVATE program.