In this series our CEO, Gord Griffiths, reflects on lessons learned throughout his years in the printing industry.
Today I thought I’d list a few things that have worked for me over the years. Perhaps some may register or be food for thought.
- There is an opportunity in every conversation if you listen. You were given two ears and one month for a reason. You cannot sell something until you know what the customer wants to buy.
- Show up, be yourself, and be positive. I used to wear the problems of the world on my face and everyone could read it in the company, which left people feeling negative. Enthusiasm is contagious.
- Never give up, always keep trying. I know good salespeople who think the sales process starts after the first “No”.
- I learned from my mother that you can never over-prepare. I worked with a business broker for a few years and at first I wondered how he had an open invitation to so many C-level executives. Then I realized it was because he never showed up without bringing a very good idea for their business or their role.
- Honesty is absolutely imperative. One time, I was finding it impossible to turn around the attitudes of the people working in the plant. This place had a strong union and a tough, smart leader. One day I put an article up on the bulletin board with the headline, ‘75% of the Problems in a Business are Created by Management’. I got a call from the union leader who said, “You get it,” and overnight the turnaround in attitude was quite amazing. We started to meet monthly which lead to never ever having a stoppage in work.
- Keep your message simple and repeat it, as people are not always ready to listen. We need the training and skill of a teacher at times. Ask yourself, how knowledgeable is the person you are talking to about the subject?
- If you are curious and focused you can learn something visiting the worst companies.
- We all get busy, but a sincere thank you to your fellow employees, supplier, owners and customers goes a longways.
- Lastly, in sales I would ask, “What keeps you up at night?”, or I’d say, “Give me your hardest job.” Recently a great sales professional gave me a new one and that is to ask, “Are you open-minded?” He claims it always opens a conversation and keeps the door open.
By Gord Griffiths