This may sound weird. But I cannot fully express the utter joy of having shed certain components of the CEO role which I dreaded (and sucked at) while building some of my prior businesses. I am talking about the more mundane aspects — such as HR, Legal, and Finance. Ugh!
Now, with VoloHaus, all I do is marinate in the glorious bath of SALES and MARKETING! That’s because sales and marketing are our products — so we eat, breathe, and sleep them.
Even though I am still a CEO, it’s a different beast. My day now revolves around personally fulfilling activities, because sales and marketing allow me to truly connect with people. And for me, this is the best part of the job. The CONNECTING part. To get deep into a client’s situation and help them solve it.
And everyone thinks this way, right?
Our society has a problem
I notice a disturbing trend. Perhaps you do as well, especially if you are over the age of 35. It have seen it crop up among the students at Cal State San Marcos, where I teach, but I also see it with seasoned sales professionals.
It is a trend towards connecting less. To do less for others. To take on less responsibility.
Okay fine, maybe you don’t have to be as idealistic as I am in order to be good in sales and marketing. But the problem is, the negative attitudes I just mentioned are getting in the way of WORK, of plain getting things DONE, because they lead to three things:
- a false sense of entitlement (I should be able to get what I want without cooperating with people)
- a “have to have before I can do” viewpoint (If I do not have these things, I have to work harder – which is BAD)
- a victim mentality (I am not responsible for what happened; I am a victim of circumstances)
These are opposite of the good American values which I was raised on such as “be self-sufficient,” “sacrifice to make things better for yourself and your country,” and “make do with what you have – but just get ‘er done – no excuses!”
This new mentality loves to make problems someone else’s concern. Responsibility is limited to being armchair activists, such as sharing bad news on Facebook to “raise awareness” about issues but never actually doing anything concrete about them. It’s all glib, superficial.
How does all this translate to the sales and marketing world? I am seeing way too many salespeople shed ownership and accountability. (Since when did these two become dirty words, anyway?)
Too many gripe about how tough things are but would rather “plan” all day without taking any real action to help the people who they need to serve (their customers and prospective customers). They don’t want to connect with people any more, but would rather let machines sell for them while they take orders and collect a check. This is a losing strategy.
And far too many create obstacles rather than overcome them. This needs to STOP.
Just solve it
At Team VoloHaus, we have adapted George Patton’s famous quote as sort of a mantra: “A good plan, violently executed today, is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.”
Good stuff. It implies that even if you don’t fully know how to get to where you are heading, you should get moving anyway.
Tooting my own horn here a little bit: I am sometimes asked “Do you have experience in my industry?” My answer is always the same. I say “Nope. But I don’t have to. First of all, I will of course get very familiar with your industry as soon as you hire me. But second of all, the VoloHaus process works. Everytime. Guaranteed. Regardless of the industry.”
The reason why it works is because the Volohaus process is all about people selling to people. It identifies the exact perfect buyer avatar and the exact right persona and process to sell to that buyer. It also involves an attitude of “just solve it” for the client, regardless of the industry and its specific challenges. And that attitude is probably our biggest differentiator.
Here are two contrasting, actual examples of how attitudes affect results, which I witnessed with my own eyeballs:
Example one: This is a nearly verbatim quote from someone who wasn’t doing very well. When pressed about when he would start closing some sales, he delivered this in a know-it-all tone: “I can’t do that until we have the website perfect, the sales collateral done, blogs, white papers and case studies. What do you want me to do?”
How about pick up the phone or get in your car and TALK TO people who might benefit from your product or service?
Example two: In my last company, my favorite technician was Marty. Marty always got the job done, even in difficult circumstances. I would ask him, “How did the job go?” He would answer, “Great. Mission accomplished. Happy customer.” I would call the customer and ask how it went. They would say “Our entire office flooded. We lost electricity. Marty had to work until 3 A.M. to get us up and running. Marty is awesome. Your company is awesome.”
Marty just solved it. He didn’t present the problem up the command chain for me to fret about. He took complete ownership of the customer’s issue and helped him fix it, no matter the barrier.
That’s what I am talking about. Business is about people helping people. But salespeople are losing some of that. In the days of content marketing, emails, texts and whatever, people don’t get OUT of the office to meet people. They are relying on algorithms and “big data” to sell for them.
Customer problems aren’t their problems any more. “There is nothing I can do” is their rallying cry.
But it doesn’t have to continue. This trend can be reversed by all of us caring enough about people to connect with them and get them what they need despite the barriers.
By taking ownership and being accountable again.
By refusing to pass the buck when challenges arise.
By committing to being true sales and marketing professionals and just solve it!
Can we do it?
Picture courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net