And by the way, the same principles apply in your personal and family life too!
I remember the case of a customer I had back in 2018, or rather the case of his son Mukesh who was 30 years old at the time. Mukesh was and is a natural born salesman. He loves to speak to people, loves to be there at the customers’ doorstep waiting to meet his client, and is always waiting and eager to sell him something.
Natural salespeople like Mukesh wake up with a singular thought “ how much money am I going to make today?“, as opposed to natural buyers who wake up with “ how many problems am I going to solve today?“.
Due to a drink-driving issue, Mukesh lost his driving license for two years and now had to do all his sales over the phone and was now dependent on the occasional trip by Lalit (who was the other salesman in the Company) to see customers physically. In essence, he would now have to spend about 80% of his time indoors in the office.
1 The Obvious & ( Usually ) Overlooked Signs
- Have you ever had a member of your team who usually comes late?
- Have you ever had a member of your team (or yourself) who keeps on postponing matters?
- Is procrastination a constant?
- Have you ever encountered someone who is constantly forgetting to do things they are told?
Now Let's look at the other Spectrum.
- Have you ever had a member in your team who wakes up early or comes in early as they are eager to start their work?
- Have you ever had a member of your team (or yourself) who takes action constantly, does things, learns things, asks questions to move forward?
- Have you ever had a member in your team who is always keen to help others?
- Have you ever encountered someone who you have never had to remind of anything?
What's the difference?
2 Natural Talents & Acquired Talents
The difference is that one is doing the job because he needs to, and the other is doing it because he loves it. And that is all related to their values and their talents. And they may themselves not know these.
Yet it's your responsibility, and if I may add to that, your duty, to find these out to help them help you. And you will see how this all ties together…
Time and time life reconfirms to me my belief, that we are naturally born with some talents. NOW let's hold on to that thought for a moment! I'm not saying that talents can not be acquired. They definitely can, and they should be. Yet some are natural to us (e.g. singing) and others are acquired talents (e.g. music production).
We all live in different environments and circumstances and life is constantly changing. Hence, to be able to adapt we need to acquire some talents to help us reach new heights, e.g. a solo entrepreneur who is a naturally born buyer may need to acquire and learn sales skills if he wants to increase his chances of success.
And this may in fact be necessary for small businesses where you cannot afford sales teams. My whole point here is, don't settle for anything less than a 10, unless you have no other choice. And if you do settle for less than a 10, then don’t have expectations of a 10. Your life will be so so so much better.
3 And the problem starts in our Education system
When we get a 9 out of 10 in English and a 5 out of 10 in Mathematics, our teacher and parents always tell us to put more effort into mathematics. Why? Who knows?
If you are NATURALLY getting a 9 in English (and my guess is that you are getting that with minimal work), it means that's your natural trait. Encourage the person and ask them to put a small extra effort because they will get to 10 very easily and with laughter, and confidence.
Instead, we push them to improve mathematics where the maximum grade they will be able to get ( unless they are naturally talented at that too ), is probably always going to be a 6.5 or a 7.
That is to say, we are categorizing them as an "average human being" with an "average mindset" at a young age. 7 in our society is categorized as normal/average and that is what we are putting in their minds from a young age, as opposed to what could very easily be, i.e. magnificent (10 in English).
Catch my point here?
4 The typical Salesman
To illustrate what I want to say, let's take a simple yet common observation which 90% of business owners overlook.
Salesmen are naturally optimistic. They genuinely believe they will sell everything, and hence they have a tendency to over purchase goods because they just don't want to believe that their customer friends will lie to them. They genuinely believe that customers are their friends and that their friend customers will always tell them the truth.
Salesmen, hence never like to say NO to their “friend clients”. The customer calls and says “hey can you give me longer payment terms”, and your naturally optimistic salesman will say “yes.”
The customer calls and says, “Hey I have some wrong goods”, “no problem" says the optimistic salesman who doesn't want to spoil the relation “just send it and I will take care of it”.
If this is true, why put a naturally born salesman in a purchasing position? More than one company has fallen due to over purchasing and overstocking goods that become obsolete and out of touch with reality.
Can you imagine? A person like Mukesh who needs to be out and about, who needs to feel the airbrushing on his face, who everyday looks in the mirror and says to himself, “OK let me put on my best clothes as I'm meeting some lady customers today”…
Can you imagine Mukesh being stuck for 2 years behind a desk, doing sales work on the phone and email? He could of course never get any work done due to constant interruptions (in essence Mukesh was on the phone constantly due to his need to connect with people).
Can u imagine the daily stress Mukesh had to endure as now he had to do the templates of a box design, had to sit with the designers for hours and hours and even had to do ACCOUNTS!!! (AHH!!!!!!!)
Do you really think and believe that he will be upon his game, motivated to work each day?
5 The typical Buyer
On the other side of the coin, we have naturally cautious buyers. Part of the reason for their cautiousness is that they believe in optimizing/saving money/problem-solving (as opposed to making money).
A buyer usually wakes up in the mornings looking forward to how many problems he will solve today, meanwhile, a salesman will think in terms of how much money he will make today. YES, the ultimate goal for both is to make money, yet the energy, intuition, and dedication are 2 opposites.
Buyers will usually base decisions on data. And data is historical, i.e. it's in the past hence they will base their decisions on the data they have at hand. This is great and is as it should be if you ONLY had to take a financial point of view into consideration in your decision-making.
Yet, many times buyers will fail to notice the market trends. Maybe there is a special demand for something, and you could have sold 3 times more, yet you missed out on that opportunity simply because you didn't have any available data or direct relationship with the customers, distributors, etc.
To tie it all together, how many companies have you seen that have a buyer doing a sales job? And how many have you been to where a salesman is doing purchasing jobs?
6 Can you see the issue here?
To top it all of, my customer had Lalit as a second salesman in the Company. Lalit was a very decent, honest nice gentleman, yet Lalit was naturally excellent as an “admin staff”. As a matter of fact, he had been appointed as admin staff, and now had to do salesmen activities (partly due to Mukesh’s mess)!
Can you imagine the mess? Lalit would spend more time in the warehouse doing a warehousing job than out and about meeting customers for sales. He always had some excuse or the other. Sometimes it was that he didn't have a car, and when he was given a car, that he had already opened all new customers in his area, BLA, BLA, BLA.
Can you see the pattern here? Lalit was not excited about sales at all. He just wanted to do the paperwork and “collect orders”. And COLLECT orders are NOT the same thing as going AFTER orders.
The result? The company closed after 4 years of existence with over 1 m Euros in debt.
And do you want the moral of the story? The moral of the story is that some people just never want to learn. This was the third time my customer had gone broke and mostly due to similar reasons in the past 40 years he had been in business.
7 In conclusion
Make sure you have the right people at the right job. Take an effort in putting aside your ego as a business owner and find out what ticks for them, what motivates them, what are they looking forward to, what do they hate, and most importantly if they are in that position because they want to or because they need to.
And if you can't find this out, hire somebody to investigate, show you, do it for you.
Get your team right, get the flow right, play on each other natural talent, and you will end up having a business that runs on itself, thereby freeing up your time to do what you most enjoy, and it's easier to do than you think…
If you like this article, do kindly like it. And if you have something to teach me, please by all means tell me, I'm looking forward to valuable input from other's experiences.
Good Luck & God Bless.