This weekend we visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY and I was struck by a few things:
1) Why don't we have a Hall of Fame for Salespeople? I know that companies provide awards for their own salespeople but is that limited recognition enough for those who are motivated most by recognition?
2) Why don't we have a better historical record of the developments made in selling? When I was writing Baseline Selling in 2004-2005, I had the advantage of being a 30-year student of sales plus a respect for the history of the profession. But memory and recollection are not enough to make the pages of a book accurate and there wasn't any one source I could rely on to get the facts, dates and experts nailed down.
3) Why don't we have a more effective marketing machine to promote the profession of sales to those who might enter the field? As kids we were out there playing baseball whenever we could find the time and many of us continued to play through high school. I haven't seen many kids playing salesperson. Perhaps we need to promote and glamorize the greatest salespeople in our profession so that kids want to be like them when they grow up.
4) Our six-year old son thought the highlight of the Baseball Hall of Fame was Abbott and Costello's Who's on First? While there have been quite a few movies whose characters were salespeople, the classic that people relate to is the depressing Death of a Salesman. Why can't we have a movie or a short that represents salespeople in a memorable, positive and honorable way?
So what can you do about this?
- Recognize your salespeople.
- Promote the profession of sales in your community.
- Promote and call attention to your best salespeople beyond your company.
- Teach your salespeople about the history of selling and early sales gurus like Elmer Wheeler, Frank Bettger and Dale Carnegie.
- Comment right here on this blog with your ideas for how we can recognize salespeople for their accomplishments, but on a grander scale and stage. What can we use for criteria?
- Make sure that everyone in your company understands how important your salespeople are to the health and well being of your company.
- You want your salespeople to be better at selling value and selling more consultatively, yet your advertising says that customers should buy from you because of your products, services, features, benefits and customer service. If you have a kick-ass sales team, put them in your ads!
- Baseball players have hitting coaches, pitching coaches, baserunning coaches, bullpen coaches, base coaches, and infield and outfield coaches. Give your salespeople the world-class coaching, training, conditioning, and management that baseball players get.
- Build more of a sales culture - demand that your passive salespeople, who take orders, become more effective hunting for and closing new business.
- Subscribe your salespeople to newsletters like Baseline Selling Tips or something else that provides consistent reminders and encouragement.
(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan