Manager’s professionalism was a model for success
By Laura Jones
Have you ever wished you could try a different job on for size without quitting the one you have?
I recently had the opportunity to do that. Instead of leading our organization’s research and advocacy work, I joined our sales team for a few weeks of cold calling on small business owners.
My car became my office and I substituted flat shoes for my high heels. I walked into businesses of every possible description to introduce myself and ask owners to join the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
Sales are critical to the success of any business and by doing the front-line sales job I learned a few important lessons. Passion, discipline and professionalism are the ingredients in sales success.
Great training maximizes effectiveness. My training consisted of learning by heart the script that explains our organization and spending several days with our sales manager.
Cold calling is not easy so it was critical for me to have a good role model. My manager showed me how to be disciplined by setting out rules to help avoid call-reluctance, the tendency to take coffee breaks instead of introducing yourself to the next prospect.
One rule was to open every door when working a particular street. Some of the nicest people I met were behind the least friendly looking doors.
Another was to focus on that which is in your control. Activity is in your control, the economy is not. As long as I walked through 30 doors in a day to introduce the CFIB, I was doing my job.
My manager also modelled professionalism – know what you’re selling, plan your days in advance, dress well, keep your car/office organized and maintain a positive and friendly outlook.
Passion can’t be taught but it can be reinforced. Having a manager who believes in the value of what is being sold reinforced my own passion. I learned that clients themselves are a huge source of inspiration and referrals.
Cold calling by yourself can be lonely. In those moments when I was tempted to quit a little early for the day, have a second cup of coffee, or busy myself with paperwork that could wait until the end of the day it was my manager’s encouragement and role modelling that kept me opening the next door.
I’m back to my real job now. I will never forget my days as a salesperson and the lesson I learned. Whatever kind of business you are in, motivating your staff to be great at sales starts and stops with the example you set.
Laura Jones is the Sr. Vice-President Research, Economics & Western Canada for CFIB.
Category: Business Stategy