Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A terrible idea

I got the thought that since my work is sales, and my sales are slow (and my morale is low) maybe I should check out a BOOK on sales - pick up some ideas.

Yeah, that was a terrible terrible idea. From what I can tell, the whole point here is:
1) You're not unique
2) You don't HAVE anything that's unique
3) The merits of your product are meaningless
4) The only thing separating you from everyone else is how persistent you are.

Unfortunately, I'd say that 2-3 years ago, what we were selling WAS unique and did have unique merits (that helped with sales). High satisfaction scores and a rare skillset in consultants. But flash forward to today and the skills are a lot less rare, our marketing scores are lower, and there's increased competition from all angles.

So yes, to just about everyone, I'm just one of a dozen people calling about the exact same thing.

Contrast that to when I was a guy DOING the work - that's where I got to be unique, where I had specific measurable value, where the clients were eager to talk to me.

I suppose these thoughts have been brewing for a while, but having sales strategy laid out like that in black and white really put it into focus for me. Add to that my trip to Dallas with 200 other salespeople from this company, and realizing this: These people are not my Tribe.

I have very little in common with them. I'm a doer. I have skills that can ACTUALLY make people's lives better, and I'm not really using them right now. For a while I hoped that by working on a more meta level (helping people FIND the people who will help them) I could spread good a bit further around. But it's feeling less and less like that is the case.

So I'm giving myself permission to explore what the next option is. To feel good about what I'm doing on a daily basis. To help clinicians and patients in a more direct way.

Actually, reading that Sales book probably WASN'T the worst idea.


Anonymous said...

I believe you learned something really important by picking up the sales book. Sometime you really need to know what it is that you DON'T want to continue doing. You took the next steps too - you began to focus on what you DO want. Now, keep building that field and keep going. If you have a roof over your head and people who are glad to see you when you come home - you've already won the game.

Anonymous said...

Did you happen to catch the Colbert Report last night: he ran films of kittens and puppies on a screen behind Jim Cramer as Mr. Mad Money reiterated the opening premise of THE BLACK SWAN: "Nobody knows anything." It was laugh out loud funny.
Taleb also has a cautionary tale of the 1001st day in a turkey's life: the first 1000 days are fine, it's the 1001st that is a kind of black swan event for the turkey just before thanksgiving..... Oh, and not all black swans are dire.