From Ulysses to Gandhi to Wonder Woman to Joan of Arc, these historic figures were known for legendary strength, leadership and courage. Each of them led the resistance or the battles against the enemy of their people. We admire the nobility of their cause. Whether mythological or real historical figures, we remember their stories as virtuous and worthy of honor. Most of them suffered. Some of them died young. In years past and in hushed and sacred tones, we told our children about them in our schools and in our homes.
Today, we have lost some of our traditions and remembrance of a life well lived in service to others. Warriors are diminished when they return from the fight. Knights of a round table are made fun of and left in dusty tomes and unread stores of Camelot. The Lion loses his courage, the Tin Man loses his heart and no one appreciates Dorothy’s victory in the Wizard of Oz.
Schools are “safe zones.” Hardship and distress isn’t allowed. George Washington and Valley Forge are minimized and the concentration camps are forgotten. At home, the accounts of years of struggle by great, great grandparents are lost in divorce and separation. This makes it difficult to understand the definition of nobility or service to family and country. We cannot appreciate why moms lost their sons in the European lands of World War II to stop someone thousands of miles away.
Enron in the past and Wells Fargo in the present teach us that we may not recruit “noble” sales leaders. Without years of internal guidance and cultural teachings, the normal day-to-day chaos and turbulence of cash flow and stock prices create commanders who want to win at any cost to the consumer and for their own selfish gain. Private information is shared, customers are lied to and school admissions are bought.
Today, I still see heroes and heroines in sales. A young entrepreneur runs a 10 million dollar construction company and loses money on a job because he tells his workers to do the job over when we inspects their work. A CEO fires a director and his salespeople for accumulating sensitive customer data on Google Sheets.
A young woman starts a trust company and makes sure that she discloses to clients how she is paid by her vendors. She does not want her clients to think her advice is tainted by how she receives income from what she recommends. A lady tells her wireless customers that they will pay more to do business with her, but that the value of her service and response will be worth it. And, when they test her, they find out she IS worth it.
We hear a lot about high NPS (customer satisfaction) scores and how they return greater profits. For example, a young lady has previous customers waiting on her in a retail store because they want her and not someone else to handle them and their repeat purchases. A residential painter, who shows up on time and does excellent work while sober and professional, receives referrals to other new customers looking for “honest” labor and “good” work.
The Legendary Service of Great Salespeople
I know that the best salespeople show up to discover and fill the needs of people. They solve problems. They deliver what people purchased. They do quality work. They leave their client’s home, business or personal effects in better shape than they found them.
When customers think about the money they pay them, they often find that the best sales reps under promised and over delivered. Over the years, many of their customers become their friends. People buy from them again and again and again. These outstanding reps ask for and receive referrals during the many moments of customer satisfaction.
The best are heroes and heroines – with noble aims fulfilled in service to others. They sacrifice the “easy” way and avoid the “easy button.”
They work hard to give their best for the benefit of the people in their care. The late and beloved Zig Ziglar once said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough people get what they want.” And, in another way, Jesus once said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.”
Think about your business. Do you want people with a concern for others or do you want selfish people? Do you want irresponsible sales reps or salespeople who show up on time and fulfill responsibilities? Do you want those who work hard and who will admit when they are wrong or do you want lazy people who hide their mistakes?
I know the answers and so do you. Recruit character first – people who are conscientious in their work. Recruit sales reps who are heroes and heroines. Tell stories of their exploits in your company. This will pay off today and in the future and it will create a lasting brand.