Yesterday, while helping a newly hired sales manager build his leadership philosophy, which he didn’t have when we started, got me thinking about a post I wrote in June of 2009. It was the first few months of starting this blog. I was only averaging 45 views a day back then, so it didn’t get very much play. However, it’s one of the most important posts I’ve written, so I am posting again.
Having a philosophy guiding our approach to our job is the most important thing we can have. Our philosophy acts as the guide for how we approach our job, what we emphasize, how we view what’s critical, how we define success, the initiatives we set, the outcomes we demand and more.
In sales, your sales philosophy is the single most important element guiding your success or failure. This holds true for sales leadership as well. Having a well defined, well thought out sales or sales leadership philosophy is the most important thing you can have to ensure your career success.
To Be Good You have to Think About it!
How do you see your job? What is at the essence of what you do? What is essential to being good? What is critical to exceeding expectations? What does it take to the best in your profession?
Being good at something requires more than practice and effort. It takes a philosophy, a clear understanding of how to create excellence. It’s about being intimate with the smallest of details. It’s about a deep knowledge of the tools, the users, the industry, the materials and the processes. It’s how you bring them together better than anyone else. It’s about creating your own unique philosophy on how you do your job. It’s a personal career philosophy.
This is one of the best career philosophies I’ve ever seen. It’s from a person who restores antique furniture;
“First, one must have a real respect for the piece. Next one should want to discover what the original maker had in mind. Then, for the sake of the piece, preserve its history and restore its beauty for the owner.”
You only have to read this once to recognize this person sees a real difference between restoring furniture and restoring antiques. What type of job do you think they would do? How do you think they are different than other restoration professionals? You can’t help but believe this person is better.
Do you have a career philosophy? Are you deliberate in what you do? Is there a specific outcome you try to achieve that is far better than the status quo? How do you do your job differently than every other person who does what you do?
Millions of people go about their job everyday. Doing it as it comes. Unfortunately, very few people own their job. They don’t have a clear vision of what they are trying to accomplish and why. They don’t look to differentiate themselves through how they do their job. They just look to differentiate through what they do.
I ask every person I interview what their philosophy on sales is. If it’s a leadership position, I ask for their leadership philosophy. Having a philosophy around the things you do makes you better. It says you’ve thought about what it is your doing. It gives insight into how you do it. It tells me and others that you actually think about what you are doing.
When people think about what they are doing, they make it better. They improve on it. They expand it’s value and in the end that is better for everybody.
If you’re looking for a great antique restorer I know one. If you’re looking someone who is really good at something else, just ask them their philosophy. You’ll find ‘em.
What’s your sales philosophy? What’s your leadership philosophy? Go on and share in the comments. I’d love to read them.