I remember it like it was yesterday. I showed up for my very first day of work in my very first sales job. I wasn’t sure what to wear (it was before you could turn to Pinterest for the perfect “first day of work” outfit inspo), so I donned a red pencil skirt and gray pin stripe button down. I knew the company culture was casual, but I wasn’t about to show up in jeans and a t-shirt only to find I was underdressed. The horror. So, a pencil skirt it was. My boss greeted me at reception and showed me to the “pit”, where my new colleagues sat grouped in an open-seating format, taking challenges and placing bets on who could make the most cold calls or which accounts would hit the month’s quota first. The energy was equal parts contagious and intimidating, but I was a sponge – eager to learn every tip and trick in the book.
I began to set my bag at my desk but my new manager stopped me. “Don’t get too comfortable”, he said, “you’ve got an assignment.” He went on to outline how I’d spend my first day as a new seller – I was to drive to 7 different restaurant locations and ask at least one crew member and one manager at each location how he or she was measured for success. Was it sales? Number of transactions or size of the order? Was it customer satisfaction and repeat visitors? Was it cleanliness of the restrooms and friendliness of the staff? I wasn’t sure how understanding a restaurant’s operations would help me sling hiring software, but I was game to find out. I learned that each person was actually measured quite differently, depending on the type of business (ex. fast food vs. a sit-down) or his/her position on the staff. Managers were more likely to be concerned with overall business performance and sales, where front of house staff were focused on customer experience and satisfaction. But more important than understanding restaurant operations was the exercise itself, which became one of the single most valuable learnings of my career – both as a seller & revenue driver and for my personal & professional career growth. The lesson is this: learn and remember how [anyone you are trying to work with or for] is measured. Whether your object is a prospective client with whom you are trying to do business or the manager who will act as the advocate for your next promotion – the best way to reach your own goal is to help someone else reach his/hers.
Remember how they are measured.
The day-to-day of my career has changed, but this philosophy has remained my North Star. How can I help someone else reach his/her end goal? We’re all selfishly motivated, that’s the world of business and, frankly, humanity. It’s the old adage that no one will care as much about you as you do. When you make the mental shift to care as much about someone else’s success as you do your own, I can promise that your own success will follow. You may not always know the how right away (that can take collaboration and learning) but you should feel certain that you can directly impact someone’s goals – you should know your value proposition. That’s the value exchange – your impact drives theirs, their impact drives yours. A rising tide lifts all boats. For example, if you’re trying to get promoted at your job, your focus shouldn’t be just on how well you’re doing your job but also on how you doing your job well helps your manager to do hers well. If you want to build stronger relationships with your clients, consider first how they are measured. How can you support that for them? Your value isn’t in the product that you’re selling – that may be your vehicle – but your value is the business or personal impact that you can drive, perhaps with the help of the product.
If you have any questions on this or aren’t sure how best to apply the concept, leave a comment below and we can chat through your, or other, examples. Have you seen this philosophy work in your life? Let me know below!