The Salisbury Six, as I have uniquely dubbed this enthusiastic and exceptional collection of young talent and hope for our future. They will live, win, lose, try, fail, succeed, suffer and prosper as is the human condition, but when they reflect on this day 25 years from now…What will their story be?
This is the most wonderful, powerful of questions for us to ponder as young professionals kick off their careers. Now, these six courageous college students, whom I had the fortuitous opportunity to meet, chat with for a bit and observe sharing a unique moment of respite after competing in a National Sales Challenge hosted by William Paterson University this past Thursday, epitomize this reflection. They were polished as well as engaging and refreshing. Today’s culture that tends to misunderstand and misrepresent the ultimate art form that the profession of selling can be when practiced at its highest levels. However, when we see the promise of an inspired, new generation of Selling Professionals who wholly identify at an instinctual level so early in the process, it makes me enthusiastic for the rebirth of the human element of the practice of selling. We need great people with the right moral compass and effective collection of skills to help to continue to grow our businesses. In my experience working with my clients, when we invest in growing our people, growth in the scope of our revenue and the ensuing improvement in profitability is unavoidable!
In this era where technology, apps and artificial intelligence can often dominate resource investment decisions in many organizations large and small, it appears that universities like Salisbury, William Paterson and more than 30 others realize that this is a people-based profession. People are essential, not expendable in the selling/purchasing experience. While data dominates, the human element of stories still sells more effectively than any data point can, and most likely will, for the foreseeable future.
People still matter…a lot. I see too many organizations fall in love with the empirical nature of data, but miss the fact that culture and development inspire people, people power process, and ultimately, that process drives production and productivity. How many times are decision-makers swayed and convinced myopically by information? Technology is certainly a critical element, but it is more often, a human being sharing, explaining and helping a potential customer or client make a better-informed and most often, smarter purchase decision employing that technology and information. That leads me back to the start of this blog post…The value proposition for smarter companies is to invest in people earlier, not later, allow them to try and fail, try and fail, and then ultimately try and succeed! The Salisbury Six embody this spirit of commitment to developing our people. I wish for them a lifetime of learning, amazing experiences and success through trial and error, persistence (Chapter 9 of TAGR!) and perseverance. They deserve the best this profession has to offer, as long as they are willing to pay the price of hard work on themselves, a commitment to being better each day and focusing on solving customer problems with empathy and objectivity.
So…Congrats to all of the universities, as well as the organizations that supported the event and especially the students bold and daring enough to compete…Can’t win if you don’t, at the very least, compete. As for the Salisbury Six…I anxiously await the tales of your lifetime adventures in selling, so please remember to believe…the best in this life is reserved for true believers, treat others with humble respect and be memorable!
And yes, please keep us posted and make yours a One-In-A-Million story.