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Life Is A Highway…And So Is Sales


This past holiday weekend, I traveled with my family to Ohio to visit some friends we try to see at least once a year.  More often than not, they travel to the east because of all the friends and family they have here.  It allows them to make the rounds and after 10 days of barbecue, they would turn around and head back west.  However, four families decided to travel to Ohio, instead, and save them the trip.

It was long.  Living in Connecticut has jaded me in regards to traveling as everything is within one hour of my house.  We left our house going west on 84, briefly jumped on 81 and then began the long and tedious 254 mile drive on route 80 west across the state of Pennsylvania.

Once on 80 west, the drive became a regular pattern of seeing a truck, catching up to the truck and passing the truck.    Twice we had to stop for gas and food and once I was back behind the wheel, I resumed chasing 18-wheelers…see the truck, catch the truck, pass the truck.  In this fashion, I was able to pass the time and, eventually, finished the trip.

It occurred to me that this is quite similar to sales.  You have to be on the highway in order to have the opportunity to sell.  If you don’t give yourself a chance and get on the road, you will forever be stuck at the rest stop, wasting your money and watching others find success.  Find the on ramp and just get on.  Once you’re driving at relatively the same speed as everyone else, the highway won’t seem as frightening anymore.

The traffic represents the opportunities, customer service and all of the other relevant issues sales people face on a daily basis.  Let them bunch up or you will be faced with a traffic jam…or even an accident.  Addressing them on a case by case basis and you will find yourself more relaxed and much better at completing tasks.

The completion of the journey is analogous to developing long-term relationships with your clients.  You will find that, even if you are delivering unwelcome news, such as a rush order that has been delayed, your clients will appreciate your honesty and notification more than having simply being ignored.  When the time comes for a large project, you will be considered more qualified because of the positive history you have developed with your customer.

What about the rest stops and gas?  How does that fit in?  Get some sales training.  Learn something new in your industry and simply go on vacation.  You need to be proactive when it comes to staying on top of the knowledge curve to be seen as a resource by your clients.  You will never be the only person at a rest stop and that’s because your competitors are continuously learning, as well.  When you go on vacation, try to unplug.  We are so geared to being in touch that it doesn’t allow for any relaxation to actually take place.  Enjoy the time away from the office…you’ve earned it.

Me?  I am now mapping out additional road trips since both my wife and kids are now excited about exploring new places east of the Mississippi river.  Here come the trucks.

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