Stirring the Pot

14 06 2013

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No, I’m not talking about making trouble for someone.  Cooking and selling have many things in common…You are always working with a variety of ingredients to create the desired end result.  You turn the heat up or down.  You let things simmer to achieve perfection.

Are you stirring the pot enough with your business?  We’ve all had the experience of cooking something in the kitchen while also reading a book, magazine or watching TV at the same time.  Where you become completely, temporarily engrossed in what you’re reading or watching and then SNIFF, SNIFF, the smell of charred food fills the air.  I recently set flour tortillas on fire…no kidding…in my microwave.  I was so caught up with talking on the phone that when I smelled something burning, I kept checking my pots on the stove and for the life of me, couldn’t figure out what was causing the smell and smoke.  The skillet and sauce pan were just fine.  In our sales world, we can burn things up as well and it all starts with complacency.

Complacency is defined by Mr. Webster as:  A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger or trouble.  Hello…something is definitely burning here!  Complacency happens to all of us if we allow it.  For a salesperson, or entrepreneur it is especially dangerous.  When sales are going great, you have a large client investing heavily with you, or perhaps a project deadline seems way in the future, it is easy to let up and think the workload or commitment to customer service can wait.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the large client has cash flow problems, changes their marketing direction or moves to an ad agency and it doesn’t include your advertising medium OR you.  Couple that with the fact that a project is due next week and you haven’t closed a sale all month.  Did these things happen by accident?  Absolutely not.  The pot was left on the burner too long without any attention from you.

My advice:  Stir the pot before things start to boil over.  When sales are going well is not the time to sit back, relax or become otherwise preoccupied.  It IS the perfect time to use the positive energy and confidence you feel and apply it in new directions.  Research, read books that propel you forward with ideas and attitude, call on new prospects or touch base with your current customers  so they know you’re thinking about them.  By stirring the pot, you are showing care and attention to yourself as well as your customers.  You are anticipating needs and planning for future business.  It doesn’t take much work and the rewards are great.  Let’s face it, we all need to be Betty Crocker’s of our business.

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