Rush for the Red Light

I drive a lot. My sales position has me driving most of Southcentral Wisconsin and occasionally to the Northeastern peninsula. Go ahead, call me a Road Warrior. My mileage tracking, expense reports, and brake pads would agree with you.

Weeks ago and moments since, I fancied how ridiculous drivers were in town. So many of them rushed from red light to red light. Each green light they would jack rabbit jump ahead and speed the next two blocks straight to the next red light, sit there, and bolt forward again to the next aggressive routine. It reminded me of The Tortoise and The Hare fable as I would watch the Acura’s and Lexus’ rush ahead of me while I put my VW bug into neutral (because I could see there was a red light ahead). By the time I approached the mini traffic jam, the light would of course turn green. As they stomped on the gas peddle, I simply put my beetle in third and continued driving at what seemed to be the appropriate pace. By the time I reached the coffee shop with wifi, the tables were buzzing with chatter about all of the annoying red lights in their day.

Why is this relevant? Who cares?

I find this a great metaphor, especially for the life of a salesperson.
How many times do you feel you are rushing to an inevitable blunt stop? How many salespeople get all worked up for a sales opportunity only to get the big rejection, the “No”? Sometimes we are lucky to get a “Thanks” at the end of all of our hard work, but that doesn’t add to the commission check. That’s when the inevitable question hits a salesperson, “Why the hell am I in sales?”

If we slow down, look ahead, and survey the landscape before us, we just might be able to see the red light before we approach it, and make the appropriate adjustments so we hit the green light instead. This can make for a much more healthy attitude and automobile, let alone client experience and paycheck.

Today a new salesperson from Neptune Society called me from Chicago. He was impressed with my LinkedIn profile and took the chance to ask me for advice in, “…hitting the pavement running.”

Hearing myself take a deep breath and feed him what I called, “the butter,” really got me taking a dose, OK many doses, of my own medicine. It opened my own eyes to how I’ve been rushing to the red light myself the past month, and haven’t properly approached each intersection with a green light at the ready. So yes, brilliant observant reader, I am writing this blog for my own therapeutic purposes. My additional hope is that others can benefit from the same internal reminder to slow down, refocus, and make the intelligent decisions to create an environment of success instead of constant aggrivating disappointment.

Most salespeople are coached or trained in “solution selling” or “value-added” selling techniques. No matter how many thousands of dollars a corporation can spend on training and grooming, however, no one can teach any old person how to truly genuinely earnestly connect with people on an emotional level. If I can allow myself to pat myself on the back, I admit I am usually extremely good at connecting with people. I truly care about them and I sincerely want to do the best I can to help them.

Helping people makes me feel good about myself. That is why I do what I do. I protect families with the protection of a Neptune Society cremation plan. My clients, however, tend to appreciate it even more. Beyond any financial reward, the true benefit of my position is getting phone calls from clients, “I just wanted to call and thank you, Laura. You have no idea the relief I feel. Don’t you forget about me! I’ll try to tell everyone I know about you.” That was Edna. I won’t forget her. And I skip across the living room when my mailbox is full of handwritten referrals. Almost every time someone writes their own personal cheer for me like, “You go girl!” or “Keep doing what your doing!” I don’t care what car you drive or how fast you drive it, that kind of compliment puts a special high octane fuel in your tank.

So next time you plan your work day in the morning, give yourself the self respect and love to take the time to enjoy the drive. Drive with a clear plan to hit green lights along your way to a successful and rewarding destination. We deserve greatness when we do great things. Right?

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