Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the famous 19th-century poet and artist, was once approached by an elderly man. The old fellow had some sketches and drawings that he wanted Rossetti to look at and tell him if they were any good, or if they at least showed potential talent.
Rossetti looked them over carefully. After the first few, he knew that they were worthless, showing not the least sign of artistic talent. But Rossetti was a kind man, and he told the elderly man as gently as possible that the pictures were without much value and showed little talent. He was sorry, but he could not lie to the man.
The visitor was disappointed, but seemed to expect Rossetti’s judgment. He then apologized for taking up Rossetti’s time, but would he just look at a few more drawings – these done by a young art student?
Rossetti looked over the second batch of sketches and immediately became enthusiastic over the talent they revealed. “These,” he said, “oh, these are good. This young student has great talent. He should be given every help and encouragement in his career as an artist. He has a great future if he will work hard and stick to it.”
Rossetti could see that the old fellow was deeply moved. “Who is this fine young artist?” he asked. “Your son?”
“No,” said the old man sadly. “It is me – 40 years ago. If only I had heard your praise then! For you see, I got discouraged and gave up too soon.”
Sales is a tough environment, especially for those going through a sales slump, have limited self-belief and has chosen sales as a career. Too often I see talent wasted (as per the above story) and sales people leave our great profession.
The value of a REGULAR one-on-one meeting between a sales person and their manager has never been more vital than now. By value, I mean an open and honest two way discussion on how the sales person is doing against clearly defined and agreed expectations to ensure they achieve their goal. This meeting is also used to motivate, inspire and coach accordingly. Simply put, high performance sales teams do this while low performance sales teams don’t, get discouraged and give up too soon.
How often are you meeting with your sales manager for an open and honest performance discussion? Don’t wait 40 years and bemoan an unfulfilled life.
Yours in sales,