Updated: Sep 25, 2019
While driving to the airport a couple of years back, my boss asked me a question which went a bit like this -- "Jim --- what keeps you relevant"??
WHAT THE do I hear you say ----- What keeps me relevant!!!
What on earth did he mean. Is he having a go, does he think I'm past it, does he think I sit on my arse all day doing nothing. Just who the hell does he think he is asking me a question like that!!
Yep those were just some of the crazy thoughts I had when I got the "out of left field" question like that.
So just as effectively as he delivered the question, he then asked me some time later (about 5 minutes) ---- "well do I get an answer"??
Now as sales people, sometimes our natural instinct is to answer a question as quickly as we can, especially when its the boss - right. This is even if we think we're having to defend ourselves against what we thought the intent of the question was. The only problem with that strategy is invariably you miss what the question was actually about.
"Jim - what keeps you relevant"?
You see my boss at the time was a very deep thinking inciteful person and I knew when he asked a question, it wasn't always what it seemed. He wasn't asking me if I felt I was relevant, but more about the things I do to keep me that way.
When you really think about it, its a question every sales professional should constantly ask themselves and be brutally honest with the answer.
For sales professionals to be relevant in the eyes of their customers, they need to ensure they have captured the hearts and minds of their customers by being across industry changes, aware of emerging markets, have upskilled themselves around technology that could be customer specific, and have availed themselves of information that can potentially add value to the customer. In simple terms, they need to deliver.
You see when I really thought about the question, it was about how I was going to continue to provide an environment where my sales team could continue to add value to their customers, which in turn would provide additional value to the business.
So here's a question for you. In the eyes of your customers, are you relevant?
Those were my thoughts . . . .