I’ll start this out with I am the very proud father of 3 boys.
Recently I have been really made to think by middle son, Thomas, who seems to have a budding desire to become an entrepreneur. Tom came to me a week ago, asking several questions on business in general and how to sell more effectively.
Being the mentally challenged person I am, I used this time to discuss business planning with my 11 year old. Much to his chagrin, we sat at the kitchen table, and drew up a cost model, along with budget and go to market strategy. During this discussion, we discovered, some basic things. For example we worked out that a friend of his grandmother wasn’t going to be a constant source of free raw material, and these types of things needed to be added to cover expenses in the price he was charging.
To explain, his first sale, of a small-embroidered pillow was for the sum of 2 dollars based on this free resource. We quickly determined that knowledge of actual cost was going to be important in price determination.
Having discussed this, we moved onto sales, which is really what I enjoy talking about. Here, we decided that a store front would be desirable. Ok, this is retail, so location is key. So the obvious question was, how much would rent be? When I informed him that monthly rent was likely to be $2,000 or more for a decent location, you could see a bit of defeat. This is not what I wanted, because it is in this generation, I believe we will see some of our greatest leaders and world shapers. This group will be the next greatest generation. So I gave him some more advice on sales, different channels, and suggested he think a little more on pricing.
Fast forward a week, and as I am on the road, I call home to talk to my boys. Thomas picks up and begins to tell me he had a rough day. The group that had assimilated to begin this pillow company had decided to fire him. This is a bit harsh, since many of them are friends. We didn’t get into the details, but he was pretty sure he would get re hired within a day. I decided that I had to ask why he would want to go back and work with them if they didn’t have confidence in his ability to guide them- perhaps he needed a new group and new vision. This clearly fell on deaf ears, as he had moved on to roblox.
I was sad for him, but also happy he got to learn an interesting lesson at the age of 11, which is you will fail, and it’s how you pick up and learn that determines who you are.
How does any of this relate to sales? Where is the usual commission wisdom or sales adoption process? It was in this exercise I have thought about our newest employees, the latest generation to come up into the work force.
We spend a lot of time complaining/discussing/lamenting the work and effort of this group – the 20 somethings. My son got me to thinking about how we start working with them and stop complaining about them. How do we mold them? what are they looking for? Make no mistake, this group wants money, but really need guidance on how to get there.
It is this guidance and education we need focus on with them. They need far more training, and assistance/guidance, and in-group think, than our generation did. They need someone to step up for them, tell them it is ok to do something, and pat them on the back when they do well.
Paying them and making them feel part of the greater good is what they long for. How do we do this in practice?
- So from a sales side, spiff and reward side bonus’s, along with group bonus’s can affect the performance of this generation along with coaching.
- Think about sitting with this group on a consistent basis to reaffirm and coach them in the qualities and products/services that your organization is looking to build your business on.
- Identify the go-getters, and promote them within the group, utilize their ambitions as an example to the others.
- When coaching, sit with them individually and allow for two way communication as it is important to solicit their advice too. This will help you establish credit, understand your customers and your employees better.
As I write this blog, I’m flying home and contemplating the advice/coaching and reward I will be looking to give Tom. See, I want him to think, it’s a skill that seems to get lost as you get older, and with the internet may be dead forever. I want him to continue on his pursuit of success. Not like his Dad, but his own. He will fail, but he will also succeed. I’m going to be there to reward him for both. For my employees, it’s time that we sat down, individually, and enjoyed the conversation I’m having with Tom amongst ourselves. Many of you have succeeded and very well, I don’t tell you enough. Some of you have failed, and learned, picked up, and done better. After you read this post, you will understand why I called you, all of you, independently this week, and really listened.
I would suggest, anyone reading this blog, do the same with yours.
- On April 27, 2016