When I was working at two different companies, I was heavily involved in selling the services of these companies and training the accountants and lawyers on how to sell their services. It made sense therefore when I started my own business, Help with Sales to initially focus on this market.
I have managed to retain one of the very first clients I won and was having lunch with them yesterday when I realized through an honest conversation that I was probably past my sell by date on this type of training! What do I mean?
It has been four to five years since I have personally sold professional services to a company. A lot has changed in that time and I can’t claim to be an expert about what causes cystic acne any more. I am still bloody good at training on networking and sales as a process, but not so ‘fresh’ on doing an audit pitch. This made me realize that I was trying to avoid becoming what I had loathed earlier in my sales career – the sales trainer who stopped selling 20 years ago and had become a trainer. I met lots of them when I was at other companies and they were totally crap!
They just did not have the passion or the insights of sales techniques that were relevant at the time. They had basically being made to retire a bit early and rather than retire properly – they had gone into training. Things do change and you have to change with it. Sales techniques and knowledge changes as well – and good people keep up with those changes.
What I also know that over the last four years as someone who is now an angel investor, I am very good at training people how to pitch at an investor. So I am now winning new work to train businesses on this area. And I feel good about this as I know it is something I can do well, unlike trying to understand the question “why is my cay peeing everywhere?” I ran a couple of sessions in Manchester as part of a group – and it worked brilliantly as my passion, my relevance and my interest were there for all to see.
In all walks of life and in all roles we do get past our sell by dates from time to time and the challenge for all of us is to either not let that happen or to keep constantly ahead of the game. This has nothing to do with age – I would never agree to be a chairman of a business (not that I have ever been asked!) because I do not think I have enough experience – and that only comes with age. This has to do with our attitude to learning and staying fresh!
I learnt this lesson when I was doing my A levels. I struggled with writing essays and I was sent to a remedial group where they spent time with me to help me get my structure right. I remember a lot of my friends laughing when they found me going to sessions for extra help. When I got a grade A and B – (exams were harder in those days!) I had the last laugh. It doesn’t matter where you get the help from – always be learning. Mondays blog – are my top tips for staying Fresh!