I recently spent some time in a coffee shop, sitting across my table from a salesperson named Adam. As he worked on his computer, he kept making sighs and other sounds of despair, as if the task before him was actually killing him.
Curious, I felt compelled to ask him why he was going to die soon.
Adam confided in me that he worked for a paint company that recently put him in charge of over 100 current commercial accounts, in addition to establishing new accounts. He attributed his grief filled noises to the paperwork this company required him to complete.
The Curse of Being Unproductive
As Adam sat across from me, for 3 hours he didn’t make one phone call, write any emails, or do anything towards helping his clients. He sat and inputted his monthly expense receipts. While this paperwork is necessary to tracking, it is also completely unrelated to the real talents for which he was hired.
Good sales people are rarely that detail oriented, and often fail miserably at routine and repeating tasks. They excel at making personal connections and cultivating relationships. Why force them to do something that they are not good at?
The Solution That’s Hard to Swallow
The paint company could easily pay $20k a year for a part time assistant to take care of his paperwork and routine details. Don’t you think that they would receive at least twice that sum back in increased productivity? The paint company could easily find someone who is detail oriented to deal with all the tasks he’s not proficient at handling. That way they are
It’s That Ol’ Transactional Mindset Again
I see this kind of thinking all the time. It’s a symptom of the Transactional Mindset where numbers and figures become the standard, and relationships take a back seat to “efficiency”.
Focusing on transactions cause most businesses to favor short term thinking over long term. Relationships are for a life time, transactions are all about right now. This paint company only focuses on the present, and as a result loses out on major long term profits.
If the paint company just shifted their mindset a fraction of percent, they would see the wisdom of segmenting talent and work to let their sales representative do what he does best.