I taught the subject of “Personal Selling” as an adjunct professor at Loyola University Maryland for twelve years. The academic-industrial complex required the use of a textbook in class, and occasionally, I used it, often to point out the crazy ideas that Ph.D.’s who write textbooks have about the business world. I always highlighted a section called “Cultivating Subordinates,” which chronicled the value and benefit to a sales rep of being nice to the lower levels of personnel in a prospect’s organization. I would open a discussion with the class, asking why sales reps should go out of their way to treat the rank and file with courtesy.
Eager hands would shoot up, and similar responses would fill the air – “because they can get you to the boss,” “so the gatekeeper will put your calls through,” and “they can influence the boss to buy your product.” Sooner or later, someone would raise their hand and clearly state, “because that’s how you’re supposed to treat everyone.” And, as I allowed the poignant insight a moment or two to sink in, with raised hands slowly and sheepishly lowering, it was always clear that they had uncovered the substance of the matter.
After relishing the moment and allowing business and humanity to merge in the minds of a room full of college students, I’d share how amazing it is that doing the right things for the right reasons can serendipitously deliver business benefit at the same time. For you do treat people like people because it’s the right thing to do. Not surprisingly, in so doing, you are a much more pleasant and likable person. And, of course, people buy from people they like.
This lesson applies to your organization as well because people also work with and for people they like. They work harder to help make things happen and make things happen for your clients!
So, do the right thing for the right reasons, and good things will result. It is not a revolutionary concept, but it is a great reminder.
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