The Eagle Blog

Earn the Right

cartoon character depiction of Elvis PresleyHave you ever been asked that question … If you could go to dinner with anyone in the world (sometimes the question includes historical people) then who would that be?

Over the years here at Eagle we have asked that question of “newbies” as just a small insight into who they are as people.  It is not a test, and there are no wrong answers.

The answers have however revealed some humour, some deep thinkers, some nervousness, some bravado and some seriousness.

The answers have covered the full gamut … cartoon characters, religious leaders, athletes, politicians, world leaders, actors and family members.

I think it would be an interesting follow up question, particularly to sales people … how would you earn the right to have dinner with these people?

That is a real challenge salespeople have every day … how do they earn the right to meet with senior people?  Why should busy people take time from their day to meet with them?

Often there is an assumption that an executive should meet with a salesperson  because that salesperson might have something of value.  I can tell you that over the years as I have met with salespeople, more often than not they had nothing to offer!  That is a problem for sales people because they need to go into meetings or even into relationships with clients bringing something to the table.

My experience would suggest that it doesn’t even always need to be a business value … as long as it is valuable to the recipient!

An executive might be willing to give you time if they like you, or if your were referred by a friend, or if they like to help good people.  A sales trainer, Colleen Francis has written many times about a great quality of good salespeople is that they are nice people.  McKinsey even wrote about jerks … suggesting that jerks are a problem (not rocket science I know) and people (read clients) don’t want to deal with jerks.  If you are lucky enough to find clients like this your big challenge will be in maintaining your credibility such that they will meet again.

An executive might be willing to give you time if you are bringing real value, and not just “taking”.  It could be knowledge of an interest area outside the business.  It might be a subject the sales person is an expert in, and sometimes you won’t even know why you were given time.  Some of this is within the salesperson’s control, some is not.  There could be many reasons why an executive will give you time … so good salespeople will have real value to bring, and will understand what is important to their clients.  Once you have EARNED it then work hard to keep it.

When you get really good at that, you might just earn the right to have dinner with that “special celebrity”.  Pass the salt Elvis!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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