Find a mediocre salesperson and you’ll find him or her surrounded by peers with like-minded views, opinions and excuses. They will tell you why their sales volume lacks consistency and their gross profit production is far below the median. They practice the excuses so well that they’ve become experts a closing themselves on mediocrity.
They come to this new job with an abundance of enthusiasm despite the fact that they know so little. They eagerly plant new seeds of opportunity with modest optimism. The degradation of skill doesn’t happen overnight, so what happens to them?
At some point, a weed will sprout in their newly planted garden. In the beginning, the weeds are harmless and do little to hinder the growth of the newly planted seeds. In fact, the growth is so slight it appears as an insignificant sprout that blends in with its surroundings. The salesperson thinks, “it’s a bit of an irritant but harmless to my garden.” Experience has taught them to ignore the weed and hope it grows tired or dries out.
Sooner or later, their garden is so riddled with weeds that they never see the infestation take over. Poor salespeople accept the weed as a condition, instead of an inhabitant that needs to be tended to. They find blame in everything else around them but the gardener. The expectation is this newly planted garden will not resemble the last spot they planted. Gardens that are littered with excuses have the ability, if allowed, to contaminate other gardens beyond their boundaries. Poor gardeners love to share their wisdom and insight with all willing participants. They are happy to provide shortcuts, methodology and philosophies — if you allow it. They provide directions, as well as how to walk away when the garden becomes too much to care for.
Management of the gardener takes time, persistence and nourishment — all of which require a commitment for the long haul. The gardener has to show up consistently to pull the weeds of doubt, discontent and uncertainty. The master caretaker must be capable of performing the most tedious tasks day in and day out — when no one is looking. High-performance salespeople take pride in their gardens. They pull the weeds of pessimism and negativity daily. High-performance people search out high-performance organizations.
They look for organizations that create a culture of well-manicured gardens that produce beautiful results. High-performance people take pride in the gardener. High-performance people seek out those with more robust gardens so they can find how to do it better.
To all those poor-performing salespeople who refuse to tend to your garden: Take up root somewhere else. For the average salesperson that wants more: Find someone who has the garden you want and do what they do. It takes more effort to water and feed the garden then it does to eliminate that single weed, but the results are so much more satisfying. Remember: The garden is only as good as the person tending to it.