Sales Lessons from the Road – Pt. 3

Our Director of Sales, Ryland Ferguson, will be on the road working remotely for the next couple months. While on the road, he has shared some of his sales lessons along the way.

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Since our last update we’ve made our way through Dallas/Fort Worth for a week that included a rodeo, lots of traffic, some visits with extended family, and horseback riding. Seriously, the traffic though – I’m a big city veteran, but only in Texas can you combine big city volume with half the population going 90 mph. Our next stop, post-Dallas, took us to west Texas and Palo Duro Canyon. If you’re not familiar, it’s the second largest canyon in the U.S. behind some Grand one, located just outside Amarillo. They say it’s hard to photograph a canyon, and that goes double if you don’t know how to photograph to begin with. The first night we were greeted by a thunderstorm with sustained winds of 50 mph and gusts up to 75 mph in the canyon floor where we were camped out. Once the weather cleared, however, the canyon was a delight to explore.

So where’s the lesson hiding this time around? In neither of those places! Surprise. As we left Palo Duro, we found ourselves quickly following I-40 west to New Mexico, which closely parallels the famous Route 66. Route 66 for those of you who may not be familiar was a legendary stretch of highway that ran from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA in a long arc that crossed through the southwest and up into the plains states.  Founded in the late 1920s, the highway inspired a hit song, a television show, and was a treasured piece of Americana as travelers found their way out west. Countless businesses from hotels, motels, gas stations, roadside attractions, and tourist businesses thrived on the traffic the route drew. Starting in the 1960s and continuing into the 1970s and 1980s; however, the interstate highway system gradually replaced the famous road offering a faster route from point A to point B. Today, there is no official Route 66, though parts have been preserved and reclaimed by states. Many of those businesses closed, relocated, or struggled to hang on and survive.

While not as stark a reminder as some of the rapid declines we see in the business world today, it does serve to show how a once mighty cultural institution can be relegated to an afterthought by change and innovation. While this will be nothing new it reminded me of the importance this subject holds for our customers and for ourselves as salespeople. Enterprises are undertaking massive efforts around digital transformation because they have to in order to survive. They can no longer wait and rely upon reputation and market share to secure the next 20 years of success. Change has to come quickly. This is the driving force behind most of the conversations taking the attention of the C-Suite executives we work with every day. The same is true for our solution provider partners. Big or small, today is their best chance to succeed and they have to move quickly to become the partner of choice as these enterprises evolve. Innovation is critical here as well, as old technologies are sometimes less than a decade in before they’re replaced by something better.

And what does this mean for you, salesperson, this Friday morning? Today is all you have. You can’t wait for tomorrow. Our customers need to shorten their path to success and so do their customers. We can help with that. They can’t wait. Neither can you. And if you do wait, someone will come along and eat your lunch by Monday morning. Don’t turn into a roadside attraction that’s not on the right road because you couldn’t see the writing on the wall. Carpe Diem, or the Diem will pass you by at 75 mph on the interstate.

Bye, ya’ll!

Ryland

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