Like most people, I read with amazement about Captain C B “Sully” Sullenberger (what a name), who was the ultimate hero in 2010. Not only did he successfully land Flight 1549 on the Hudson river following a bird strike, but he then walked the entire length of the plane – twice – to make sure all 150 passengers had escaped. He was the last person to leave the aircraft.
My earliest memory of a superhero is Batman played, of course, by the gorgeous Adam West. To me, he was the ultimate hero. Smart, funny, brave and strong and he always solved the problem, caught the bad guy and lived to fight another day.
“Being a hero doesn’t mean you’re invincible. It just means that you’re brave enough to stand up and do what’s needed.” ― Rick Riordan, The Mark of Athena
It may be controversial and I know we don’t often save lives, but I feel quite strongly that the majority of sales professionals are unsung heroes. I feel privileged that I get to interact and engage with these hard working men and women who regularly demonstrate their superhero qualities on behalf of customers who, surprisingly, probably don’t realise it.
In that list I would include my favourite luxury fragrance sales ladies who consistently and patiently go the extra mile to help their discerning clientele understand, discover and select the suitable gift for family, friends and sometimes as a mark of gratitude for business connections. Or the good people in Logistics who ensure that valuable documents, drawings and their clients’ best work is delivered on time and in a professional manner. Lastly, those tenacious City surveyors who are pivotal to finding the right office building in the right location, providing security, safety and a working environment so their clients can get on with whatever they do.
When I get feedback from a client about how my coaching enabled a reserved individual to approach a group of peers and prospects at a high profile networking event with confidence, skills and ability, I feel like a hero. Most recently, I heard one chap practised his questioning techniques in a social setting. He is now dating the lady he practised on, not quite what I had in mind for connecting and engaging!
Doing what we do every day, we often encounter rejection and a fair amount of frustration, but to the people we are in service to – our customers – we are their heroes. So go on, I dare you, adopt your superhero persona and go the extra mile to be your customers’ hero today.
(Oh, and do tell me how you got on…)
I’m not a huge fan of reality TV but my ears pricked up when I heard the most interesting dialogue from the most unlikely source. Honestly, I never thought I’d be hanging on every word and agreeing with what Naomi Campbell had to say. For those of you who have not seen the programme, the makers and experienced models are looking for somebody to represent and be the face of a leading cosmetics company: potentially a life-changing opportunity for the fortunate winner. So what was it I found so interesting? It was the similarity between us all, every day in front of clients, at meetings and presentations, with co-workers and in social settings and those beautiful girls on a runway wearing the most expensive and elegant designer clothing. I was surprised to hear Miss Campbell talk about being a top model. Apparently, it is all about the attention to detail and knowledge – how to pose, engage the audience, sell the product, have confidence, be creative, be able to take direction and get into the right mind set to get a winning picture. Models must adopt and cultivate a winning spirit and have the drive and determination to succeed. Sound familiar?
By this time I was completely gripped. I have a bubbly and outgoing personality, which is a huge blessing but over the years I’ve learnt it is not about me, it is about the product or service and how those can solve a problem for the buyer.
I never thought I’d agree with Naomi Campbell, but she is right – hence 27 years at the top of her game. Sometimes, the best messages come from the most unusual sources.