“We are not all in the same boat. We are in the same storm but in very different boats.”
– Rick Warren
That succinct observation can apply in different ways. Personally, some of us are in better boats than others. From kayaks to cruise ships, everyone in sales is trying to make their way through – and make sense out of – the post-pandemic recovery.
Most of those who are in sturdy and well-outfitted boats are helping those in weaker vessels. Storms can bring out the best in human nature, can’t it? Some are thinking it brings out the worst in us; it’s a choice.
Who would have thought that the worst boats for weathering a storm would have been cruise ships? You know, exciting ports, midnight buffets, entertainers. Being confined to a cabin for days on end without access to any of the promised amenities changed things drastically for the passengers. The pandemic and its recovery efforts continue to change things drastically for all of us.
Let’s look at how Warren’s idea applies to business. What type of boat (organization) are you in? How can you influence the recovery while you are aboard?
Here are some options:
The Giant Ocean Liner |
$50B and above Fortune 1000 Major corporations like those on the Fortune 1000 list are usually large enough to weather any storm. Salespeople feel confident that they can offer and deliver their products and services almost uninterrupted. The larger an organization becomes, the more layers of management it will have. Layers interrupt information flow. People in the lower decks are usually unaware of the decisions that are being made or the thought processes behind them. Many people are required to keep things shipshape and most know their role, and only their role, thoroughly.
Your influence: Improve the deck you’re on. The people around you want encouragement as much as you do. By having positive discussions with your shipmates, new ideas can emerge that can have an impact on the entire ship. Remember, Art Fry worked for 3M, sang in the church choir and needed a small piece of paper that would stick in his hymnal. Result: the Post-It Note.
The Mega Yacht |
$1 – $50B Large enterprise companies have substance, resources, and amenities. As long as the owner has followed the maintenance advice from the captain, made the repairs the crewmen recommended, and has the right people operating the various functions, the storm can be endured.
Your influence: Patiently sell your ideas up the chain of command. (Everyone is in sales.) If your ideas are not embraced, check the way you’re selling them. If they are accepted, share the credit.
The Cabin Cruiser | $10M – $1B
Mid-market companies typically have amenities and resources to a lesser degree than the larger organizations. However, they also have greater flexibility and agility. Communication from the top to the bottom is clearer and faster. Ideas from any member of the crew can find their way into the operation.
Your influence: You have the best of both worlds. There are people at the highest levels who are eager for new ideas. They have resources and know that implementing them will be less tedious than it would be in larger organizations. And they know that new ideas result in a greater competitive advantage.
Ski Boats & Fishing Boats |
Specialty businesses serve specific niches. As long as those niches are strong, the organization will be strong. These boutique companies can be creative or rigid in their offerings. The creative ones are most likely to weather the storm.
Your influence: Are you serving customers in a niche market because you share their passion for the subject? Your enthusiasm can be contagious.
Kayaks and Canoes Entrepreneurs |
SOLO SOHO (single-employee, small office/home office) vessels have been operating with a sink-or-swim mentality since their inception. This storm may be greater and last longer than previous storms, but every storm they have faced has been different. This is nothing new for them. They are experienced in finding another way out.
Your influence: You may be alone in your endeavors, but you are not a loner. Pioneers like you bring wisdom from what you are learning and experiencing on your journey. Share it with others.
CEOs | Sales Leaders | Vistage Chairs: Consider using this video on 5 Post-Pandemic Sales Habits as a springboard for discussion. You may find it helpful in explaining how and why you set the direction for your organization:
For more than thirty years Chuck Reaves, CSP, CPAE, CSO has been developing forward-leaning sales processes, technologies and leadership principles to help organizations raise their prices and their volumes simultaneously.
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