We’ve all heard the phrase “It’s just like riding a bike; it always comes right back to you”, and, in fact, that was pretty much it last Saturday as I strapped on my new Rome snowboard (an unabashed plug since I am one of the directors of this great company), and headed down the slopes at Stratton (another unabashed plug for a great group of men and women who run the place). No matter the fact that I’ve been skiing or riding ever since I was 4, and it didn’t make any difference that I’ve gone down that particular trail, my favorite on the hill, literally thousands of time, there’s always a mixture of exhilaration, fear and trepidation, and just old fashioned excitement on the first day out in the season. The first run was more than chunky both on the slope and in my head, but by the end of the second run, I had quickly eased back into a somewhat natural rhythm of turns, breathing more slowly and working through the differences in the new board.
I’ve been riding now for 15 plus years. The first day that I snowboarded was the last day I skied, and I’ve never looked back-just always regretted that I didn’t make the change earlier. Don’t get me wrong, skiing is wonderful; it’s just that with a board, one is more in harmony with the nuances of the hill, and in the trees, there’s simply no comparison.
After all of these years, I’m very comfortable on a board and can almost keep up with my son, (the private equity banker) when he isn’t ten feet in the air, but last year, I decided it was time for a few lessons, which were great since they dealt with a few bad habits that had crept in. I rode for a day with the head of the snowboard school, who like any good manager, left me with “just three things” that I had to work on, which I studiously followed for the rest of the season. This past weekend reminded me that it was time for a refresher and that it would be good to more lessons once the hill settles in and the snow is steadier.
As I was driving back to NH on Sunday, I was thinking that taking lessons to improve my riding skills is no different than what I do in the world of Sales and Marketing. In the rapidly changing world of Sales, I’m always reading new books on sales management, experimenting with new Salesforce apps, and tweaking what I already know. Same with Marketing, although that world is exploding with constant changes, which is why I teach marketing at MIT and Tufts, so that I have a reason to do more research, and more experimenting working with my students on new ideas.
So, as we’re winding down 2012, scrambling for every bit of air and customer time that we can grab, maybe it’s also time to take a couple of hours right after the year ends and write down “just three things” that we’re going to do to improve our sales or marketing skills during 2012. I always have trouble limiting this process to “just three things”, but, similar to riding, I know that since I can always get better, it’s better to start now than later since next year is not going to be any easier...in either riding or in selling.
Just a final comment to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah and also to thank you for your comments about our website and this little blog for this past year. I greatly appreciate your comments and your time!
If you're thinking about buying yourself a Christmas or Hanukah present, and since you're obviously interested in improving the productivity of your sales team by 20%+, you should seriously think about attending our Sales Management Effectiveness Boot Camp April 1st-April 3rd in Boston. After a solid quarter under your belt at the end of Q1, we know from our experience of five years of Boot Camps that a retuning, a look at new ideas and the opportunity to talk to other management professionals is just the thing to kick up the productivity of your for 2012. Guest speakers include executives from Brainshark, HubSpot, Time Trade and Salesforce.
The Early Bird Discount is $200 off our low price/high value program if you sign before January 15th plus an additional $100 off each for you and any other managers that accompany you from your company. Plus all attendees receive a free half day Whiteboarding Session scheduled at their convenience anytime during the following six months.
Just click HERE for the details and email me to set up a 5 minute call to answer any questions. In the meantime...
Good Selling...and closing in the final days of this year!