Well, it finally happened.
My laptop, an IBM ThinkPad, is almost 3 years old. As you may be aware, 3 years for a laptop is the equivalent of about 100 human years.
And it’s showing signs of stress. The screen was doing random, long blinks and the keyboard has taken a beating. In fact, the “j” flaps at me regularly. On occasions, it jumps right off the keyboard and performs back flips in the air. And while it hasn’t “blue screened” in a while, I have seen it shut down by itself.
Not a good sign.
So this past week, I went off to one of my favorite toy stores, Microcenter, looking for a suitable replacement.
Having a Good Time in Technical Retail Sales
On my first trip to Microcenter, I met Raymie in the laptop/desktop bullpen. He introduced himself, and was pleasant enough. So when he asked what I was looking for that day, I hit him with my primary criteria, asking him which machines already had Vista Business loaded.
That narrowed the field considerably. He pointed out 3 of his business class machines. The rest had Vista Home Premium loaded. Those were the big screen devils that doubled as a poor man’s home theater.
I asked Raymie a few more questions, outlined some of my other criteria, and then, as I was in a little bit of a hurry, asked when he was going to be back in the store.
I wanted to make sure his management recognized him for his part in making the sale.
So, I went back the next day. The floor was a little more crowded, but amidst all of the chaos, there was Raymie, enjoying himself. He was helping someone else set up a refurbished unit.
“Raymie. Remember me? I was here yesterday talking with you about that business laptop.”
“Yes, I remember you.” He said. “Give me one second while I finish up with this guy and I’ll be right with you.”
Raymie continues to help this guy initialize his refurbished unit while I looked over the laptop that would soon be in my possession. I could hear him working with the guy, making jokes and being light about the tasks that this guy faced with his unit.
After about 5 minutes, Raymie was at my side, reviewing the specs on the machine.
Sales Reps Need To Have Less Stress and More Fun When Upselling
We talked about the virtues of the machine and how it met all of my requirements. He also pointed out some additional benefits that this machine had and what they would allow me to do. At that point, I asked him about virus and malware protection, because I saw the infamous Norton Antivirus screen on the machine.
“No, no, this is only a trial version. Most people go with this because it’s easy to upgrade to a full version and it’s already on the system. We typically don’t recommend it because it has a large footprint and it’s heavy, it slows your machine down a lot. Now this is the application we use here. We asked a couple of security consultants to perform some tests and make suggestions and this is what they recommended. This is the stuff that we recommend to our users who want to remove Norton and try something different.”
Raymie then went on to explain why this new package was so much better than what was already on the system. He identified some of the things that it had to offer and told me how they were using this package in their home office. It was at that time that we both noticed an older gentleman who had been standing off to the side. I didn’t recognize him, but Raymie did.
He said, “Hold on for a moment, let me take care of this guy…” and then went on to address the older gentleman.
Sales Reps Need To Be Empathetic And Diplomatic
I saw Raymie put on a big smile, approach the gentleman and say, “Is everything ok?”
The man said, “You know that piece of paper with that information you just gave me? Well the wind just took it right out of my hands.”
Raymie went over to his console addressing the guy as he went.
“That’s OK.” He said. “We can fix you up. In fact, the wind and I have an arrangement. It was supposed to take that information away from you so you could come back and hear that presentation on security software that I was giving that gentleman over there” he said, pointing to me.
The older guy said, “Oh, is that why I needed to come back in?”
“Yes. Now you know that you need security software as well, isn’t that right?”
They both chuckled and as Raymie was pulling up the information for printing out, I heard him say, “I’m just playing with you. You know, we have to have some fun around here.”
The older gentleman said, “I know that. And you know what? You’re right!”
You have to have fun!
From the time that I walked into Microcenter to the point I walked out of the building with my new laptop. The one thing that I noticed was that Raymie was having fun. He was enjoying himself.
Enjoy Your Job and Your Career
I think many of us forget that we need to enjoy ourselves at work. We get caught up in the idea that work is a four letter word and we shouldn’t have fun.
Are there tasks that you don’t want to do? Sure.
Will there be those days that nothing goes right? Of course.
Are there going to be times that you just feel burnt out? Absolutely.
We are human. These things happen and we shift our attention to competing ideas depending on the environment and our mood.
But work is not a painful, necessary evil.
Sometimes, in sales, we subject ourselves to unnecessary stress because we focus too much on necessary business goals.
Goals are important, but so is the process we take to get to the goal. If you are just going through the motions because some guru said that these are the steps you need to take to be successful, then there is an essential element missing out of the equation; and that element is you.
When I worked in a call center, our team was on the phone 8 hours a day. We went through some grueling challenges. The CEO of the company made it clear that he didn’t want anyone making this a permanent career stop. He considered the inside sales team to be a small step in a much bigger plan in the development of our people. Nevertheless, it was a step that we had to take.
So we did a variety of things to break up the monotony. We had contests, games, training sessions, and fun, lots of fun. If we only made calls to hit a number, the job would be boring, no one would learn anything, and everyone would have been miserable.
Controlling Stress Tip From A Dale Carnegie Course Instructor
When I went through the product endorsement for my instructor certification, I spent a lot of the time under self-imposed stress. I focused my attention strictly on passing the event and making it to the next level. As a result, I wasn’t aware of the process.
At one point during the event, the master instructor pulled me aside and asked me a question. He said, “Are you enjoying yourself?”
Of course, I replied ‘yes’. But we both knew I had wound myself up tighter than a cheap watch because the requirements dominated my attention. Engineers get that way sometimes.
But he was wise enough to recognize this. He told me to relax, enjoy the process and stop focusing on meeting a set of requirements. The master trainer said that if I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, other people would easily notice. As a result, they wouldn’t want to be around me. He suggested that I go back and read Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. Then, identify the worst thing that could possibly happen and accept it.
I took his advice and reread Dale Carnegie’s “Worry” book. Once I accepted the worst possible situation, I was free to improve my situation and enjoy the process.
Turns out, my best day was the last day of the event. On that day, I was free from the stress of meeting the requirements and began recognizing opportunities in other people.
If you are involved in a job where you are too focused meeting a goal or performing a task and you aren’t enjoying what you are doing, it may be time to start looking for something else to do.
Life is too short to be miserable.
Do like Raymie and have some fun.