As sales professionals we usually look outside the box for answers and are always encouraged to think differently, to look further afield for the answers or seek outside help. When the answers we are looking for may be much closer to home than we think. In fact, sometimes the answers could be right under our noses.
We all try and come up with new ideas ourselves. At the end of the day, who knows our business better than us? Your team! That’s right, those people that we rely on day in and day out, sometimes maybe even the people we take for granted? We are all guilty of becoming complacent sometimes when things are going good at work, or even worse, becoming complacent when things aren’t going so well.
Whether you and your team are smashing your targets or completely missing them, maybe now is the time to ask for help from the last people you expect, your team. The question is, if you aren’t prepared to ask your team for help why are they even on your team? Why would you lead anyone whose opinion you wouldn’t listen to?
Take the story of a large match box company. A great British business with a fantastically simple business model. The company went from strength to strength in the 60s and 70s and it seemed from every angle that there were running a streamline business with great profits. One day an employee from the factory floor asked to speak to the management to tell them about an idea he had to make more money for the company.
The employee came into the boardroom and announced that he was about to save the company millions, adding millions to the bottom line with this simple idea but first of all, he wanted a share of the profits before he told them. Company bosses refused, adding that they knew everything about their business and that they would work it out for themselves.
Six months passed and eventually the factory worker was asked back in the boardroom to see the directors. They sat down and agreed the terms of the deal and that’s when the employee announced the idea. What they needed to do was to take away a striking surface from one side of the match box. It really was that simple, there was no need for two striking surfaces, in fact on one alone you could strike a thousand matches, let alone 50. If the management had listened sooner they would have saved even more money.
Another great story is when a large toothpaste manufacturer was discussing how to make more money for the company. The directors had a meeting late one night and as they were brainstorming the cleaner said 'Can I ask a question please? Why don’t we just make the hole in the end of the tube bigger?' BANG... right there an amazing idea from the most surprising and unexpected place that resulted in the consumer using more toothpaste, which sent profits sky high!
So whether your business is flying high or sinking fast, speak to the people in the know, the people who are looking at the little things every day. Not only will you make them feel appreciated and valued, you will learn a thing or two at the same time. I have recently done the same and I can honestly say it was one of the cheapest and most productive tasks I’ve ever done.