When you’ve been in a job for a while, working with the same or similar clients, it can be easy to get into a rut. Why not give yourself a shake, take on a challenge and do a good deed all at the same time?
As we all know, a successful sales career depends on our ability to build relationships. When we feel ourselves getting stale, it’s time to introduce a change. One way is to try building a new relationship in a different environment.
The challenge I took
My challenge was from developing new business relationships in market research to befriending someone in later life. My prospect was called George. He was 86. He hadn’t been out for years. He had no friends or family. Sitting alone in his flat, he had no reason to care about his appearance. It was daunting to sit in front of him. “Hello I’m Lyn. I’m coming to visit you every week. I love travelling. I adore taking photographs. I walk a dog in the park every Saturday. What do you like to do?”
It was a slow start, but after a while we found we had a number of things in common. Films we’d seen, music we liked, places we knew. And then there was the moment I realised it was all worthwhile. I arrived for my weekly visit to find George visibly transformed. Clean shaven, hair neat, relaxed and smiling. From then on, our relationship blossomed. I helped him engage with the outside world. He gave me the benefit of his decades of experience and wisdom. Being in his small, enclosed flat expanded my horizons.
Picture yourself in that situation. How would you feel? What is it like knowing you can build a relationship like this? And give someone support and something to look forward to? Isn’t it heart-warming?
Would you like to take on this type of challenge?
According to Age UK more than two million people in England over the age of 75 live alone. More than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. A real problem throughout the UK. Imagine how you would feel if all you had for company was the TV.
Take up the challenge
Why not give yourself a relationship-building workout? You can contact Age UK and join their befriending scheme.
Local councils, and other charities also run similar programmes and many Care Homes welcome volunteers (subject to DBS, etc checking, of course).
From my personal experience, I can confidently say that my relationship with George has been a huge benefit to both of us. It has given me renewed enthusiasm for building quality relationships with other people at work and elsewhere. It has underlined my belief that people are all interesting if you take the time to find out. And it is always possible to find points of connection, shared interests and a reason to look forward to a next meeting.
If you feel like you’re on the sales treadmill and need to refresh yourself, take up this challenge of honing your sales and relationship-building talents in a different environment. Not only will you be providing support to someone who really needs it, you’ll benefit in unexpected ways at work and elsewhere.
By Lyn Roseaman, Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are nearly 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7000 members. Find your local club. Follow on Twitter.