Several years ago I returned home after six years in the military. I had my plan in place to go to school on the GI Bill and worked as a night manager for a communications company. I carefully chose the communications field because it had the potential to really take off as a growth industry. The office I managed was on a back street in Brockton, Mass. I never thought about being robbed because the police officers who were walking the streets at night always came in and sat in our back office.
It was about 9:00 PM when a guy came in the door with a gun, a paper bag and mask over his face. He pointed the gun right in my face as he came behind the counter and told me to fill the bag with all the money in the safe. I took the bag and filled it with about $800. Just as I was giving him the bag a police officer walked out from the back office and before I knew what was happening the two of them were fighting. The gun fired twice and the police officer fell to the floor with blood gushing out of his midsection. During the struggle the police officer had pulled the mask off the guy and I got a good look at his face. Just as he started to run out the door he stopped, turned around as if remembering that I saw his face, pointed the gun at me and fired.
The second he pointed the gun at me I took a step back, slipped on the blood, and fell on top of the police officer. He missed. The police officer's face was purple, a sight you don't soon forget. I thought he was dead. The thief must have thought he hit me because he left. As soon as I started to get up I fell again because the floor was covered in slippery blood. I was covered in blood from head to foot. I immediately called the police and they showed up within minutes along with TV cameras and news reporters. The next day I was all over the TV and on the front page of the newspaper. There were dozens of pictures of me covered in blood!
The police officer lived; they caught the guy and gave him 25 years based on my eye witness testimony. My career with that company ended that night. I went home and my wife, who was asleep, woke up and asked how my night went. I turned on the light and when she saw me covered in blood you cannot imagine the look on her face.
That's how fast things can change. One minute I was happy and content with the future I had mapped out for myself and the next minute everything was different. And that's how it is with business, the economy and life.
Although you may be focusing on the 40,000 ft. view down the road, don't forget to come back to the 40 ft. view so you can interact on the status of "today" as well.
As a sales person and professional leader what can you do when things like the economy make your customers worried and defensive?
Here are three things you can do that will make a huge difference RIGHT NOW:
1. Attitude. You have to be the purveyor of good news. You have to have a positive outlook and help your customers believe that things can change for the better in an instant. Nothing is permanent, everything changes and usually for the best. I have had a book on my shelf for years written by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. I only have to read the title to get the message: "When The Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going." We don't grow when things are soft and easy, we grow when we have to reach down for the best that is in us.
2. Action. Nothing happens until someone actually does something. You can have a great amount of knowledge, read all types of positive thinking books, listen to motivation and self help recordings, write down big impressive goals and plans and be no farther ahead than a year ago unless you take action! Make a list of all the actions you can take today, right now, and leave the 40,000 ft. view to those who are being paid to predict the future. Our job is not to focus on what lies dimly in the future, but to do what lies clearly in front of us!
3. Appreciation. You have something to be grateful for right now! You have customers, family, friends as well as people you have a casual acquaintance with. Now is the time to tell them how much you appreciate their business, their friendship, or simply their service when you buy something. Carry a gratitude list with you and take a few minutes to send a thank you email, a thank you card, or make a thank you phone call. Make it a mission that everyone who comes in contact with you feels better because of your presence and positive attitude. An attitude of gratitude will get you a lot farther than complaining about the circumstances beyond your control to anyone who will listen.
You can't do anything about the "economy" but you can do something to affect the economy of your life and the life of those you come in contact with every day.
One person can actually make a difference in the lives of 250 people. Why 250? When someone dies the funeral director prints up 250 cards because that's the average number of people one person influences.
So just imagine if you passed this concept along to 250 people and they in turn passed it along to 250 people. That would result in millions and millions of people having a better attitude, taking action and appreciating the people in their lives. Just like looking down the barrel of a gun changes everything in a heartbeat, someone changing their attitude can have an equal or even greater effect.