Things change. Are you adapting?

The world has changed in the last year. Early on, the constant sound heard was “when things get back to normal”. As more time has passed and the world has evolved, our expectations of return and normal have changed. The reality is that things may not ever look that same. The key is, do you?

Evolve. Embrace. Change has happened. In business, change has happened and yes, even in the promotional products space, change has happened. Fear has reared its ugly head a lot this year, but don’t let it win. This is not the first year of change. Yes, it is far more dramatic than before but move beyond the what and figure out the how. Let yourself think big, dream big and then build the plan to get you there.

Think of it like you are building a house. You had the blueprints, and they worked well. You even built a few houses in the same neighborhood based on that plan, but your new piece of property has a smaller, hillier footprint. Are you going to use the same blueprint? Probably not. You still love the plan for the house, but it is going to need to be redrawn and adapted for the current situation. You need a new blueprint, or you can’t build the house.

Get out your pencil and your paper. What can you keep the same? What must change? Think about the end of the project, is there a lake view? Will the house line up to take advantage of the lake view, or are you keeping so much the same that part of the house facing the lake is just a windowless wall?

Yes, the change and the adapting are tough! Drawing the new plan will be worth it. Give yourself the view out the window.

The same goes with Sales. Yes, you have had great success in your career so far. But maybe the buyers look different this year and their methods for buying and what they are buying is different. Remember that you had a great outlook and perspective that has taken you this far. What was it? Your charisma? The way you made things easy for your customer? Maybe it was exceptional service? So, whatever “IT” was – keep it. Those are the parts of the blueprint to keep the same.

Now, the needs of our customers changed, and we have to adapt to meet those new needs. It may not be obvious at first, but keep looking and refining. It might have taken you a long time to get the perfect blueprint before and more than likely you won’t draw this one exactly right the first time either. Get out your pencil and redraw it until you are able to line the windows up overlooking the lake. Redefine what you are doing and how you are helping your customers meet their new challenges in this hilly environment. Now, use the parts that you were always good at and let yourself shine.

Embrace your best skills, adapt what you need to, and refocus until you find your new groove.

Happy Selling. Happy Customers. Happy you!

Welcome to 2021!

2020 – what a year it was!  2021 is continuing to be full of changes.  What to do – what to do?  I try to focus on what I can control and what I can impact.  One of those things is self-development, feeding my desire to learn/grow and also to stay relevant to what the industry is doing.  We all drive the bus to our own growth.  But how, how in the world in all of my hustle and bustle day of the 8,000 things I need to get done do I make time for this on top of everything else I have to do?  I am a huge fan of maximizing your time.  Take a look at everything you do and see how you can squeeze it in.  When you’re on the treadmill, when you are waiting in line, when you have some windshield/air time, schedule it, or carve out some of your Facebook time and divert it to your growth and development time.   It doesn’t need to be an hour or hours at a time, sometimes it might be 5-10 minutes.  There are many different resources and formats that you can use to digest.

Here are some of my top hits:

  • LinkedIn – You can browse your feed when you’re waiting in line or instead of Facebook, etc., jump on LinkedIn.  If you are following the right stuff or have good connections, it’s great what you can learn at a quick glance.
  • Online articles – Great place to find out industry news.  Subscribe to those that you connect with.
  • Google news – Like LinkedIn, you can follow certain customers/businesses/people.
  • Books – Whether it be the old-fashioned kind, the downloaded kind, or get this – did you know your local library has an app that allows you to check out books AND audiobooks??  I wasn’t aware of this, and it’s the best thing that I’ve found out about in the last few years!  Hello audiobooks when I’m in my car and I’ve got some windshield time.  I can go through 4-6 books in a month.
  • Ted talks/Podcasts – Another good thing to listen to on the treadmill or when you’re traveling.
  • Associations/Groups – Get involved and be present.

What makes my top 10 list?

  • LinkedIn
    • The Vernon Company 😊
    • Harvard Business Review
    • Simon Sinek
    • AA-ISP
    • Shari Levitin
    • Dr. Travis Bradberry
    • Steve Richard
    • Suppliers
    • Customers
    • Prospects
  • Books
    • The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek
    • Find Your Why – Simon Sinek
    • It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy – D. Michael Abrashoff
    • Good to Great – Jim Collins
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni
    • The Energy Bus – Jon Gordon
    • The Power of a Positive Team – Jon Gordon
    • Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
    • Grit – Angela Duckworth
    • Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar

You’ll be surprised how much time you can fit this in.  Do it – you’re worth it!  Cheers to a great and successful 2021!

The Vernon Company is recognized as one of the largest and most successful promotional product firms in North America. Founded in 1902 by F.L. Vernon, we serve more than 40,000 customers from our Newton, Iowa corporate headquarters.

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