There is a battle going on within businesses of all types — between value and inefficiency, those who work hard and those who don’t, purchasing and production, and engineering and accounting. This list can continue for days. They are all parts of capitalism and the pursuit of independent wealth and value that make up the American way of life. Unfortunately, often times when the stakes are high, there are many casualties.
Battlefields since the beginning of time have all had field medics. Christine M. Kreiserand, in her article, Battlefield Medics: Saving Lives Under Fire, tells of the challenges and rewards of the field medic over the course of history. One notable mention is the fact that the increase in technology over time has caused the field medic to contend with more efficient weapons.
The increase in weaponry technology has brought forth much of the current medical innovations utilized in the modern battlefield. The field medic has had to innovate and bring their skill and knowledge forth in an ever-changing battlefield. This made me stop and think of the parallels of field medics to the modern day salesperson.
The pace of business today suggests there is a massive need for innovation and creativity within each market segment. This innovation is what entrepreneurs call their lifeblood. This innovation yields the products and services that each company provides for their clients.
Internet sales and marketing can only provide so much in terms of “medicine” — but what do you do when the need goes deeper? Salespeople fill that void and provide the remedy of today and tomorrow. Consumers only buy “things” they need, and as this world gets more complicated, we are all searching for “things” to help us stay in the game, to be more efficient, have more time, and go home at night to spend a little time with the ones we love. Those “things” are the medicine for the treadmill injuries that we all read in the headlines of the business media.
We have to increase the value of the salesperson so they can remain within the center of this valued cycle.
Most clients today are doing more work with less help. Our economy continues to grow, and yet Josh Zumbrun from The Wall Street Journal tells us there are more than 92 million Americans not in the labor force. So those who are still working have to be doing more.
After recognizing that machines, like computers and robots, can continue to help us produce more of what we make with fewer workers, there is still some limit by which we all have to accept as the end point. So — when we reach the end point — then what?
This is the dangerous, unstable treadmill, which runs more precariously at the tattered end each time we take a step forward. It is a necessary part of a growing economy, a growing business, and the growth of each and every one of us. You can’t tell if you worked hard and earned your money unless you go home pretty tired at night.
I call for a full-scale adjustment to the vision of each salesperson in the United States. It is time that salespeople recognize their role as field medics. I think this view would adjust how we approach each client, each problem, and each year’s business challenges (both internal and external). This new view allows us to bring the empathy, understanding, and the value that has been deleted from most sales organizations today in exchange for profit, computers, and software.
The lack of these ingredients has created the “price mentality” and the “bid mentality,” which has become the defensive cloak of today’s buyer. When we realize that our job is to solve problems, we can then recognize the fact that today’s weaponry is devastating. Only then can we rise to today’s challenges and innovate like a modern field medic.
Sales are a trade that will never stop — and those who recognize how the trade works are the rainmakers of today, and will be the rainmakers of the ever changing “tomorrow.”
Timothy Laube, of Clarkston, is the general manager of Pittsburgh-based Kroff Chemical. He works from the company’s Detroit office, and has more than 20 years of experience in sales and business.