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Change is good

Anyone who has spent time in a corporate environment or has read a business book over the last 10 years will be familiar with the term "change agent."

It usually means someone who is hired by a business to turn things upside down, fix things that are broken, break some things that are not broken and basically start doing things differently. The end result of this exercise should be an organization that is better prepared to prosper in a new business environment.

How does this pertain to the professional sales representative? Most of us are an organization of one or two with no ability to hire an outside consultant to come in and shake things up and evaluate our way of doing business. So when you wake up tomorrow morning and are looking in the mirror shaving or putting on your makeup, introduce yourself to your company's new agent of change.

We have to be the ones to evaluate how we are running our businesses and representing our products. We are the ones that have to fix some things that are broken and maybe break some things that don't seem broken.

Consider how we do training, for instance. When I was in the retail side of the business, I had a very good sales rep who would come in every year to train my staff. He would bring in a professionally produced factory video that explained everything there was to know about his product. After the third year my sales staff begged me not to have them sit through that presentation ever again. This was an important vender for me and a sales rep who thought he was doing a good job, but because it was the same old stuff my people were bored to tears. How many of us are doing this very same thing?

With new generations of sales staff, we should be reevaluating how we do our sales training. We can explore ways of making training more interactive, maybe with Web-based training or encouraging our manufacturers to develop a training video game. This new audience is definitely faster paced and tech-savvy.

Also, look at the ways you use technology. Sure we have all the electronics like cell phones, fax machines and computers but how are we using that technology? Are we optimizing these technology capabilities to grow our business? At some point maybe we should be tweeting and blogging or figuring how Facebook may fit into our communications.

The point is: The process of this evaluation will have benefits in itself.

Let's all become agents of change, break some things and take our profession to even higher levels.

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