Continuing on from Part 1 of 3,
Lessons I learned from my 1st-8th grade teachers set me up for sales success, albeit indirectly, sometimes hilariously (and embarrassingly....)!
4th grade: Miss Rock.
Lesson: Sometimes people lie.
This is possibly one of the most difficult lessons I learned in grade school, but one of the most important. My family did not have extra money. So when my mom bought me nice new markers, this was a wonderful and extravagant gift for me. I made the mistake of showing them off to a few classmates in art class. Basically, I was bragging. Later in class, I went up to the teacher's desk to turn in my project. On the way back to my desk, I heard some snickering and giggling. Once I returned, I noticed my markers were gone. A girl I was not friends with held up my markers and told the class to "check out her new markers". Outraged, I told her to give them back to me. She refused and I became increasingly agitated. The teacher came over to see what was going on with us. After I explained what happened, the teacher asked the other girl who the markers belonged to and she said they were hers. All the kids just nodded in agreement. No one backed up my story. I had no recourse, so the teacher allowed the other girl to keep my markers. I was devastated and scared to tell my mom. I spoke with Miss Rock after class to once again plead my case. She said she was sorry that it turned out this way, sometimes people lie. She advised that I put my name on my belongings and perhaps use a little more discretion with regards to my new supplies in the future.
In the sales world, you learn quickly that sometimes people lie, not always with intent to harm. Sometimes they lie to avoid an uncomfortable situation. Either way, the best recourse for this is to DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT. Take diligent notes of conversations or notices sent in resident and employee files (online or paper), document details of each tour for future reference, keep track of correspondence and negotiations with prospects with dates and back up emails, etc. The fact that sometimes people lie is an unfortunate thing, but it's entirely possible to rise above it! (Note: My mom was NOT mad at me of course. She was sad with me.)
5th grade: Mrs. Maack.
Lesson: You've got what it takes!
This was the year the 5th grade got to "start a business". We picked a product, priced it, marketed it, and sold it in the cafeteria during lunch hours. We had to present our business plan to a local business who would loan us our seed money. Our business name was PeeWee's Pretzels. We sold soft pretzels. We had sales goals, profit goals, etc. We were able to use our net profits for a huge end of year party (after paying our loan back with interest!). Every 5th grader had a job, whether it was R&D, or marketing, sales, et al. I was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for our business. This was a big role with a lot of responsibility. I felt in over my head and didn't speak during the first few meetings, though I had ideas and wanted to share them. Mrs. Maack questioned me on my silence. I explained that I felt my input wouldn't be well-received or it wasn't good enough to share. She reminded me that my classmates elected me to this Board because they felt I had what it takes to be one of their business leaders. She also felt that I had what it takes. So what more did I need to feel this way about myself?
In the sales world, our confidence wanes for many reasons. Perhaps it's the 10th "No" of the day, or a bad review that names you personally. Whatever it is, it's important that you remember you were hired into this role for a reason, and that reason is you've got what it takes! Your leadership believes in you, your peers and residents rely on you. You've got this!
6th grade: Mrs. Trick.
Lesson: Take care of yourself!
6th grade is a tough year academically and socially. This particular year I switched schools so the pressure was even higher to try to fit in, make friends, and catch up academically as the school I switched to was far more advanced than the school I came from. I was under so much stress that my hair started to fall out! My 6th grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Trick, saw my struggles before I could articulate them. She pulled me into the hall (I got pulled into the hall a lot in grade school! ha!) and asked me to share with her what was going on. Before I could stop myself, I unleashed tears and sobbed into her shoulder. She allowed me to regain my composure and taught me something that changed everything for me- meditation! We very literally sat down in the hall and she guided me through a meditation right then and there! I had been so caught up in everything I was doing, that I never STOPPED doing to take of myself and my mind. It was life-changing.
In the sales world, we are constantly on the GO. We are guilty of pushing through to the point where we forget to take care of ourselves; we sometimes forget to EAT in a work day- one very basic necessity of life. Hunger pains usually alert us to a missed meal and we will take care of it. But what about our minds? We often ignore the mind's distress calls! Whether it's guided meditation, a good book, silent meditation, coffee with a friend, whatever it is, you must find something that recharges YOU and allows you to take care of your entire self, especially your mind. Your sales success depends on it!
What lessons from Grade School shaped you? Please share below and be on the lookout for Part 3 of 3, Grades 7-8!