we talk about creativity we usually speak of art—painting, writing,
acting, etc.—and rarely, if at all, do we mention the business world. Sales and creativity are usually
not found in the same sentence. We think
of salespeople as no-nonsense suits, serious types—businessmen donning
fedoras, racing to catch the five fifteen. (Well, that’s my 1950s movie version of a salesperson,
sales managers create an environment for their employees, one in which the
salesperson works off a very large canvas and is free to let his creative flag
fly? I don’t know, but they
should. Creativity in any
occupation should be encouraged.
now, all over the country, there are thousands of sales floors that are as
stiff and boring as the Republican Party.
The floor is ominously quiet; there are whispers that are being passed
off as pitches; salespeople are hiding in their cubicles, eyes glued to the
computer screen. Where’s the
action? Where’s the excitement? Where’s the damn fun?
fun. Sales is a difficult profession, but it’s far from boring. The fun element is built right in. Have we forgotten, or are we so focused on hitting numbers
that the air, and fun, is sucked right out of the room?
best salespeople are the ones having the most fun. They may act cool (think Fonzie or
James Bond, or Fonzie—“Hey!”— playing James Bond) around the office, but
they’re having a ball because know how to play the sales game(s).
of the sales floor as a police station.
Your lead detective (sales manager) has photos on the wall of the Ten
Most Wanted (prospects) and you (the cop/salesperson) have to bring these
people in (close the deal). That’s
it. Cops chase criminals and
salespeople chase prospects. Now,
I don’t recommend that we go completely bananas with this comparison (bring a
figurative gun to work, not a real one), but it’s this kind of mentality (silly
as it may be) that takes the stiffness right out of the workplace.
you don’t like or can’t play off the detective analogy, use another one. Good salespeople, like the best actors,
should be dynamic and should have presence. They should be able to work the floor like a stage—their
stage. So what are they doing sitting
in their cubicles, whispering into the phone? Why aren’t they roaming the floor—the stage—with their
cordless phones delivering a pitch for the ages? The sales floor should buzz with energy
throughout the day. That’s the responsibility of both the manager and the
The workweek is show time, not hide time. Catch the criminal, play Hamlet, score
the winning goal, paint your masterpiece, just do something that takes you out
of the Stiff Zone.
A good manager let’s his salespeople tap into their
creativity, let’s them work off life’s canvas. He understands that a fun environment produces more revenue
than an environment of whispers, a lot of dead air, and very little action.
Let the creative flag fly.