Every year, during the Executive Forum and Fly-In, a delegation of member executives from Plumbing Manufacturers Intl. (PMI) travels to Washington...
The trick to having a successful career in the water industry, whether you are an owner or a salesperson, is to not retire until you actually retire. Unfortunately, many of us wander through endless days of mediocrity, no longer working to improve our careers and our companies. We call that being semiretired.
Take an honest look at yourself and ask some important questions. If you are actually ready to retire, good luck; you’ve earned it. If you accidentally joined the semiretired club too early, however, make some adjustments that will change your life and get you back in the game.
The Bible says there is a time to reap and a time to sow. The question is, are we sowing or reaping? People on their way up are sowing, making contacts every day, expanding their circles of associates, getting referrals, trying new things and doing everything they can to expand and improve their businesses.
When you are semiretired, you slow down and feel that you no longer need to increase your knowledge or contacts. If you are living off the fat of the land instead of consciously building an empire every day, you may be semiretired.
People on their way up are constantly learning and improving. They live and breathe their job and industry. It is not what they do; it is who they are.
Have you done anything to learn new techniques or information in the last 30 days? Have you taken a training class, read a book on sales or business, attended a seminar, invested in a DVD or attended a session where local salespeople or business people share techniques? If not, you have been retired for 30 days. The world is changing faster than ever before, and it takes a lot of study just to keep up. Once the mind closes, it is tough to reopen. If you didn’t do something this month to expand your mind or acquire techniques or information that will make you more money next month, you may be semiretired.
There are always numbers that keep us on track. A normal body temperature is 98.6°F. One hundred and twenty over 80 is good blood pressure. There are numbers in our industry, too. At our seminars, almost everyone in attendance agrees that doing two demos a day is a reasonable sales performance, and that closing 33%, or three per week, is a reasonable average. As a salesperson, if you did not close three systems last week, you are semiretired. As the manager, if you have no salespeople, or if you need salespeople and did not interview 10 applicants, you are semiretired. If you did not keep track of exactly how many demos you did and your closing rate, you are really semiretired.
If you are doing the same demo you did 10 years ago, despite the changes in the marketplace, you are semiretired. The world is changing and the up-and-coming change with it.
Customers today are skeptical of salespeople, and who can blame them? You have to involve customers’ senses in order to convince them of something. Selling without a full demo in every home is old-fashioned selling. If you are not developing a great demo that changes with the market and sells the way the customer buys, you are semiretired.
Young, up-and-coming and young-at-heart people in our industry cannot wait to talk to folks about water. They have a passion to share exciting information.
Are you excited? Do you have new and powerful information you cannot wait to share? Up-and-comers feel that way, and if you don’t, you need to sell yourself every day or you may become semiretired.
One reason so many of us fall into the semiretired state is because it is so easy to do, while keeping enthusiasm and current knowledge takes a lot of work.
Look at couples who cannot bear to be apart but, five years later, they cannot bear to be together. Things change, and we are constantly moving ahead or falling behind.
My grandfather used to say, “You learn something every day.” What did you learn yesterday and the day before that? If it was something about sales, your business or your career, then you’re moving ahead.
If you find you are drifting toward retirement earlier than you had planned, it isn’t too late. Take steps now and get excited about the improvements we make in people’s lives. Dust off your kit and learn a great demo. Buy a DVD, attend a seminar, read a book on business and one on sales. Set time aside to read, because an up-and-comer reads about two books a month to improve and get ahead in the rapidly advancing world. Oddly enough, the semiretired have more time but read only one book a year or less.
Get out there and make new connections. Tell everyone you meet about water and offer a professional test of the water in their home. Don’t wait for customers to call you—go out and find them.
Being excited and keeping ahead your competition is the kind of work that successful people find exhilarating. It will keep you productive and young for many years no matter what your chronological age. Best of all, it will not only increase your enjoyment of your life and career, it will provide the kind of sales, profit and income that will allow you to enjoy your life now and retirement, when it really comes.