What happened to the calendar and diary? Like me, you have possibly witnessed a steady decline of the two with every passing January to a point this year, when I’m almost at zero sightings. There was a time when the two were all the rage. The transition to the New Year would be heralded by a flurry of diaries and calendars crisscrossing town as deliveries were being made to clients. Possibly you were the well spring from which calendars sprout, and like a standing order your friends and significant others expected their annual dose of the life giving calendar. So critical was this annual dose that relationships were known to die when it was not administered. Today I find my parents generation more keen on receiving the calendar than their children and grand children. Some of the reasons forwarded for this decline include companies cutting costs and the ubiquitous mobile phone aggressively sapping up the calendar and diary space. Whatever the reason, the calendar and diary have lost their sizzle. So what?
Well, for the business owner, be warned: the jackpot of a product that set you on the golden path to the fat bank account isn’t a perennial panacea to the needs of your clients. Never sit too pretty on your laurels. The product you are successfully selling today could be incurring you rising storage costs tomorrow because it is no longer flying off the shelves. Keeping abreast with emerging trends could be the difference between closing shop and opening for business. Those who read the signs early enough adapt. There are those who increase sales in other lines of their business, like Safaricom successfully pushing non-voice segments ahead of voice. Then there are others like my barber, who has started to cater for ladies beauty needs and is looking for space to grow the salon; or, Nakumatt setting camp in the estate where I stay, possibly informed by the trend of concentration in gated communities. Your guess is as good as mine as to what will happen to the kiosks that have always been there. Even we writers would quickly be divorced by Business Daily if we were not current or relevant. Those that stubbornly stick to only the product they have always sold are left with it, frozen in a time warp. Monitoring sales uptake and market trends is an intrinsic part for sheer survival in business.
As for the salesperson, the title isn’t confined to a product-it’s expressive of a process. Insisting that the product you sell is the only one you know how to, is sounding your own professional death knell. If the product or service moves solely because, like the calendar and diary, people can’t get enough of it and not because of any special skill on your part, then be warned- you are redundant; professionally fossilized. You are little more than an order taker and delivery man, kept relevant only by the product. And it’s only a matter of time when the business owner, responding to new trends, dumps a new product on you, for you to sell or cross-sell. I wish I could tell you that he will understand your being adamant that you can only sell the original one; I really wish I could but I won’t-he won’t. For the progressive salesperson, this continual change in products that more effectively meet clients and prospects needs, is reason enough for her to continuously grow in the profession; to internalize the basics of selling to the point where it is she (and not just the product ) that drives sales.
Time has grown beyond the hold of its “custodians”, that is, calendars and diaries. For the business owner and salesperson, let not time overtake you too.
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