On a personal level it is now 25 years ago that I started with Synergy as a recruiter. I was thinking about the changes that have been occurring in the industry over that time and I’ve made some comments about the health industry in the past. But this article is more about what has happened in the world of sales in our industry. When I first started as a sales representative in the early 80’s there were no cell phones, emails, faxes or Facetime, what we had were our Filofax® diaries and personality. I recall phoning into the office at midday and around 4.00 to pick up messages and confirming appointments from phone boxes or trying to put calls through from a motel, but what freedom we had. Back then I worked for a Sydney based Sales Manager and a headoffice in France so it was NCR paper (No Carbon Required) which we wrote our message on and sent by courier overseas and some weeks later a reply came. This delay in communication meant that the sales representative had to make a decision for the customer to resolve situations on the spot. Was the customer better served than today’s instant communications, email overload, stress filled business environment? In our much regulated, highly compliant over managed world can we serve the customer any better? I often hear of, and experience the frustrations of having to go to the ASIA Pacific regional office for a decision, or to have something signed off by a VP in an office in Europe when in the past the local organisation made decisions that related to the local business.
What customers want is to deal with someone they can trust and rely on and that means having a frontline sales person that has the personality and authenticity that builds that rapport. So when it comes down to the line not a lot has changed. We like to do business with others that we relate to and the core requirements for a good sales person haven’t really changed. At Synergy it’s the people we work with that give us the satisfaction of doing our job well. We interview a lot of applicants who aren’t going to make the grade in sales, marketing or management and often because they lack the personality traits required for the role. We can train skills and people can gain experience but who they are is a constant.