Modern Day Selling: The Seven Simple Truths

Truth #2: Understanding how to make lasting change

Have you ever addressed an issue thinking that you had solved the problem, only to find out later that it still existed? This is often what I find taking place today within our stores and our sales associates. A store owner may address a morale issue with the staff and everybody seems to be on board. A few weeks later that same issue arises and the pattern repeats itself like a cycle. How about that sales associate who is trying to get their numbers back on track? They attend an amazing seminar and implement the new skills and the numbers go up immediately. Fast-forward a few months and they are down again.

These are just a couple of issues where we as an industry have not been properly trained to make change that lasts. One of the greatest skills I have obtained is the ability to create change that lasts. It all starts with insight into properly identifying the source of the issue. Often times we are not addressing the main source of the issue and are only fixing the issue temporarily. In order to help you better understand, let me share a life experience that perfectly illustrates how we sometimes miss the mark on trying to create change that lasts.

A while back I had my first experience with fleas on my cat. I took the proper step in buying the most expensive flea treatment and applied it to my cat. Things seemed to clear up for a season. A few days later I noticed that there were more fleas on my cat, so I thought that the medicine had simply not worked. So I took the next big step of bathing my cat. If any of you have ever tried to bath a cat you know first hand that this is no easy task. I have the scars to prove it! This certainly seemed to take care of the situation until a few days later my cat had more fleas.

Then it dawned on me that these fleas had to be coming from somewhere else. So I carefully looked through the whole house and found two spots where the fleas were nesting in my carpet. All it took was a deep spray of the areas and then I could apply the proper treatments to my cat and it would finally work. No more fleas!

Take a minute to consider this and see how it may apply to your store or situation. Many of you have your own version of fleas that are tormenting your store. For that store that is having morale issues, could it be that the negative energy or problem is coming from somewhere or someone else? If you can find the root of your problems then all the other issues will simply disappear and die. The current issue that you are dealing with is just the hatchlings of a greater issue. Unless you find the main source your efforts will always be in vain. The problem will return again.

Now let’s explore the sales associate whose numbers are not like they used to be. The first plan of action was to point out the issue and offer assistance in sales training. That did not work! What happened? This used to be your go-to sales associate. You begin to think that maybe they are just washed up and after a few attempts you fire them. Big mistake! What you failed to look for was the root of the issue. Could they be experiencing issues outside of work that are draining them of their passion and energy? Maybe they have a family crisis or issue that is affecting them negatively. The list could go on forever.

All they really needed was a simple adjustment in focus. They already possessed the skills needed for success. Helping them work through their real issue would have been a better course of action. Trust me when I say that the sales associate will eventually figure things out. When they do, you will regret firing them as they are tearing it up at the store down the street. Make sure that you address the real need and issue.

The next step in creating lasting change is the ability to manage yourself. So many people today desire change but are unwilling to put forth the effort and dedication needed to be successful. I find this problem in many sales associates. They simply wait to be told something or given direction from someone else. However, their inability to manage themselves through the situation leads them to a dead end and they resort back to their old ways.

When you possess the ability to manage yourself and find new avenues to success, then lasting change can happen. In the story of the fleas I had to look closely to find the main source. While in the process of correcting an issue it is important to find an alternative path whenever you hit a dead end. This is done with intense focus and examination of your situation. All you really have to do is think about it and find a solution. The problem is that many people don’t think. They just simply give up and live a life of defeat.

In closing I ask you to take a look at the issues within your store and your life. Take the time to explore and examine from where the main source of the issue is coming. Then take the proper steps to remedy the situation. There is a greater depth to this insight that can be found within my books that are published by John Hunt Publishing (“Modern Day Selling: Unlocking your Hidden Potential” and “The Modern Day Store: Creating a Unified Store”). I encourage you to buy a copy for anyone you might know who is dealing with fleas in their store and cannot seem to get rid of them.

Brian Barfield is a two-time published author, worldwide, who specializes in offering fresh new insight in retail sales training. Modern Day Selling offers a unique perspective in teaching sales associates how to reconnect with their customers and how to achieve greater success in their sales career. For more information please visit his website Brian also offers in-store sales training and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..