The final customer off the truck gives the handle a push and the sliding door closes for the umpteenth time. You shut the lid on the laptop and head for the driver’s seat. This happens so often that the noise of the door may not even be heard consciously; it has burned a pattern into your routine that is as unnoticed as each breath you take.
With the door closed and the store in motion, its interior fills with the drone of the drive train, humming of tires, inventory rattle and a favorite radio station – it’s a much different noise then when the store has arrived at a shop and opens for business.
Patterns are formed from a repetitive action: Stopping the truck, placing the gear selector in neutral, setting the brake – a pattern forms which no longer requires thought. Are you running the route each day, same as the week before?
Evaluate your routine
Ever been in a shop for a long period of time when a tech finally spots you and says “There you are – I went out to the truck and it was is locked?”
More than likely we’ve all heard that. When you go back out to the truck; do you jump on and automatically close the door behind you? From a distance that door appears locked, giving the perception of the store being closed. How would it look from across the yard if the door was open only two inches? Much different of course, the store is open! Opportunity?
The shops that we service are only open for a certain amount of time each day, so it only stands to reason that our store should be ready for business during all of those hours.
Your route could be compared to the sliding door of the tool truck if you think about it. How many times has it been closed, when in fact you were inside running slips or looking up parts for a customer? A shut door compares to the time of the day that your shop is closed, projecting the idea that no business is available.
How does the sliding door open? Does it glide back with just the slightest of ease or does it require a bit of effort? Do you find the handle hard to operate or does it unlatch perfectly every time? You probably have never put this much thought into the door that is the lifeblood of your business, or what it could possibly be telling you.
While in the shops making the rounds to your customers, is that time focused on your intended purpose or more of a weekly visit with the usual “How’s it going” mantra?
At the beginning of each day, we are offered a door, maybe closed, but it’s a door. In our world of sales, a closed door is not a good thing – it prevents that instant gratification that sales people thrive on.
How is the door opened? Is it locked? Who has the key? The answer is simple - approach the door because we all hold the key. Once at the door, make an attempt to create an opening. Once it starts to move, stay focused on the task at hand – swing it as wide as possible to provide maximum exposure. Once there, it is your responsibility to maintain that opening.
Lose focus on keeping it open and it slowly creeps in toward the latch that will shut you out cold!
Imagine trying to sell in a doorway that is closing in on you? This situation goes far beyond daily structure in the sales world, it shows how we conduct our lives.
Tomorrow can be the day that you choose to swing that door wide, take a deep breath and realize that no matter what your purpose, whether it be work, play, commitments or living life to its fullest, it is only a matter of time before it will return to its closed state, leaving everyone one of us asking “Did I make the most of what time I was offered? Will I change tomorrow because of what I learned today?”
It all depends on the determination of who is knocking!