THE INVISIBLES … ex-“Top Gun” U.S. Navy jet pilot Charlie Plumb tells a great story about a wake-up call he received one day long after his service in the Vietnam War was completed. Charlie had served his country well. He had flown on 74 successful missions in his F4 Phantom fighter plane before being shot down. His plane exploded and he had to eject to save his life. Fortunately his ‘chute opened and he landed safely. The subsequent 2103 brutal days as a POW ended the war for him. Years later in a restaurant in Kansas City, an unknown man approached him and said… “You’re Captain Plumb aren’t you? You flew jet fighters in Vietnam… you were part of that “Top Gun” outfit based on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, right?” Astounded, Charlie responded yes and then asked “How do you know who I am?”. The gentleman introduced himself and said “I was on the Kitty Hawk too…before every mission you went out on, I packed your parachute“.
In telling this story, Charlie confesses that meeting was a very humbling experience. What he realized was that for all those times he had flown, he had never taken the time to meet, get to know, or thank “the Invisibles”. Those people who supported him all those years and ultimately… saved his life! He never said thank you to the Sailor who packed his ‘chute. There are lots of “Invisibles” in the Sales Business. People who support you, people who do the tasks you don’t want to do, people who make it possible for you to do what you do best… SELL STUFF.
Here is your ACTION STEP…there really are two groups of “Invisibles” that you need to pay attention to and express your gratitude every single day:
1. Internal Support Staff... the people in your company who look after you. Everyone from payroll to the accounting department to the shipping department, etc. Suffice it to say there are a lot of them.
2. Customer Support Staff… the receptionists, the executive assistants, the “techies”, the Help line… everyone. Don’t overlook even the smallest clerk
How effective are you at treating these individuals with respect? Most Salespeople say they are very good at it. Most Salespeople are not! It takes extra effort and it takes an attitude of “putting yourself in their shoes” every day. Here’s the acid test…just ask one of these “Invisibles” how appreciated you make them feel and you can expect a very honest answer. It’s always very black or white. You are either good at this or you are not. Just remember this, it only takes an extra minute or two to acknowledge and say thank you.The payoffs are tremendous! In doing so you will definitely stand out… you will be the exception to the rule. The result is your parachute will be packed with care every time. You will never crash and burn. Always pay attention to “who is packing your ‘chute”. NO Excuses.