Engage your senses to help you take in what you are currently overlooking.
Recently I was in Texas for the Tucker Rocky dealer show and 50th anniversary celebration and like usual when I travel I brought my running gear. I do this because I enjoy running. I also enjoy exploring and typically consume more carbohydrates (Read: Beer. Thank you, Wild Pitch restaurant) on business trips that I need to burn off quickly before I can’t fit into the only pair of dress pants that I brought. One morning as I was preparing for a run, I grabbed my earbuds and went to put them in but stopped. I thought, “I am not in Texas often, so why not leave my earbuds behind so that I can take in the surroundings through my sense of hearing as well as sight, touch and smell?” You rarely use your sense of taste on a short run unless you trip and take a dirt or concrete nap. Then you have problems.
As I ran through the streets my senses were heightened. I could feel the road beneath me, I could see the path ahead and I could smell the BBQ pit. Since I left my earbuds at home, I could also hear the birds, the traffic and the rushing water at times. Listening to the sounds that I would have otherwise missed, I began to wonder what I was missing in business due to the habits that I have or the filters I have put on? Just by taking my ear filters off I was able to expose myself to 25 percent more of the world around me. What filters do I have that are preventing me from being a better rep, a salesperson, a person? What filters do you have that prevent you from being the best salesperson, manager or business owner that you can be? How much can we grow by taking these off?
Maybe it’s a stereotype of someone coming in to try on a helmet. You go to help them and the customer says, “Just trying some lids on, I found one online that I like and just need the size.” Our filter pops up and says to move on to the next person, this customer is not worth the time if he or she is going to buy online. What if we had a bad turnout to an event, and now we don’t hold events because we feel they are a waste of money. We are putting a filter on that aspect of our business. How about being unfamiliar with a product or practice? We don’t know it so we stay away from it. That is a filter that we all put on. And of course we have the all-encompassing filter of “That is the way we have always done it.” This filter is resistance to change no matter what capacity. Whether it be sales, marketing, merchandising or any other aspect of business this statement is the equivalent of running with earbuds and blinders on.
So, how do we take our earbuds out? How do we shed the blinders and the excess gear so that we can be more connected to our business? The first step is awareness. We have to be aware that we all have some filters. Some are good and keep us out of trouble and some are bad and keep us from reaching our potential. You need to identify the bad ones and focus on those. Next we need to listen to what we could not hear with the earbuds in. Listen to our customers, our employees and our vendors and really take in what they are telling us. Lastly, we need to act. This is not corporate America, you have the ability to turn on a dime and implement the changes that are needed either through yourself or someone who lacks that filter. I get it, you are 50 years old and are not a social media guru, but that 19-year-old kid at the parts counter is. You can see and touch your business and that has gotten you far, but now is the time to engage your other senses that have been neglected, listen to what we couldn’t hear before and take change to the next level.
Napoleon Tetreault is a sales representative with Tucker Rocky, an aftermarket PG&A distributor in the powersports industry. He works with powersports retailers on merchandising, profitability and management of the parts department as well as the education of dealership personnel. His experience includes being the GM of the largest indoor motocross facility in the US, owner/operator of a regional distribution company and current role with Tucker Rocky. He can be reached at: