(By Bob McCurdy) I met with the owner of three car dealerships last week to recap the past month’s sales results and determine how we might continue to refine his on-air schedule and modify his creative. As it should be with all our clients, this an ongoing process.
The relationship is a collaborative and deep one built on mutual professional respect. Our stations have gone above-and-beyond for this individual and he knows and appreciates that. It is a textbook perfect partnership.
During the meeting, the car dealer mentioned that he had hired a tutor to teach him more about marketing analytics, as he wanted additional empirical data upon which to base his marketing decisions. He then began filling us in on that data.
This man is clearly a “learner,” which is probably why he has been so successful.
The takeaway for all of us should be that if this individual, who is overseeing three large auto stores, can take the initiative and find the time to invest in his professional development, we should be able to as well. The truth is, in this ever-changing, hyper-competitive media landscape, there is really no choice, we have to.
Too many in business have lost sight of the fact that at least as much, if not more, focused study (and self-development) is required post-college. This is when real learning and skill development needs to occur. It is a time when failure results in a different kind of “F” — as in being “fired.”
We are professional sales “athletes” and just as professional sports athletes are required to refine and enhance various parts of their “game,” we must do the same, as our current level of professional proficiency will not sustain our performance and income for long.
The good thing is that it is never too late to adapt a learning mindset, which will pay huge financial dividends over the remaining years of any career. Those who have adopted this mindset understand that there are times when it might be necessary to personally fund this “development.”
Investing in one’s own professional development is simply the best investment anyone can make. Stocks and bonds are nice but they go up and down. An investment in your professional knowledge and expertise will only go one way – up – and will pay greater long-term dividends. This “investment” could take the form of subscriptions to various industry or advertiser trade publications, seminars, conferences, evening or online courses, books, etc.
Shortly after getting into radio, I learned about the dramatic impact “the numbers” can have on my income and determined that I had better learn something about statistics… fast. I hired a Butler University professor to come to the radio station after hours to teach me the ins and outs of statistics for several months, which was some of the best money I have ever spent, when I had very little of it. Over the past four decades there have been numerous other unreimbursed “investments” that have also paid back in spades.
The fact that an expense is not reimbursed should not deter us from incurring that expense, if that expenditure can elevate us professionally. The reason? Our knowledge and expertise is our professional “currency” and this “currency” is exactly why our clients feel comfortable relying on our advice, insights, and marketing recommendations. “Comfortable” clients are more likely to follow our recommendations and invest more with us.
When we invest in ourselves, we are betting on ourselves, and who better to bet on?
It helps to understand and embrace the fact that we really do not begin to take control of our professional lives until we begin to take control of our professional development, so never let whether this development is reimbursable or not influence your decision to pursue it.
This auto dealer recognized the need to acquire additional knowledge to move his business forward and he is doing something about it.
Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]