Article 1: Examining the concept of a legacy
Today I am excited to start a new series on creating a lasting legacy in your sales career. As a sales professional you have a great opportunity to impact people’s lives in a meaningful way. Every day that you enter your store there will be an opportunity to impact someone’s life by adding a smile or going the extra mile and doing something special. If you stop and think about it, there are endless opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life in the retail world. In this series I will offer some insight into the secrets of my success that have helped me create a positive legacy that will last in my store, as well as the retail world.
Let me first start with what defines a legacy. The definition of a legacy is, “In property law, a legacy is a testamentary gift of property after death.” So your legacy will be what you leave behind long after your sales career is over.
When you think of a legacy, you think of a wealthy person leaving behind a lot of money to make life better for their loved ones. In the retail version of a legacy, it is the way that you conduct your business, share your experiences and impact people’s lives. Take a moment and think about that last statement. Every sales professional will leave a legacy! The question is, will it be a lasting legacy? Will anyone remember you after you are gone?
If you are like me, I am certain that you would like to leave a positive lasting legacy that will help others find success. The truth is that not everyone leaves a lasting positive legacy. There are two types of lasting legacies that you can create? There is the positive legacy that is created where people will remember you and try to follow in your foot-steps. Then there is the negative legacy where people will remember you in a negative light. It is important to realize that not everyone will leave a lasting legacy. Sales professionals come and go, and in time they are either remembered or forgotten based on the legacy they left behind.
Any time that a salesperson leaves your store you can tell what type of legacy they have left behind. Do customers still ask for them long after they are gone? Are the customers saddened with the news that they have left? Finally, do your co-workers miss them? If the answer is yes to these questions it is pretty safe to say that a positive legacy was created. The question is, how long will it last? Almost all legacies will at some point come to an end, but the longer they last will tell you how well you have done in your sales career. At some point people will move on and the memory of the legacy will survive in occasional conversations.
I would like you to take a moment and think of the type of legacy that you have created to this point in your career. Some of you reading this may be new to the retail world and the story of your legacy is just beginning. Others reading may be seasoned veterans with a lifetime of moments and experiences to relive. Either way it is important to think about the type of legacy that you will leave when your sales career has come and gone. Will people miss you? Will others try to be like you? Most importantly, will you be remembered?
In my reflection on my sales career I discovered that it was important to me to leave a legacy that makes a difference in people’s lives and helps people out. I want my legacy to be more that just my customers or co-workers missing me. The goal in my legacy is to impact the retail world in a positive way by adding value to the concepts of the way we conduct business and connect with our customers.
Long after I am gone I want my message of overcoming fear, exposing greed and selfishness, and conducting business with the core principles of trust, honesty and integrity to survive. I want my customers to remember me as someone who served them rather than sold them. It is important that the passion and energy that I sell with impact my customers’ lives in a positive way and they remember me. Finally, I want my co-workers to continue on creating the positive store environment that we have created and set as a road map for other stores to achieve greatness.
I sometimes wonder if people will still read my books or articles long after I am gone. Will my legacy create a positive impact in stores across the world? Time will tell, but I have a vision and a goal of what I want my legacy to be. With the proper mind-set and purpose it has driven me this far and I have enjoyed the ride.
In closing I will share with you a lasting negative legacy that I have witnessed. Our store had a sales professional who was very good at creating sales and bringing energy to the store. When he was there and on his “A” game he was very good. However, this sales professional had a problem of calling in sick with bogus excuses all the time, which left the store in a bind and often short-handed. Because of this one person’s actions new policies were made up that made it tougher to get time off and the whole store suffered for a while. To this day whenever he is remembered it is always the negative lasting legacy that he created that is remembered. All the good that he did was overshadowed by this negative action of calling in and letting down the team on a regular basis. We even made up a Christmas jingle called “The Twelve call-ins of _____.”
It is important to understand that we all have weaknesses and flaws. That is part of being human. However, if in your reflection you see an area like this that could cause you to leave a lasting negative legacy, I encourage you to address it before it is too late. The bottom line is that most people want to leave a positive legacy and be remembered in a positive light.
Over the next few months I will share with you ways to create a positive legacy that will last over time.
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 www.moderndayselling.com. Brian also offers in-store sales training and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.