Regular readers know that I tend to write and talk a lot about the future of selling. Sometimes, I look at the stuff that’s inflicted on all of us in the name of prospecting, opportunity development, and so forth, and I tend to be pretty pessimistic. There’s just a lot of organizations who tend to do the “safe” thing–what they’ve always done and what everyone else is doing. And, despite these approaches failing, the mantra is to do more.
And then there are those, that think differently, organizations and leaders that are transforming how they engage their customers, how their own organizations work, seeking to innovate with their customers. Every week I get into conversations with creative leaders seeking to do something different and new. Every week, we see the result of these experiments.
It’s what these organizations are doing, that gives me such great optimism about the future of selling.
And then, there’s something else that gives me great hope in the future of selling. It’s students in many of the business and sales programs in our Universities.
Recently, Martyn Lewis and I were invited to participate in a session with Barry Erickson‘s students at the Michael Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. It was a fascinating conversation about sales management and the role of managers in developing their people. Several students have reached out, subsequently, asking questions—some that I don’t know how to answer and force me to think differently.
And, for several years, I’ve been privileged to be involved with many of the students at the Naveen Jindal School of Management. Dr. Howard Dover invites me to participate in some of the classes and programs the school conducts. I’m always fascinated by the conversations, the questions they ask, how they think, and their views about the profession of selling.
It’s through these conversations, I find such great inspiration and hope about the future of our profession. It’s these people that will help all of us rethink what we do, how we do it, how we create value with our customers and with our people.
These students think so differently, and are coming into the workforce with different expectations, aspirations, and approaches. I’ve already seen how some of these students, after graduating, are becoming the top performers in companies, and influencing the programs and strategies of those companies (talk to Howard, he will revel you with great stories.)
Long term readers know at this time of year, I reach out, asking each of you to consider investing in something that makes the world a better place. This year, I would like you to join me in investing in the future of our profession.
There are two programs that are, I think, very important in developing talent in our universities.
The Sales Education Foundation has created a tremendous scholarship program in memory of Barbara Giamanco. $1000 scholarships are provided to women studying selling. Please consider investing in women’s futures by donating to this great program: Barbara Giamanco Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Then, early 2022, I established a scholarship fund for women students of the Professional Sales Program at the Jindal School Of Management. Every semester a $1000 scholarship is awarded to a young woman in sales. We’ve already awarded several, and have funded the program for a number of years. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and talking to each of the women who have received scholarships. They are fascinating professionals who give me great hope about the future of selling. This is my pet project and I am matching up to $5K for any donations you make. Please consider making a donation to this Kookie Brock Scholarship Fund, and gain leverage with my match.
Whichever you choose, it’s a great i Whatever you can donate, $25, $50–these will accumulate and enable us to invest in the development of great women who will make tremendous contributions to the future of our profession!
While there is so much opportunity for us to change and improve, I have never been more optimistic about the future of our profession. Thanks for joining me is investing in this bright future.