Are Employee Perceptions Slowing Your Company’s Success?

Paul Riddle
Contributing Writer
Success Group International

What is the reality of your business today?  Are you creating the success and profits that you’re after or are you struggling to get your company on the right track?  If you’re struggling to create the reality you’ve always wanted, the problem might actually be your perception.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  A roofing company that is a part of Success Group International changed a policy.  Let’s call the owner, Mike.  Mike’s business used to operate under the policy of getting one third down as a deposit on all of the jobs that they sold.  At one point, Mike began pushing to get half down on their jobs.

At the time, this caused some commotion.  After all, no one else was doing it in their market, and many felt it wouldn’t work.  Still, it would help the company to have that much money secured on each job.

Since there wasn’t complete conviction even by Mike’s management team, selling the team on the idea was tough.  Everyone simply nodded along at the announcement, from the veterans who’d been with Mike for years down to the newest salesman; his name was Tim.  They listened, and headed out the door.

That week, sales were good, and as the end of the week neared, it came time for the sales meeting.  At the time, the numbers told the picture.  Nearly all of the sales team had failed to collect the half down on the sales they made.

Mike went around the room and questioned each person on their sales, starting with Roy, one of his best salesmen.  “Roy, what happened?  Why didn’t you get a half down on these jobs?” he asked.

“I just couldn’t do it.  I would have lost those sales if I’d pushed for half down,” Roy explained.

Mike glanced back down at the numbers and turned his attention to Tim, who had just completed his first week with the company.  “Tim, how did you do this week?”

Tim excitedly replied, “Great, I had two sales!”

“That’s fantastic!” Mike replied.  “How did you do on your deposits?”

At that question, Tim confidently looked at me and said, “I got a half down on both of them.”

At that comment, the rest of the room stirred.  Mike pressed on with Tim.  “Did you have any resistance at all to the half down?”

“None at all!  I just asked for the half down,” he explained.  “I can’t understand why everyone else had such a hard time.  All I did was ask for it.”

There it was.  It was possible. It was possible because Tim didn’t perceive it to be impossible.  Mike said, “That’s because you didn’t know any better.  It’s because you weren’t afraid to ask for the half down deposit.  Guys, has everyone in here learned something?  It’s possible.  You just have to believe it’s possible.”

That changed the perception of everyone in the room.  Before, their perception was that customers wouldn’t go for a half down deposit.  Tim’s perception was different.  In both cases, their perception became reality.  The reality is that homeowners will put half down for their new roof, but the key is for the salesman to believe it’s possible and to ask for it.

This is just one example that relates to the situations you probably face in your company every day with either your own perceptions or your team’s.  The wrong perception can create an unsuccessful reality for you and your company.

Once the perception of Mike’s team changed, his reality changed with it.  From that point on, Mike’s company operates with half down on all of his jobs.  That new reality has brought much needed cash flow into the company and has allowed them to complete even more jobs without the customer resistance his team originally feared.

What perceptions are holding you back?  If you know you need to implement a new strategy or policy to become more successful, do it.  If you perceive it’ll work, you’ll be one step closer to making it a reality.

About the Author: Paul Riddle, Vice President, Success Group International

Paul Riddle has over 25 years of hands‐on experience as GM, COO, CEO, and owner of service companies specifically in the mechanical and restoration segments. Throughout his career, he has personally trained the owners and employees of hundreds of businesses, including several turnaround situations.  His hands‐on training for owners and their employees has been in the areas of business planning, sales & marketing, and company culture. Paul enjoys applying his knowledge and experience working directly with business owners and their employees to increase profits, improve the company’s present value, and unlock the intrinsic value of the business when sold. Paul joined SGI in 2009 as the VP of Operations.

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