shepherd’s pie


Steve Gregory is a gifted teacher about sales management.
Steve consulted to the bank,  and Andrew and I heard his talks many times.
He is the kind of speaker who paints pictures through his stories  to make memorable  points.
One Steve story I have never forgotten is about interviewing people.
Sometimes a person shows up for an interview and you know within the first few minutes that they are not a fit for the role. Maybe they are very reserved and don’t like to make eye contact, and the job calls for outgoing and talkative.
Or whatever it is.
If you have a busy day and you’re pretty sure that the candidate in front of you is not going to be in the top 3 contenders for the job, you may be inclined to cut the meeting short.
I have been in this situation and always, always, I remember Steve telling us to think about every person we interview at dinner with his family that night.
How they will all be there eating Shepherd’s pie (why Shepherd’s pie, Steve??) and how they will tell their family that they had an interview that day.
And Steve telling us to remember that we don’t want the person we met – in that moment over dinner – to recall how the meeting was so abrupt, how quickly it was over, how obvious it was that the job would not be theirs.
Steve’s story has made me pause so many times, and ask a few more questions about someone’s  resume, about the classes she is taking, what she liked about XYZ job, why she enjoys Taekwondo.
Just a few more minutes of respect for a person who took the time to show up for an interview.
And the other Steve story – the one I really want to share today- is about the things we can control in sales and the things we can’t.
Steve’s mantra was activities, activities, activities.
Things we can do.
He told us about going to see his doctor about his sore knee. He suggested to the doctor all the remedies that might work: medications, physio, maybe even surgery??
His doctor said to him, “Steve, you’re overweight, and you need to lose weight. Then your knee will be  better”.
Our class was howling as Steve told us this story, it was so very funny to hear him talk about his doctor’s lack of empathy for Steve until he had tried the one controllable variable.
Steve’s point was to not dwell on the end result, but instead to look for the things you can actually do.
As a student of Steve’s I was a bank executive and what he wanted me to take away was that  I couldn’t control – in any one single swoop – the revenue of my team at the end of the bank’s fiscal year.
It was true then and it is true at Sticky – or any new business: there is no way to actually control the revenue at the end of each day.
There is no single action by any sales manager or business owner that will move the dial from zero to the desired number.
But there are dozens of small activities to increase the probability that the dial will move.
Here are just a few examples from Sticky’s first 4 months of seemingly small activities that in total have really made a big difference to our strong start:

–       Building a team with camaraderie and a desire to get it right for each customer
–       Continually upgrading the store for example faux trees and little tables and chairs in front and more exterior signage
–       Placing ads in the downtown elevators (“Captivate”)
–       Ongoing efforts at social media, both organic and paid
–       Looking for ways to improve the online ordering
–       Creating  seasonal products and changing up the menu
–       Responding quickly and in a friendly way to customers
–       Role modelling to the team how to treat customers
Each  of these items is so insignificant – and that was exactly Steve’s point.
Don’t get caught up in the melodrama of the bottom line. The bottom line is just math, it will be what it will be at the end of each day.
Instead get caught up in what you can do  – and just do it.

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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