Re-Location LessonsRelocating was something my family did often as I was growing up. By the time I entered high school, we had moved ten times. All these moves were in the south, so they caused no real culture shock since everywhere we went everyone spoke the same language and had similar interests. The biggest challenge was forming new relationships. Each new location required me to "start over," finding a place to belong and building new friendships. I just made my biggest move last fall, when my husband and I relocated 3,000 miles away from our home on the East Coast to Southern California.
Moving can be very intimidating, and there have been times when I was somewhat shy; however, in hind sight, each change was such an opportunity for personal growth and development, as well as to meet and make new friends everywhere I went! I found that I could take advantage of the opportunities change provided. This perspective has played a key role in my career development, working around the world in destination management and now internationally with EE.
Joining a new company and making new connections is hard work. When viewed as an opportunity for growth and development, I find it invigorating and exciting. My first task is to immerse myself into the team, befriend co-workers and make myself valuable to them. A warm, friendly "can-do" attitude goes a long way to finding a place with fellow employees. Resisting new environments and situations can only produce a negative reaction in those around you.
The Benefits of ChangeBeing open to change allows you to harness the opportunities it provides. Because of that open attitude, I've been able to approach new companies as the new kid on the block with a positive, caring attitude. My frequent moves early on taught me that when I meet new people that if I want a friend, I have to be a friend. From this I learned about listening and being open to how people communicate differently. This is where solid listening skills and a focus to solving their specific challenges pave the way for any salesperson. When you listen, are respectful, and are open to new ways of understanding and communication, you offer a welcoming environment for relationships to blossom.
As relationships grow, you become more relatable and have more to offer. A positive side affect is gaining wisdom from others. This has the potential to help people become stronger and more connected. You also can become more than a friend or business partner, you can become an insider who understands and participates in achieving the clients' goals. It is imperative to hear and share in their stories to build such rapport and solid relationships. By positively affecting their lives, our own lives are rewarded.
So the same relationship principles I learned as a child work well in the corporate world. Early in my career, when I was telling my father about some of the new friends I was making all around the world, he responded, "Some days you make money ... Some days you make friends." This stuck with me for some reason, and after mulling it over for awhile I have since modified it a bit to keep in mind that in business, "The more friends you make, the richer you are in life." Relationships build on respect, openness, and different ways of communicating are strong enough to be successful and enduring in business. They provide opportunity and are more meaningful than simple monetary gains.
I encourage you to embrace change and even seek it out at times. Challenge yourself to be the "new kid" on the block. Have an insatiable curiosity to discover more of what it means to be human. We are all human, with a heart, mind, and warm-blooded body; yet we are so much more. We have different stories and experiences; we get to cover different territory. And, we have much to offer each other by learning together and from each others' experiences.
The adventurous spirit of wanting to meet and understand others may be a common thread among many professional salespeople. I know it is part of what drives me forward - that desire to really listen and care about my clients and help them find solutions to their challenges. I encourage you too to see change as a way to build new relationships, to learn and grow in many ways. In these ways and more, change has proven to be very, very good for me.
Autumn Woods Johnson is an account executive with Extraordinary Events and has extensive experience in the DMC and hospitality world both in Atlanta and Los Angeles, as well as around the world. She holds a Master's Degree in Theological Studies from Emory University. She may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.