Never too Independent to Learn

The walk down the hallway led to a door, opening into a massive warehouse-like facility. There standing were these machines, upon what seemed like hydraulic stilts. I crossed the steel bridge to enter the belly of the beast that would be my home for the next 2 days. I had prepared with Ground school training so as to make friends with my new foe, would I be able to master what I had learned, would I be able to fly the Airbus A320. Well, not actually the real plane but a very expensive, Level D flight simulator at the Jet Blue University in Orlando Florida. I was here to see if I could learn to fly an airplane millions of passengers before me had flown in. I would be trained by the best, Captain Wayne Phillips, a seasoned professional who had a great way of making the complicated sound easy.

As I waited for my session, parades of other pilots entered the facility to receive their training too. It comes in many varieties. There are those there to switch aircraft or those that are new to the airline, but the vast majority are coming back for recurrency training. This is where they re-learn and are put through their pace every 12 months to make sure they still have what it takes. Each pilot receives that training from a professional instructor, where the pilot must pass before they can return to work. All of this got me thinking……..

Our Profession of Sales is quite different. And in the world of the Independent Sales Agent, it is as far from the Airline Pilot world as you can get. Imagine if an Airline took the belief that once you got your pilot's license, you were good to go. “Mr. Pilot, you are good to go, you learned to fly 20 years ago, just keep doing what you are doing.” Independent Sales Organizations have to address the reality of learning. It should never stop, because when it does you stop growing. By nature, the Independent Sales Agents are used to calling their own shots, doing it their way. That has worked very well for the longest time and particularly in the Business to Consumer space. Here there was an abundance of opportunity to keep the average ISO selling. Even with the “Race to Zero”, if you had enough activity you could make up for shrinking margins by signing a few more accounts to your book.