My wife and I recently attended the graduation of our oldest grandchild. Listening to the speeches I was struck by how a commencement address reflects on the life of a great salesperson. The messages congratulating the students on their success in high school and encouraging words about the future outline what every great salesperson believes.
Students, faculty and administration all had similar message. “We survived and indeed thrived COVID-19. And it formed the character of all who lived this unique high school experience.” Great salespeople too have overcome the challenges of the pandemic. So think about the common commencement address themes: vision, passion, humor, kindness, and continue learning. And, of course, to acknowledge and honor achievement.
Each Commencement Address Mentioned Vision
I heard speakers extol the students to “dream big”. And to “follow their dream.” To use their talents to “change the world”. And to be prepared to change their vision as life situations change. Because “dreams will change with time.” Similarly great salespeople have a plan for each sales pursuit and are flexible enough to adjust strategy and outcome as they work with a prospect.
What commencement address would be complete without a teacher encouraging their former students to “believe in yourself”. Passion and self-confidence are key traits of great salespeople. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Likewise strong belief supports the passion to overcome obstacles to achievement.
Every speaker combined humor with serious messages. Stories of the events of their high school years reminded the graduates to laugh at yourself. Humor is a tool great salespeople use with skill. Just like the commencement address included examples of the missteps of the speaker, great salespeople combine humility with humor in admitting failure and moving on.
Speakers encouraged students to “find a way to be a positive force in life and work”. Great salespeople demonstrate kindness in every sales activity. We know success comes from putting the interests of our customers first. So competitors are accepted and when possible we make them collaborators. Great salespeople are a mentor to other worthy salespeople who ask. The kindness we show towards others is returned with interest.
Commencement Address Encourages Continued Learning
We heard distinguished speakers tell the graduates: “The end of high school is the beginning of the next phase of your life.” So it’s called “commencement”. Just like great salespeople know lifelong learning is the key to achieving your dream. Take every opportunity to learn something new, practice a skill and pass on what you know to others.
Of course a commencement address would not be complete without time to honor achievement. To prove everyone is worthy of praise a faculty speaker began to list all the achievements possible in high school. With each one he asked students who met that criteria to stand. At the end of the list all of the graduates were standing. What a nice way to acknowledge the accomplishments of each student. Great salespeople are quick to give praise for achievements both large and small.
As the speeches ended, the graduates tossed miters in the air and I wondered in the excitement of the moment what messages of the day they would remember. And how long it might take some of the youngsters in front of me to reach the peak of their chosen profession?
What You Can Do Right Now
- Believe in the lessons of life
- Commit to lifelong learning
- Enjoy the journey