Back in 2006 All Pro and future Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was asked how the Bucs handled Falcons QB Michael Vick so easily. His response was, “Everyone thinks we have this magical defense we pull out every time we play Michael Vick. We don’t. We do what we do.” These are five simple words, but stunningly succinct.
Having been a salesman most of my life, I know the art of the sale requires convincing successful businesses that they are doing something wrong. Most sales people do not create need; they just try to convince you that something you are doing or using can be done better. In the world of 3PLs that means convincing businesses that their shipping processes are broken, or that the people who are implementing the processes are wasting time and money using antiquated systems or even worse, no system at all. It is our job to convince these businesses that with our help, they could do what they do more efficiently. You would think this is a relatively easy task. Each week during sales meetings, we ask our reps why it’s taking so long to close these deals. After all, the business owners are smart; they must see the advantage to having experts like us handle the supply chain or shipping processes. By allowing us to do what we do, they can do what they do.
But over the last few weeks, I have seen why this is so difficult. At BlueGrace, we had an internal need for some technical documents. This need was unmet for a few months. Finally, I decided to outsource this to a Technical Writer at the cost of more than a few dollars. One after another, the VPs said, “Why are we outsourcing this? We have more than enough qualified and talented people working for us, and we can do this on our own.” My reply was, “If that was the case, why haven’t we finished yet?” Last week the Technical Writer worked with us for a week, and we will have our document shortly. Even people like us who spend their days trying to convince others to let us do what we do couldn’t let go to allow someone else to do what they do.
Letting go is hard. It’s hard to admit that someone can do things better than you. But successful businesses know that letting go of non-primary tasks will help them stay successful.