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Marketing, Channels/Partnership & Sales Execs [This Network is not currently active and cannot accept new posts] | | Topics
Delegation (not!)Views: 244
Mar 30, 2007 2:48 pm Delegation (not!)

Mark Buckshon
Here's a shocker that proves the rules of delegation need to be revisited and sometimes the best way to sell is to do the thing you do that has nothing to do (on the surface) with selling.

I started my publishing business (newspapers and websites for the construction industry) about 18 years ago. Long hours of 80 hour weeks, for truly low hourly income. I did everything -- writing the papers, selling, and so on.

Then I learned how to delegate, some marketing techniques, and we grew -- to five locations in Canada and the U.S. 20 employees, and so on. Then things stopped working right.

We shrunk and shrunk, getting to the point where we had just 2.5 employees -- A part time administrative assistant, a commissioned salesperson (who had been with us since near the beginning) and a staff editor.

I hesitated to terminate the editor -- feeling that if that point ever happened, and I needed to start doing all the writing and editing myself -- we would be at the end. But times demanded the decision, and the editor left.

Then, in working on a story for an advertising client, I got so fed up with the client, I chewed him out. My only salesperson, on hearing the client's complaint, told me "If I were the owner of the company and you were the editor, I would fire him. Since I can't fire you, I'm resigning." That day, my administrative assistant gave me her notice for entirely unrelated reasons.

Was this the end of my business?

Actually, it has proven to be its rebirth I advertised offering a base salary to a new sales representative, knowing we had a base of contracts to help pay the bills and no residual obligations to the former representative who left without notice.

We replaced the half time administrative assistant with a full-time employee with a strong work ethic.

And I discovered that with new Internet resources writing and editing actually takes much less time than I had thought, and is my best way to help the selling process. I turn my interviews into intelligence gathering exercises and where appropriate, (and reasonable) I pose the business or closing question -- generating many leads and sales.

We've just hired our second representative (I have at last found an efficient hiring system for sales reps). I could have hired an editor at the same base salary, but it seemed a much better investment to hire a salesperson. I delegated some of the repetitive and routine editorial tasks to the administrative assistant, or contract freelance writers.

Eventually, we'll hire an editor. But for now, I'm content to do the work, as the business grows back to its fullest potential. And, yes, I've learned something about delegation -- you need frequent and regular contact and accountability with your key employees -- this is not something to leave to chance or ad-hoc solutions.

(The client that I chewed out, by the way, is happy to do business with us -- and we are generating profitable referrals from that relationship.)

Private Reply to Mark Buckshon (new win)

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