Fable Friday:  Can you sing more than one song?

Back in the 1950’s there was an up-and-coming country singer from Indiana named Bobby Helms.  In 1957 he hit number one on the pop charts with “You are my special angel,” and later in that year the producers at Decca suggested that he ought to come out with a Christmas song, and gave him one to record.

“I really didn’t want to cut it because it was such a bad song. So me and one of the musicians worked on it for about an hour putting a melody and a bridge to it,” Helms told The Indianapolis Star in 1992.

Gregory at Medtronic 10-2010 CroppedWell, you know the song of course, because you hear it at Christmas-time about every 15 minutes on the radio.  It sold 100 million copies and pops up in numerous Christmas movies, such as “Home Alone.” Helms sang the song for awhile on shows such as Ed Sullivan, but despite the popularity and acclaim, he got sick of singing it.

But we still hear it dozens of times this season.  Maybe we’re sick of it too.

Consider the danger to a career, especially banking, if you get pigeon-holed as being able to do only one thing.

I often see people looking for jobs as “commercial lenders,” and the experienced ones are quite skilled. But today, that’s a dangerous place to be.  There’s plenty of money to be made on the deposit side of commercial banking. Why restrict yourself to lending?

Even today’s Relationship Managers will admit their primary skill set is lending and when asked about exploring opportunities on the deposit side, will say “that’s why we have Treasury Management Officers.”

If you truly think like your customers, you should be competent to explore and help with all their needs, not just how much they need to borrow.

I learned the hard way as an independent consultant that you have to be able to do more than one thing.  In the training business you had better be a skilled instructional designer, be able to develop relevant training and hold the room as a facilitator. You also have to plan a business strategy, sell, measure, coach and follow up on every opportunity.

As we come to the end of 2014, maybe you’re thinking of a career change.  Good for you. But if you’re serious, take a good assessment of your skills and ask yourself:  do you bring several talents to the market?  Or will you spend the rest of your career singing “Jingle Bell Rock”?

Think Like Your Customer

About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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