Love, “American Idol” Style

I used to love watching “American Idol” with my daughter Madeline when she was in high school. In the early rounds, in case you’ve never seen it, raw, unpolished singers belt out tunes a cappella in front of three or four well-known professionals whose job it is to provide feedback and determine whether they are going through to the next round of judging. Critique is honest, occasionally biting and sometimes raw.

As they progress through the rigorous system, the comments from the judges remain poignant, often disappointing and stern. Frequently, the audience boos its disapproval. They don’t want to see their sentimental favorites eliminated or even unhappy. Heaven forbid these shower singers face the music and know how truly awful they sound.

But then, something strange happens…

During the final weeks, the elite singers receive less and less helpful feedback and more and more praise. In a matter of weeks they’ve gone from “That was not your best work” to “He’s in it to win it!”

Now, as I have pointed out in my weekly sales tips, there is certainly nothing wrong with praise. But with it must come a dash of commentary designed to improve. After all, no one is perfect.

Everyone needs to know how to get better, especially the best of the best. If you are one of the top salespeople in your company, seek out honest criticism and critique. If you are the boss or manager, deliver it. That’s the only way to get to that next level. There is no finish line here, people.

We get better through meeting challenges. Self-improvement is a constant challenge. We each have our own perspective of ourselves and no one sings poorly in the shower. But we can only improve when we also incorporate the viewpoint of others.

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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