What a year! 

I started off 2021 with high ambitions for doing a LOT of extra things really well.  I was going to post a blog every other week, create social media content in a dedicated time slot every week, workout on a regular schedule, and keep my office orderly the whole year.  Well, I didn’t. 

This year has been tough!  I thought after 2020 that 2021 would get back into a normal routine and be easier.  It was certainly different than 2020, but it wasn’t necessarily easier.  It was a little bit like working with one arm tied behind our backs all year.  Supply chain issues, factories not having enough people show up for work, projects being postponed until “normalcy” resumed…we worked twice as hard for the same results. 

The process of opening businesses back up to in-person visits was tough on salespeople.  For those of us with really strong relationships and a healthy customer base it was more of an inconvenience than anything.  That was the case in parts of the geography that our agency covers.  For salespeople who were new or trying to create new relationships with customers, it was near impossible to meet prospective customers and new people.  With so many Zoom/Webex/Teams/GoToMeeting interactions in 2020, it was even hard to get customers to agree to virtual visits.  I don’t blame people for all of this, it was a tough year for everyone.  We were all doing the best we could with the resources and restraints that were there.

So, what did we learn from 2020 and 2021?  Relationships matter…a lot.  Showing up is a key component of being a salesperson, and it’s pretty hard when circumstances prevent meeting in person.  It’s not just that relationships matter when we’re trying to accomplish business goals, though.  What we really learned is that human interaction is important.  We need to have people in our lives who need us, who teach us, who we can serve, and who make us feel special.  It is now super evident that the interaction means a lot more when it’s in person, too.  I think a lot of us took that for granted for a long time. 

Looking back on any year it’s important to reflect on what’s happened.  It’s a time to learn from mistakes and successes and build on what you’ve learned.  I look back on 2021 with gratitude for the relationships that have grown and for the new ones that were fostered.  This year really solidified how important it is to be intentional about relationships, and I’m thankful for that realization.