Decades ago when I was living in Boston, MA, I had he pleasure of having the Gillette Corporation as one of our clients in our marketing communications services business.
During that time, they were best known as a leader in razor blades and lighters and, in business circles, as having developed what is, to this day, a great marketing strategy – “Give the customer the product (razor) and sell them the supplies (blades). The computer printer industry, as we all know, copied that idea all the way to the bank.
This was also a time when the audio cassette tape was coming into its own, largely as a result of the work of Thomas Dolby and his noise suppression system that eliminated the hissing sound inherent in audio cassette recordings.
Big businesses jumped on this, seeing it as the powerful communications tool it was, especially with a global sales force and it established a need for the services we were offering.
This was, for me, an amazing experience and my entry into the world of the entrepreneur. At a young age, there I was sitting with leaders of business working side by side, learning from them and helping them solve problems. Funny, but that’s pretty much what I do today.
Gillette, like several leading companies, were beginning to use media as a communications tool. Since I had been in broadcast television, video and audio production was a big part of our business back then.
We would produce company information about sales, management, training, and marketing using whatever media fit the job, and distribute that to the field.
This was the beginning of what we know today as “Podcasting” and “Youtube.”
The National Sales Manager at Gillette at the time, Jack Falvey, understood the value of training and development and had built a library of personal development, self-help and business titles and made them available on a lending basis to the sales people in the field.
To encourage the sales people to work on their own personal development while in the field, Gillette equipped their salesforce of some 600 reps with a company car with an audio cassette player installed.
I believe that one of the contributing factors to Gillette’s enormous success during that period was a result of the field sales force listening to the recordings, attending seminars and, overall, being encouraged to work on their own skills and personal development.
It doesn’t take a double blind study to conclude that listening to and reading positive, uplifting personal growth material will help a person to feel more positive, be more motivated, feel better about themselves and, as a result, become more productive.
Study after study has concluded that investments in training and development can be seen on the bottom line.
One would wonder why, then, more companies do not have even something as simple as a “book of the month” club. Of course, many do. Interestingly enough, these tend to be the more successful companies.
Any size business can benefit from investing in their people with ongoing training and development in a variety of areas, especially personal development and life skills.
You’ll find that many trainers and speakers, like myself, offer special pricing in their local markets.
Another inexpensive way to keep your people performing at their peak, is to institute a “Book-of-the-month” club. My friend and publisher, Tracey Jones at Tremendous Life Books, can create a suggested reading book program for companies of any size.
This simple, inexpensive addition to your employee development will pay for itself many times over.
Particularly for the small to mid sized business, an investment in your managers and sales people will payoff quickly in increased performance and, as a result, more business.
Tags:audio cassette recordings,Gillette corporation,global sales force,jack falvey,marketing communications services,personal development,personal growth,sales management training,Self-Help