More Cowbell, Please!

The end of the month was looming. It was May 29th and it looked as if we were going to be $30,000 short of reaching our monthly sales goal (which is 10% over the last four-year-average). Though disappointed, we were still proud of ourselves for getting so close.

An Old Friend

A few years back, I took a leap of faith and hired for a new position, a sales assistant position. My thought was that this new person could help streamline and alleviate some of the busy work of my sales staff, thus freeing up my experienced salespeople to use their time more wisely; ie. selling. It worked. Sales increased, morale increased, and a team atmosphere was garnered.

The new hire was an old friend of mine and once roommate. In her youth, she’d been a cheerleader. As for her career experiences, she’d had many: a waitress (that’s how we met), a salesperson, schoolteacher, family ministry consultant and contractor assistant at Home Depot. 

You never know how the experiences in your life are going to one day be useful. Pulling on these past life experiences, she immediately began to turn the sales office into her classroom by posting inspirational sayings, pictures and sales thermometers across the wall. At one Monday morning sales meeting she dressed in her cheerleading outfit to celebrate reaching our monthly sales goals and performed a cheerleading left herkie jump and toe touch.

Rather than just measuring the total of monthly sales, she initiated a way to measure and celebrate our daily successes by giving a gold star to the top seller of the day, a silver star for second place and a funny poo-poo platter sticker for persons with a zero sales day total.

The Bells, the Bells!

Today, she has found a way to bring the whole company into the fun by enacting a daily bell ringing system. It began with one small cow bell, that was rang over the loudspeaker, during the day, when we reached the sum of $10k sold. Eventually, a bigger bell was added with a deeper tone, for when we reached a $20k sum. The staff began to count bells and listen for tones. I’m happy to say, last year she got an even bigger, deeper-toned cow bell, that we occasionally ring for a $30k day.

Now the whole company knows and celebrates our successes. When the $10k bell rings early in the day, optimism abounds, knowing a second bell is a possibility. Everyone walks with a little bounce in their step, a sense of pride and job well done by all. When we go days without a bell ringing, like in December, we seem to all walk round-shouldered, looking at the floor and worry about layoffs.

This month a very happy thing happened: we added a fourth bell. Well not really a bell, more like a gong. And to celebrate this new occurrence she bought everyone a tee-shirt and put up new posters that, like Christopher Walken on SNL, say “More Cowbell.”

I’m happy to report that, on May 31st, we got to ring the third bell and made our goal.