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Matt Nettleton | Indianapolis, IN

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Bees & Merkeets
by Matt Nettleton

With two daughters it seems that I spend most of the summer listening to shrieks when bugs are spotted near them. My girls particularly dislike and react loudly to bees. In order to quell the panic and get some peace, I decided to teach my girls about these gross disgusting and seemingly horrifying bugs. I was stunned to learn that bees can build hives as well on the first day they emerge from their eggs as they can on the day they die, forty or so days later. Bees do not learn. They do not practice. And they do not improve. The nests they build are perfectly functional and do exactly what they have always done--no more and no less. We call them worker bees and they always look busy.

Merkeets are a different story, in fact unlike bees, merkeets are more famous for standing around and chattering in groups. But merkeets can learn. Adult meerkats have been shown to teach pups essential skills for eating. Meerkats often eat dangerous prey (such as venomous scorpions) that merkeet pups are unable to safely catch and eat without help from others. And adults are happy to teach the youngsters how to hunt and survive. But adult merkeets are smart, they only display teaching behavior in response to pup begging calls, and adults modify their specific teaching behaviors based upon the age of the pup begging (providing more assistance to younger, less experienced pups). Pups are initially unable to find and consume any of their own prey and more rapidly gain predatory abilities through learning experiences from a “teacher”, for merkeets adult teaching accelerates both the speed and efficiency of skill acquisition.

As a sales trainer, I can easily sort sales people into groups bees or merkeets. Bees are perfectly functional and do exactly what they have always done--no more and no less--and they look busy. They are content with their results and resigned to their current level of performance. The merkeets are different. They do well and typically have done well for quite a long time. But they practice. They learn and they improve. And they keep trying to do more.

I can't help the first group. If your sales team is too busy to practice and improve and is as good today as it can possibly be, I can offer you no solutions. But if you think your sales team is good but could be better, we need to talk.

At Sandler Training, we help business owners create systems and processes that allow their best performers to become stronger and allow the professionals to continue to grow, to change and to improve.

Is your sales team getting busy or getting better? Ready to figure out if this is as good as it gets? Contact Matt Nettleton, Sandler Training, DTB at or 317-695-8549.

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