As we near the end of the year, evaluate the past, and set goals for the present, I updated this blog. . . .
Please do not take this the wrong way—to use the analogy of a "sales rep for the Kingdom of God" is not meant irreverently at all—it is meant to provide an analogy that may help all of us be a better witness for Jesus. Jesus used many analogies with the professions he knew well to illustrate his messages; I am attempting to follow his example here with an analogy meant to challenge all of us to take seriously the message with which we have been entrusted.
Basis for the analogy
For fourteen years, the RISO Corporation sponsored many of my church communication seminars, as I traveled and taught all over North America. I spent many hours with sales people during that time. From working with some extraordinarily fine people in the sales profession I learned a lot about what makes a successful sales person and I learned many of those characteristics transfer directly to sharing our faith.
What prompted the connection
I often encourage church communicators to measure the success of their communication efforts by using concrete criteria. The topic of measuring success got me thinking about what makes a successful or unsuccessful sales person.
One complaint I heard from sales managers was about a would-be sales person who made lots of sales calls, was friendly, personable, and well-liked, who perhaps did a few demonstrations, but in spite of all the good looks and activity, never closed deals.
Salespeople like that didn't last long. Activity doesn't count. Leaving people with a nice feeling about your product or thinking that you are wonderful doesn't mean success. The primary thing that matters in the sales profession is closing a deal. After the deal is closed; the second most important thing is that the customer learn how to use the product successfully. It is only when the customer can use your product on their own and is pleased enough with it to tell their friends about it, does the true professional sales person call it a job well-done.
If a salesperson cannot close deals, train customers in the use of the product, and receive satisfied referrals—that salesperson is fired.
Can we do less?
We have been entrusted with the words of eternal life. One day we will give an account of what we have done with that trust. Our responsibility is far more eternally significant than being entrusted with any earthly product, no matter how valuable it might be.
For the time that is given to us and for the communication opportunities that we have, we do well to do some self-evaluation. To check, we should evaluate what results have come from our communications which are, in many ways, our sales materials for the faith? Ask your church these questions:
- Do we communicate for results or create primarily what we like to see and makes us feel good?
- Do we set goals in concrete numbers of people to reach? The Holy Spirit is ultimately responsible for results, but how unchurched people actually hear the good news about Jesus from us?
- Do your people know what it means to "close with Jesus?"
- Are we like a sales person who sells and disappears, or do we follow-up to make certain a new believer knows how to live the Christian life effectively?
- How many people in the last year, because of your church and your communications, come to know Jesus as Savior, made progress in growth and told friends about Him?
- If you don't know or don't like the answers to these questions, why not?
Work for a great job review
My goal on this site is to give inspiration and instruction to help you create communications that will not result in termination, or a final review that is a rebuke, but that will result someday in hearing Jesus say: "Well done, good and faithful servant."