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A High Powered Application of Caring

At a sales conference I recently attended, I watched a sales manager pass out sales awards to his global sales team. He passed out thirty-nine separate awards. There were three to five people nominated or eligible for each of the awards.

This sales manager announced each of the nominee’s names, and then he rattled off some personal fact about the individual, how long they’d been with the company, their annual sales figure, their highest monthly sales figure, as well as the number of months that they reached a sales figure over a certain amount.

He did all of this from memory. No notes. No slide deck.

It was an impressive display, to say the least. I pressed him as to why he went to such great lengths to do all of this from memory when most people would have been content to use notes. He didn’t offer up much, so I pressed him a little more and he told me a story. It’s a short story, but it explains everything.

When this sales manager was selling for another company, he won the national award for producing the highest sales. When the principal of the company presented him with the award, the principal didn’t know his name. Literally. He had to prompt someone to give him the name. Now that this sales manager has his own team (and it’s a massive team), he makes it a point to know all of his people by name, their spouse’s name, as well as all kinds of personal details.

Why does he go to such lengths? He does this because he cares. It’s the company’s culture to care about their people, and this is just one demonstration as to how they manifest caring. But it’s a staggeringly powerful display of caring about people. No one wants to be anonymous. No one wants to be a transaction. Everyone has the need to be acknowledged, to be significant, to matter.

Sometimes the most powerful lessons you will ever learn come from having a bad manager or leader. If what someone else once did hurt you, doing the exact opposite is a safe bet.

The power of caring is unmatched in it’s power—both inside and outside of the company. It’s the foundation of trust. And it breeds results.


What does it mean when you remember someone’s name?

Does it mean something if you forget?

How do you ensure that people know you care about them?

How important are the details?



  • Charles H. Green

    Great story. A friend of mine, CEO of a small company, volunteered to teach an MBA course at Babson College. No fees, no recruiting upside for him, purely volunteering.

    I spent the weekend with him before his second day: he had me drill him for two hours on flash cards he’d put together with each student’s photo (he had taken each one), name, and undergraduate school. This for about 60 students.

    I asked him why he spent so much time doing this, and his answer was very much like your sales manager: because, he said, people would really appreciate it, and would likely attend all his classes thereafter – starting with number two, if only to see if he could pull it off!

    He did, and hardly anyone ever skipped class. Again, a great gesture of caring, and greatly appreciated.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      I’ll try it, Charlie!

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  • Steve&Janice TC

    We had the wonderful privilege of attending this conference our 9th consecutive time. Malcolm never ceases to amaze us with his knowledge as he cares so much not what you expect from a sales director. There again TC are a unique family of around 1200 people who are more like a family. Thank you Anthony for being such an inspiration too. What you shared with us on Saturday and Sunday changed both our perspectives on what we do and how we do it. We are no longer Travel Agents but value creators and we expect to have our best year ever. I faced my fears on Monday and signed up to my first network and have my first 40 seconds next Thursday at the breakfast meeting. Thank you for your time and we hope to hear from you again over the year and at our conference again next November.