The cow path theory....When was the last time you reviewed your processes?

If you have ever been to a farm, one thing that stands out are these zigzagging baths that seem to randomly crisscross the pastures, these are cow paths. These cow paths are created by cows, which are creatures of habit and when one cow starts to walk across the pasture, the second one follows and the third and soon the rest of the heard follow. After a short while, the cows have created a crooked path, a well worn route from point A to B. Often their destination is to fulfill their basic needs for survival, food, water and shelter. Cows walk with their heads down, oblivious to their surroundings, just trying to reach their desired destination, in their case it’s a water source, the barn, and the food source. None of the other cows seem to challenge the path to see if there is a potentially faster and more efficient way to get to the destination. They continue to blindly follow the same route time and time again because that is the way they have done it all along, and in their mind it’s effective. Sound familiar?
I have seen so many companies and Sales teams that are following the same path that they have used for years to accomplish their desired destination. What usually happens, you have an original management team that implemented the path, most of this they brought in from their past experiences and paths they have followed while they were at their previous gigs. In the beginning through trial and tribulation they discovered success, not taking a direct route but a zigzagging approach to the goal. Having reached the goal, they want to repeat the result so they start back at the beginning of the path, and recreate the process. By repeating these paths, they are creating policies and procedures that make up the flow of their sales process, etching the paths in the minds of their sales force. In addition we promote our top performers from within the heard; they are then tasked with training the new members to follow the path.
Evolution is taking place every minute of every day, things are changing and if you aren’t open to new approaches and doing things you have never done before, you are allowing your career or Company to become vulnerable to extinction. If you are thinking about your processes and approaches, you can recognize new opportunities that present themselves. In today’s environment you have unlimited opportunities to learn new and more efficient ways of selling, it is up to you to continually recreate your path. Sales people that are investing in their knowledge base, and applying what they learned, will always create more than those that stay on the paths of the past….
Here is a poem that I found about the Evolution of a cow path and how it can become the norm. Share this with your Sales teams as a reminder to keep your approach fresh don’t get locked down by old patterns…. Good Selling!!!!! 

  Cow Path
One day thru the primeval wood
A calf walked home, as good calves should,
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And I infer, the calf is dead;
But still behind he left his trail,
And thereon hangs my mortal tale.
The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way,
And then a wise bell-weather sheep
Sliding into a rut now deep,
Pursued that trail over hill and glade
Thru those old woods a path was made.
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
and uttered words of righteous wrath
Because “twas such a crooked path”
But still they follow-do not laugh-
The first migrations of that calf.
The forest became a lane
That bent and turned and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road
where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The village road became a street,
And this, before the men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare.
And soon a central street was this
In a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Followed the wanderings of this calf.
Each day a hundred thousand strong
Followed this zigzag calf along;
And over his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one poor calf, three centuries dead.
For just such reverence is lent
To well established precedent.
A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach.
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf paths of the mind;
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.

- Sam Walter Foss


For more information about our approach to prospecting in the Auto business, check out our website at or email me at

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