Over the last few months we have been looking at the importance of developing a great presentation through preparation, planning, developing a great questioning process and how to ask for the business.
All this theory sounds good however the challenge for many salespeople is they believe because they have been in sales for many years there is nothing new they need to learn, after all they have “x” number of years of sales experience. What they tend to have is one years sales experience repeated “x” times.
Steven Covey talks about the need to constantly “sharpen the saw” as one of the 7 habits of successful people. What he is talking about is taking time for personal and professional development.
Many professionals are obliged by their professional bodies to invest so many hours each year in these areas.
The definition of professional is: Member of profession. Somebody whose occupation requires extensive education or specialized training and a high standard of ethical behaviour.
Salespeople can certainly differentiate themselves by becoming professional at what they do.
I often ask teams I work with who their favourite sales author is. More often than not I am met with a stony silence – interesting.
I was reading an article by Dave Kahle a renowned sales trainer in which he states that in his experience only one in twenty salespeople he had worked with had spent $25 of their own money on their own improvement in the previous 12 months.
The point I am driving at is in today’s selling environment only the most professional salespeople will survive and do consistently well.
If we look at the most successful people in business and spot one of the commonalities they have it is they are constantly seeking perfection in their chosen field through personal and professional development and practice, practice, practice…
One of the greatest myths about the sales profession is the salespeople can learn on their own out in the field as long as they have good product knowledge. Hence the focus in many companies on product training with sales stills training tacked on the side.
You wouldn’t hire someone and immediately put them in charge of a $200,000 machine and yet many companies put reps on the road with minimal sales processes and skill sets and send them off to see prospects that could have a lifetime value of $200,000 plus.
There are very few “natural born salespeople” in this world – 95% of the most successful salespeople have been professionally trained and follow a process.
The majority of untrained field salespeople perform at a fraction of their potential because of lack of systems.
I used to be a keen shooter and one day I dismantled a gun to thoroughly clean it. When I began to reassemble it there was a spring system that wouldn’t go back in. Being the determined person I am I spent hours working on it and after days of frustration I gave up and took it to the gunsmith who reassembled it in two minutes!
The point is he was a thoroughly trained professional whereas I thought I knew what I was doing – so it is with many salespeople who have learned on the job.
I will continue with this very important topic in my next article.
Quote of the Week –
You are what you are and where you are because of what’s gone into your mind.
You can change what you are and where you are by changing what goes into your mind.
Brett Burgess is a Sales Trainer and Programme Developer for Sales Impact Group Limited