Winners practice until they get it right – champions practice until they can’t get it wrong!
I expect I am much like everyone else. I have achieved and then faltered and then invested in myself to achieve again. This is the nature of life. Either we are living and growing or dying and shrinking.
Athletes must constantly train to keep at the top of their game. The physical demands allow nothing less. Fortunately, for most of us our careers are much more forgiving. Of course, for professionals such as doctors, engineers, architects and others, we require they continue their education throughout their careers. The average person – say, a salesperson or business owner – does not have such requirements. The choice is ours to get better or slowly fade.
I have been selling almost since I began working. Whether I have been employed as a salesperson or promoting and marketing my own business the selling has never stopped! Selling is a profession yet most sales people do nothing to improve their skills. Many people – sales people included – seem to believe that the ability to sell is natural and so learning to sell makes no sense.
Many skills such as running are natural – but athletes serious about running have coaches. They study biomechanics, nutrition and become experts in everything connected with running better.
As a salesperson, do you invest in your skills? When was the last time you walked into a bookstore and looked at the section of sales books? Have you ever joined Toastmasters to improve your presentation skills and build confidence? How many sales development CDs do you own?
If you are a business owner with a sales team, what efforts do you make to improve the skills of your team? Do you have an in-house library of sales books and audio / video programs available for your team? Do you conduct training sessions or product knowledge sessions?
If you knew someone who was serious about running would you simply tell her to try harder? I doubt it! I think you would tell her to find a coach, speak to a nutritionist and other experts, get the best shoes, research the best performers, and learn from their preparation and performance.
Where to start? Well, perhaps you can start with considering the idea that selling is a profession and that your performance is not simply based on natural talents and hard work but can actually be developed through skills development and training. Consider if you have been selling for many years that a regular review of your performance may provide an opportunity to get better! If you are new at selling then decide to make skills improvement a lifelong process!
If you are a business owner, consider how much you pay your sales people. If you perhaps put aside even one-percent for skills development, this investment could pay large dividends. Also consider your company’s culture. Do your employees have the impression that they are encouraged and supported to get better? If not, consider the long-term impact on your business. Imagine if your direct competitor invests £500 per year for each salesperson and you invest nothing. What will be the differences in your businesses after two or three years?
Our skills provide our living and the skills of our employees build our business. Does getting better make sense?
Think about it!