By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling®
How many hours have you set aside this week to perfect your sales skills?
Flying home the other day, I picked up a copy of the USA Today and was reading about the NFL workouts that are currently underway. I’m talking about the rookie camps and the veteran practices that precede the start of pre-season training for the 2017 NFL season. I thought, these players are the best at what they do, professionals, experts at their positions, yet here they are, early summer, practicing! Most are recruited out of college and are paid handsomely for playing a game that most have played all of their lives. However, what dawned on me is that they don’t just sit around all ‘off-season’ doing nothing. Even during off-season they practice and stay in shape. Even before the pre-season begins, the best of the best in the NFL practice daily. And once the season begins, they practice twice a day, for four or five days before game day. That’s right, they don’t sit around and play video games and wait for someone to yell, “Who wants to play on Sunday?” They are on it! They are continually practicing to improve their skills to be the professionals they are paid to be.
Now let me ask you a few questions:
- How many times since attending sales training have you actually set aside the time to practice and attempt to improve your ability to execute what you learned?
- When was the last time, in anticipation of an impending meeting with a prospect, that you sat down with your manager or a co-worker and actually practiced the conversation you wanted to have?
- When was the last time you took the time prior to a sales call, to attempt to anticipate the questions or requests that you might receive and practice how you will respond?
- What is the likelihood that you will be outsold by a better-prepared salesperson, a salesperson who takes the time to practice their profession?
- How many times can you afford to be outsold by a better-prepared professional salesperson before you have to start looking for new work?
- Is sales call preparation for you simply doing what you did the last time?
- How many times following a loss have you looked introspectively at your skills and actions, to determine what you personally need to do better to prepare to win?
You are responsible for your own sales success. If you want to truly be a successful, professional salesperson, it is going to take practice, practice – and more practice.