This is a very thought provoking question and one I’d like to ask many of my colleagues. I’m sure the answers will be all over the board. Enter a sales position for the first time is pretty unnerving, especially when you don’t have anyone close to you that can mentor you. I was lucky enough to have one of the best sales managers a 1st year sales person could ask for, David Arcury. He is a master sales person and has a lifetime of experience. Literally, it’s the only profession he’s ever been in. Most importantly, I liked to share his knowledge and experiences because he really loves the profession. I got dipped in the tank immediately and routinely would come for air. Only to be thrown back in, but Dave was always right there lend a word of advice or laugh about how I handled a situation. Which brings me to what I would tell myself. I would tell myself to prepare and practice. This is probably not an answer you’ll get from too many professionals, but the really great sales people practice all the time. It’s just something I was not used to doing not knew what or how to practice.
To Prepare and Practice
David would often role play with me and I would get frustrated. Or I’d get hung up or yelled at when on the phone. This didn’t deter me. Though looking back, if I had prepared my cold call script and practiced, I would have had more success. The gameplan I chose instead was one of winging it and making it up as I went. Always falling back to price. Doing this allowed me to win some, but I lost most of the deals.
Because I was winging and didn’t have script or process to follow, everything was inconsistent. My pitch. My messaging. My value props. Worst of all, my results and commissions! Though I didn’t accept how important preparing and practicing were until much later in my career, I reap the rewards of it now. This is one of the reasons I chose the name of SalesShifu for this site. Kung Fu and sales cross right at that intersection of prepare and practice. You will never be able to do moves like Bruce Lee by winging it. It’s just flat impossible. Sales is no different. If anyone, especially older sales person says it hogwash, that they never practiced and they made a living for 30 years in sales. It’s only because they practiced a lot on prospects when they were younger. Though from their point of view it was just failures to get orders and learning experiences. The point is they were practicing, just with the wrong audience.
Are you preparing everyday for your calls and appointments? Do you practice your selling skills with a friend or colleague? Or do you do practice on your prospects and buyers?