No matter how long I’ve been training and coaching salespeople, it really frustrates me when people feel they know all there is to know and they believe there is nothing they can learn which will improve them. Often, the longer someone has been selling, the more likely they are to think this way. In my experience this thought process is limiting (and, dare I say it, typically those who feel they know it all have the most to learn!)
Irrespective how long we’ve been selling and how much we may know already there is always something that we can get from listening to a speaker, attending a good training session and/or from reading a sales book.
Typically there are 3 types of learning and knowledge that we can experience:
A) the things that we already know and do, yet we could do them better
B) The things we already know … and yet don’t do
C) new things
Looking at these in more detail:
A) the things we already know and do, yet we can do better is all about taking a step back and challenging our existing knowledge and abilities. As the old saying says, ‘if you always do what you’ve always done do you always get what you’ve always got!’ As salespeople we should constantly be looking to improve and in order to improve results we need to improve the actions we take to achieve those results. If you are an experienced salesperson and you hear, read or attend a training session where somebody talks about something you already do, then the challenge is to think about how you do it and how you could do it better. Identify opportunities for improvement, make changes and then monitor your success. Invariably if you make positive changes you will achieve positive results
B) the things we already know and yet don’t do is something that drives me crazy! The amount of times I have stood in front of people and talked about things that they can and should do in selling and members of the audience have nodded their heads and said, ‘yes, we know we should’ and ‘we know how to do it’ and yet they don’t!!! Interestingly enough when I ask the question, more often than not I am told that people will have done the things I’m talking about, they will have worked and then they will stopped doing it. Typically this boils down to people being creatures of habit. Even when we are shown more successful ways of going about what we do, because it isn’t what do usually do people don’t get comfortable and as a result they don’t develop new habits.
When you hear, read or attend a training session where somebody talks about something you know and yet don’t do, simply commit to doing it. Do it repeatedly until it becomes a habit. Then, when it does it falls into category A where all you have to do, periodically is challenge the way you do it and look to do it better, to achieve continuously better results.
The third type of learning/knowledge we can get falls into the category of (C) new things. Whenever I run a training session invariably there will be people who are looking to learn something new. Whenever I ask people at the beginning of the session what they would like to get from it, the most popular answer I get is, ‘something new’ and then interestingly when I tell them something that is new invariably most people spend time and energy explaining why it won’t work for them! (Note – it isn’t typically new, just different, as there really is very little that is new in selling as it is the oldest profession in the world!) The reason for this falls into the same category as it did learning type B, that we are asking them to do something that is not comfortable, not habitual and is therefore stretching them. As most human beings are creatures of comfort, we don’t like things that take us out of our comfort zone!
Where something in there is different to what you already do, resist the temptation to justify why it will not work for you and instead challenge yourself to see how it can be applied. Instead of asking, ‘can I do this?’ ask a better question, ‘how can I do this?’ and look for answers. Where possible develop a range of answers to the, ‘how can I do this?’ question and put each into practice. Evaluate the results you get and where the results are positive, they now fall into category B learning whereby we just have to make it a habit and eventually into category A where we just have to challenge ourselves to do it better and better.
Do this and you’ll find there is always something to learn, always a way in which you can improve, and when you improve you’ll find your results, earnings and rewards improve as well.
I wish you success in all you do!