Get Better at Getting Better

Change sales habits to increase sales performance and maintain sales development momentum.

Personal Development for Sales Development

You may have heard the story about Robert the Bruce, a Scot who watched a spider spin its web. The wind broke the web and the spider started over, again and again and again. It didn't matter how many times the spiders web was broken. It kept on trying to rebuild it. The spider was so busy re-building its web, it didn't take any time to reflect and learn. Had the spider the faculty of learning, it would surely have spun its web some place else!

Sales development demands continued attention lest best practice slips into disuse or becomes old hat and ineffective.

Whatever we do now, personal development must involve changes to the way we think and react to your environment. It takes effort to effect personal change. Examining the potential benefits helps stoke up motivation.

In developing SalesSense training material, we study the skills and habits of exceptional people who, in their time, learnt from other exceptional people. Courses are designed to help participants take more control in their sales roles and achieve more of what they set out to. Good training provides an accurate and detailed map that will reveal the route to outstanding performance.

Obtaining knowledge is easier than developing skills. If being competent in a skill was simply a matter of understanding it, we could dispense with driving tests in favour of a simple written exam.

Remember the first time you drove a car. Did the controls seem awkward at first? It takes some practice to acquire new physical skills but it is not very complicated. The outcome of a hill start depends on balancing engine power against clutch control. Too much aggression results in wheel spin or a jerky start. Hesitance results in the engine stalling or excessive clutch wear. The feedback is consistent with the action.

The skill of persuasion or even being understood is much more complex. For one thing, there are no 'L' plates to alert others that you are trying something new. If there were, any allowance given would interfere with the result and render observation useless. The personality and circumstance of our guinea pigs has a big impact on the results of any attempt to practice new communication skills. Each of us already has years of experience talking to other people. Our individual communication technique is deep seated and resists change.

Knowing the 'how' is not enough. Wanting change is not enough. Because our unconscious mind must do the learning, effecting personal change takes deliberate effort and repetition.

In selling, we have ideal opportunities to practise. Observing the effect of what we say and do and adjusting our behaviour to improve results, is an essential habit for top sales people. Without it, we quickly reach the apparent limit of our ability. Exceptional sales people are always looking for ways to develop their skills and habits.

There are many different ways of learning. Seeing, hearing, doing, and debating to name a few. The most affective way of acquiring knowledge is to make it your own. Use your own words, pictures, and actions to personalise the information. Question it to increase the depth of understanding. Paraphrase it because people remember their own words and ideas better than anyone else’s. Review and use it to help seat it in long-term memory.

Motivation comes from connecting the use of new methods, practices, or skills with desired outcomes. Until the link is proven and reinforced by experience, it is easy to break. Discipline is necessary to establish new learning as productive habits. Without prominent reminders in diaries and 'to do' lists and the discipline to follow through on commitments, new learning evaporates. Recognition and rewards aid progress. Persistence leads to the ultimate reward - expanded competence.

Personal development in any form offers rich rewards because it naturally leads to sales development and increased earnings, performance accolades, promotion, increased certainty, more variety, more freedom, more personal time, better relationships, and more excitement.

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Article by Clive Miller

If you are looking for ways to increase sales performance, inspire learning, or increase sales development activities, we can help. Telephone +44 (0)1392 851500. We will be pleased to discuss your needs or talk through some options. Send email to custserv@salessense.co.uk for a prompt reply or use the contact form here.

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