Smart Salespeople Keep Learning
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Why Smart Salespeople Keep Studying Techniques, Processes and Buying Psychology Should Study Sales Techniques
Selling can be a tough job and on top of that, customers are changing the way they buy. The question is how do the best sales people keep ahead of the rest? They keep learning and challenging the status quo to ensure they have a true customer-centric framework that links the right product to the right customer at the right price.
Experience is a factor. The most common way of acquiring a new skill and improving on it is by experimenting with different ideas and learning from trial and error. Not only can you hone your skills, but you can also identify and scrap the stuff that does not work in your sales pipeline. However, this is not good enough.
We strongly recommend that customers shouldn’t be used in this way and as sales professionals we need to be better. We need to make sure that customers get the best version of us and our solution.
The reality is that to be good at what you do, you need to practice – and that can take time, patience and perseverance. In fact, some experts argue that to master a skill, you need to accumulate many hours of practice and be intrinsically motivated. But most of all it takes bravery to practice. We tend to think of 'role play' every time we hear the word 'practice' and remember that smart alec who made the experience horrible the last time we did it!
The good news is that you don’t need to practice all the time with someone else; you can start by just testing how something sounds when you say it out loud. We are all more articulate in our heads than when we actually say something. The best way to test this is to practice how introductions, product overviews, key questions, key objections etc sound.
There are other techniques you can use to reduce the amount of practice you need when doing something new:
1. Learn what others are doing and get an edge
There are heaps of awesome books about a variety of tools and techniques that can broaden your experience, challenge your way of thinking and open your mind to the kinds of things people do and what is out there. Not only will you be inspired to try new stuff, you can also improve on what you’re currently doing, as well as discover state-of-the-art thinking. These days there are lots of ways to access this information, sources such as books, sales podcasts, audiobooks etc.
For example, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Difficult Conversations, and some interesting reads are SPIN Selling, The Challenger Sale, The 10X Rule, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Agile Selling, The New Solution Selling, and The Psychology of Selling
2. Stay up-to-date
The truth is, it’s no longer about WHAT you sell, but WHAT problem your product or service solves in your customer’s business or home.
Fundamentally, sales are about problem-solving and persuasion – and if you want to be successful, you need to understand how to do both. The ONLY way a customer will give you time and the information for you to truly understand how to add value is if they trust you. They need to perceive you as personally trustworthy and professionally credible.
You need to look continually at building your trust continuum with your personal traits and your credibility, so you can demonstrate the value you and your solution will offer your customers. After all, if you can make the right connections, build trust and provide solutions, instead of being a pushy salesperson, you can be embraced as a trusted associate who is able to deliver results.
3. Develop the right personal skill set
To succeed in sales, it’s not all about the knowledge you have of sales tools and sales techniques. In addition, successful salespeople develop the personal strength to push through the procrastination, fear and uncertainty that is inherent within the sales profession.
Direct your focus and learning around the Growth Mindset to ensure that you set yourself up to be resilient, confident and motivated. Being able to dust yourself off after something that hasn’t worked is critical for success.
Thomas Edison famously said, “I didn’t fail, I simply found 10,000 that wouldn’t work.” He didn’t give up and eventually found the way to make the light bulb work.
4. Train, train and train
These days there are all sorts of ways to access training. The traditional classroom course is still useful, however, there are a variety of other ways to access training. There are webinars that are often topic-centric; there are micro-trainings that enable a 5-10 min. focus on a specific area, there are several eLearnings that you can access through training organisations, tertiary organisations and all sorts of cool, short training programmes on YouTube. On LinkedIn you can increase your subscriptions and have access to their online programmes where there are some great courses on a variety of sales topics.