Effective Sales Training Is A Process, Not An Event
Effective sales training is like Weight Watchers. It’s not an event, it’s a process. Ineffective sales training can be compared to crash diets where you gain short term momentum, but the results cannot be sustained.
Think about it. Whenever people decide to lose weight quickly, it never seems to stick. Why? Because they didn't alter their lifestyle. They relied on a short-term solution to get a long-term effect, and honestly, it never works.
The same is true for Sales Training, especially in a consultative sales environment. Consultative Selling is a philosophy - a corporate "lifestyle" - and it needs to be embraced by everybody within the organization, ideally from the top down, and bottom up.
People (especially adults) don’t learn in a day or two and changing our behavior takes a long time. Only if we apply and practice on a daily basis will we be able to change the way we eat, exercise, sell, you name it.
There are good dietary concepts available and also good sales training programs that last a day or two, but the challenge is to stick with it.
It is the constant application of best practices that will shift the way we do things.
Every single time we call on a prospect, we should do our research first and prepare to ask strategic questions.
Preparation is key. When we actually have an objective for every single call/meeting, we will be able to work toward a goal. We will also be able to gauge our success. If the goal for a call is to gain commitment for a follow-up step, then we will quickly discover if we met that objective.
Preparation is also important when it comes to lifestyle changes, such as weight loss. Having healthy foods available (whether it’s at home, in the office or on the go) is also part of preparation. It’s easier to reach into your purse and grab a bag of nuts than to be tempted to buy a hot dog on the street, because you feel starved.
The goal is to get to a point where what we do is deeply engrained in our thinking that it becomes second nature. I like to compare it to driving a car with stick-shift. As long as we think about shifting the gears, we are not able to pay attention to traffic, pedestrians, etc.
The lesson here is that you can teach an old dog new tricks, but only over time.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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