As good as we are, we are all subjected to the day to day erosion of skills and effort by interaction with customers. You may have heard us refer to this as the un-training cycle. Even with great skills and a very high closing ratio, more prospects say no than say yes. This can unwind our attitudes, skills and effort. The only cure is to keep maintaining and increasing our knowledge, proficiency, and effort. Hopefully you have a coach that helps you do that.
Over the years we have found that the most effective way to teach new skills or maintain proficiency is through practice. Experiential learning or learning by doing is highly effective. Once again, the sales game really is like a sport. The professional athlete only got to their high performance level through years of practice and development. Professional athletes spend as much or more time in practice as in the game. They don't stop practicing, even if they are already the best on the team. They don't practice until they get it right; they practice so they can't get it wrong.
Malcom Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success talks about the "10,000-Hour Rule". He cites examples of success in music, sport and business. A common ingredient for the highest levels of success is practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. That seems huge but he has loads of compelling case studies backing up the powerful force of continuous practice.
So what does that mean for the professional salesperson? A personal work ethic that incorporates practice will make you more successful. Just like in sports, you need to try new plays to keep ahead of evolving competition. We always say "don't practice with your paycheque" and that simply means try things out and perfect them with your management and teammates - don't try them out with clients until you practice.
In team meetings, make it "real play" not "role-play". Say what you actually would and have a back and forth simulation of common situations. There are a finite number of situations or objections. It's just not sensible to make up something on the fly every time. Like the professional, have a plan, know what you will say, and make subtle adjustments when you are live in the situation. If you are saying my manager doesn't coach me... so what! Grab a partner and real-play some situations to warm up for your day. Practice. Just don't practice with your paycheque.