Sales & Sales Management Expertise

What to Keep Doing, Part 3 of 3

Tags: sales skills, key to sales success, keep, start and stop

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I continue to learn from my clients and the training director of a large national bank once said to me, “This is what we would like to keep doing. This is what we would like to start doing. And this is what we would like to stop doing.” Of course, all of this was framed up with lists of actions and initiatives because we were meeting to discuss coming years of training content, focus and delivery. However, this simple take-away can be applied to nearly any complex situation.

Some thoughts on What to Keep Doing:

Keep Learning 
As human beings, we continue to age and evolve. In order to thrive and survive, we must keep learning. Imagine if a child stopped learning—say your son turned 12 and stagnated and did not move forward mentally. Of course, you would find this odd and abnormal and you would go to great lengths to uncover issues so that you could fix this.

Unfortunately, adults sometimes do this and salespeople often feel like they know enough about selling. While a sales person may know that he must learn about new products, he often does not continue education in his craft of selling. Yet, to compete well in an ever evolving environment, one must know as much as possible and be well-rehearsed—after all “Perfect practice makes perfect performance.”

Play Like this is Your First or Last Game or Performance 
In the final season of Hall of Famer George Brett’s career, he was asked what he would like his last at-bat to be like—a signature double to right center field? A rocket single to left field? Brett said “No, I want to hit a hard ground ball to the second baseman and run as hard as I can to first base so that every young guy on our team will know that that’s how the game is supposed to be played.”

Prepare as though You’ve Never Done this Before 
It is an unfortunate fact of life that we tend to get sloppy over time. We think we know what we are doing. We think we don’t need practice or preparation.

Captain Edward John Smith had been commanding vessels for over 25 years. In 1012, he took command of an unsinkable cruise ship- The RMS Titanic. We all know what happened. While the stakes in selling do not usually involve hundreds of human lives, we cannot lose sight of the need for preparation. After all, “Perfect performance is a result of perfect practice.” (Am I repeating myself?)

Continue to Risk
Sailing in calm waters doesn’t teach.”  I don’t know the origin of that expression, but it defines this particular Keep Doing.  I majored in physical education while at University of Connecticut. In physiology, I learned the SAID principle, which I believe in and continue to preach.  SAID stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand.  In other words, your muscles don’t grow unless you put them under strain – put them in a position that exceeds their ability. 

I believe our brain power and our emotional stamina work the same way-- In order for us to grow, to learn, to become better, stronger, sharper, we must take on risks, including the risk of failing.  Get outside of comfortable. 

Continue to Fall Down & Get Up 
As we get older and have more experiences, we learn that life is up and down. One day is great successes and the next brings difficulty and defeat. This is particularly true in sales, since rejection and loss of a prospect/proposal/sale is a common occurrence. So, I imagine you have a long history of falling, dusting yourself off and getting up.  

Unfortunately, as we get more tenured in our professional career and accumulate a revenue stream, we can get knocked down and decide to be comfortable with what we have amassed over the years. We can get comfortable because we don’t have the drive and motivation that we once had. SO--

Set Higher and Bigger Goals 
Identify the goals that inspire you to do all the Keep Doing activities above.

  • Set goals that require learning something new or different
  • Set goals that excite you
  • Set goals that risk failure because they are a stretch