I was never supposed to be a sales trainer, coach and author. I was supposed to be a ballerina. Many years ago however, I needed a day job, so I got a job with a telemarketing company and the rest is history.
Dancing is still my great passion and in spite of the years and many injuries, I still dance. Recently, I started taking a ballet class with a new teacher. At that point I was going through a period of pain and frustration due to an old dance injury.
During my first class with the new teacher, she pointed out to me that I was not initiating my leg movements from my foot. This is a ballet basic. All leg movements initiate from the foot. Because I was not initiating the movement properly, I was engaging the wrong muscles. The teacher suggested that this might be the cause of my pain. And you know what? She was right. By focusing on initiating my leg movements from my foot, the pain from the old injury started to subside!
I knew that in ballet all leg movements are initiated from the foot. I’ve been dancing since I was a small child, I’ve even taught ballet classes. At another time, I might have been the teacher making that particular correction to a student. And certainly, if someone had given me a test and asked that question, I would have aced it.
So what does this have to do with sales?
If you’ve been in sales for a while, you probably know at least some of the basics. You’ve probably done the Sales 101, features and benefits and have at least heard of some of the tools and techniques touted by sales superstars and sales trainers. You may have visited bookstores, flipped through a few books and said to yourself, “I know all of that.” You may have looked at different training courses, looked at the agenda and said to yourself, “I know all of that.”
Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply take a test proving what you know and that customers would then flock to you based on your test results?
Unfortunately, selling is not about what you know. Selling is about what you do, consistently, time after time, with every prospect with whom you speak.
There is a huge difference between knowing something and actually implementing it. And there’s an even bigger difference between being able to implement something and having totally mastered a skill.
The people who are most successful in sales are not necessarily the ones who know the most. They are, however, the ones who have mastered certain skills (and they’re frequently very basic skills) and they are able to use those same skills over and over again, and that’s why they’re successful.
If you are new to selling you need to learn the basic tools of your craft (‘what you know’) and then focus on using them all the time (‘what you do’). If you’ve been in sales for a while, focus on making your skills consistent (‘what you do’). And if your sales process is not working for you, the question to ask yourself is: Am I using what I know about selling consistently each and every time that I speak with a prospect?
It is just like me in my dance class. I certainly knew that all leg movements initiate from the foot. I’ve known it for years. It’s a ballet basic. I simply wasn’t doing it and because I was not doing it, I was in pain.
If your sales process is causing you pain, go back to the basics. Look not just at what you know, look at what you are doing about what you know. You might need some help to do this, an outside eye (like my dance teacher) to help you evaluate. Ask a colleague, your manager or perhaps a coach to help you analyze and ascertain that you are implementing what you need to be implementing in every step of your process. If you do this, like me with my old dance injury, the pain should subside.
© 2007 Wendy Weiss
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