A few weeks ago, my friend Nick asked: “What measures can a sales person take to perfect their craft?” I decided to not only think about this myself for a few weeks, but also ask a couple dozen of the smartest most successful sales professionals I know to also chime in on this important question. After you read this post, be sure and check out the many other posts down below where they provided their best answers too.
What measures can a sales person take to perfect their craft? I’ve got 4 big ideas for you Nick:
Have a Healthy Fear of The Status Quo
First thing I would say Nick is that your attitude of always seeking to perfect the craft is the most important thing about sales. Say no to normal. As your recent guest poster Michael Boyette suggests: “Successful sales leaders and entrepreneurs are not necessarily more competent, but they do look for ways to grow and stretch.” Developing a healthy fear of the status quo is a massive differentiator. So long as we keep looking for better ways to meet customer needs, it will always put us out in front of the pack.
Find The Edges
You can’t succeed if you haven’t set any goals. How will you know when you have achieved anything if you don’t know where you want to be? Map out concrete goals, decide the metrics you will use to measure your success. Create a baseline, monitor results religiously and build in regular periods of reflection where you can determine cause and effect and plan your course corrections. It’s important to define and balance your personal goals as well. How much can you do? What are you capable of? How much do you want to do? How can you make the most of your time and energy this moment to reach those goals?
Listen Carefully to Your Customer
(Especially When They Are Mad)
My customers are the most valuable resource in teaching me how to please them. Happy customers almost always produce ample revenue for my company, but the ticked off one’s can teach you a lot too. What do they care about? What ticks them off? Where are the gaps in their capabilities? How can you help them make more money? How can you do it better than “the last sales guy?” Don’t be afraid to break old patterns with them. You will make mistakes, but calculated risks often result in big gains when done carefully. As Dave Brock says: “Go out there and get your teeth kicked in!” Listening to customers gives you the why behind the what that you can use to build lasting value.
Ask the rest of us
There’s no shortage of great ideas out there, and clearly what works for some may not necessarily work for all of us. Each of us needs to develop a good sense of truly helpful principles vs passing fads. The more you talk to different people though, patterns start to develop. When you see some ideas bubbling to the top that have rung true with several people, it might be time to put that idea to the test for yourself.
Be sure and check out the many other posts where my very wise colleagues in sales have provided their best answers too: