Summer is over. The kids are back in school. Big yellow school busses with flashing red lights slow your commute. But that’s OK. You as a great salesperson believe in life long learning and are listening to a CD or a podcast to improve your selling skills.
Take A Selling Skills Inventory
All of us have strengths and weaknesses. What are yours? Ask your mentor for an evaluation. Check with your colleagues for their opinion. Discuss your performance with a trusted customer. Think back to recent successes and failures. What did you learn about your selling skills from the wins and losses?
Life Long Learning Plan
The first step in improving your sales performance is to have a life long learning plan. Once you have an idea of the skills you want to improve decide how you will measure the improvement. If you need to make more sales calls, record the number of sales calls and rate your performance at each one. Should you need to ask better questions, plan each sales call with a list of questions to ask. After the meeting evaluate how effective your sales call was. Get accountability by involving your mentor or sales manager in your plan.
Pay Attention To Your Markets
Great salespeople not only study to improve their skills but also to see how the world is changing. Life long learning includes reading and discussing with your customers and colleagues where the markets you sell in are headed. Do you sell to automobile manufacturers? How will the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles affect your business? Are you a labor-intensive construction business? How does the booming economy affect your ability to hire good workers? Great salespeople are aware of the “big picture” of their changing markets.
New Products In Your Pipeline?
Life long learning includes becoming expert in the products and services your company sells. What problems do these products or services solve for your customers? Learn the stories of how they have helped customers so you can use them in your sales presentations. How will product or service improvements help your current customers? Are there aspects of the current offerings your customers would like improved? Great salespeople invest time in learning the benefits of new products to sell.
Pay Attention To Technology
We live in world where the tools available to great salespeople are changing rapidly. Life long learning about the newest gadget and how it improves your selling skills is important. Equally important is learning to ignore distractions to productivity caused by the abundance of devices and applications. Great salespeople quickly learn the value of new tools.
What You Can Do Right Now
- Evaluate your selling skills. (See page 13 in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling for a sales skills inventory quiz.)
- Make a life long learning plan and check your progress regularly.
- Pay attention to what’s happening in your company and the market place.
Don Crawford & Lois Carter Crawford