Lifelong learning makes great salespeople. If the COVID pandemic has taught great salespeople one thing it’s the need to continually learn new selling skills and refine the current ones. Are you keeping current with the latest buyer strategies? How about all the tech for selling?
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? Do you have trusted buyers who will give honest feedback on your selling skills? Seeking to understand your weaknesses is a trait of great salespeople.
Lifelong Learning Plan
The first step in improving your sales performance is to have a lifelong 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. Lifelong 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 home construction economy affect your ability to hire good workers? Great salespeople are aware of the “big picture” of their changing markets. And quickly figure out how to benefit from the change.
New Products In Your Pipeline?
The COVID pandemic has produced new products and services. Lifelong 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 how the new products solve problems for their customers.
Pay Attention To Technology
We live in world where the tools available to great salespeople are changing rapidly. The COVID pandemic forced business practice changes. We learned how to sell virtually. Lifelong learning about the newest gadget or app 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 and how to use them to engage the buyer.
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 lifelong learning plan and check your progress regularly.
- Pay attention to what’s happening in your company and the market place.