I’m a life long believer in learning. Success in life and business requires that we continually hone our skills and up our game. In selling, the more informed you are about a variety of topics, the easier it is to relate to people at all levels. Knowledge is power. Buyers are looking for sellers who can educate them on what they don’t know, and I am not talking about the features and benefits of your products or your company history.
I’m too busy are three of the most annoying words ever. Annoying because they are an excuse. An excuse for not following through on something important and using “I’m too busy” as the reason why. No one is blessed with more time in the day, week, month or year than anyone else. In that way, we are absolutely 1000 percent equal. Everyone has 24 hours each day and 8,760 hours available in a normal year. Where you CHOOSE to spend your time is the difference.
I put a priority on learning. All successful people do. Sellers committed to excellence are typically in the top 10% of earners. Learning is something that you make a priority, like eating healthy foods or exercising on a daily basis. When it comes to engaging prospects and increasing your odds of closing sales, the sellers who are the most business savvy and understand what is important to their prospects and customers win! Robotic demo dollies will keep scraping by.
Ongoing learning is important. The more skilled you are at your craft, the more successful you will be. The more you know about your prospects business, their industry, their competitors, their challenges, the more important you become to them. Knowledge becomes a competitive advantage that leads to more opportunities. If you have the right skills, chances are that you’ll close more deals.
On a daily basis I read articles and blog posts from a variety of sources. I attend complimentary webinars or listen to podcast interviews. Book reading never ends for me. What I find interesting is the number of people who say to me, how do you have time? I’m just so busy, I never seem to be able to… read the book, watch the video, improve my sales skills, listen to the webinar, take the training course, learn to use social media, research my prospects in depth…the list goes on.
I don’t use sports analogies much, but I just watched Miracle for the umpteenth time. I don’t know if it is possible to be more inspired by a movie based on actual events. The 20 men who became the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that beat the Russian squad, considered invincible at the time, were already stellar players on the ice when the team came together. Herb Brooks, the legendary player turned coach who led the team to victory, knew that no matter how good these players currently were, it wasn’t enough. In order to win, every player had to significantly increase their skill, stamina and ability to play as a single minded unit. Herb specifically chose players he knew were up to the challenge, because without that commitment to improve and excel each day, it is debatable if the team would have won against the Russians and then gone on to win the gold medal.
Whether your company invests in sales and social selling programs or not, you need to be committed to your own growth and development. You should be learning something new every single day. Sales superstars are always willing to invest in themselves. Yes, you need to know your products and services, but you’ve got to get beyond your own dog food. Venture outside the corporate walls and broaden your horizons.
With the advances that have been made in technology, your mobile device is now your personal university. Your own ivy league repository of real-time education that is constantly with you. Even with busy schedules there are countless opportunities when you can be learning. For example…
- When you are waiting for your sales meeting to get started.
- Driving in your car to your next appointment.
- Sitting in the car pool line.
- Waiting for your name to be called at the doctor’s office.
- Before the airplane doors are slammed shut.
- Waiting for your colleagues to join you at lunch.
- Standing in line at the DMV.
Predictions are that by 2020, 80% of sales people will no longer be needed. Yes, that includes sellers in B2B complex selling environments too. If you plan to be in the 20% with the other Sales Rockstars out there, I highly recommend you put learning on the front burner. When you commit to learn, you earn!
So what’s it going to be? Gold medal winner or distant could have been?