Knowledge superiority can provide a competitive selling edge but, it’s notably capable selling skills that will catapult you over the competition, even if the competition knows more and has been in the business longer.
Personal growth associated with developing selling skills isn’t about reinventing the personal you, the self you know and may very well prefer. It is about developing some selling-related behaviors to be applied when circumstances challenge. The bricks and mortar, habitual behaviors:
Acquired by happenstance, through prior experience … or
Cultivated, as planned by intent, through focused training
Every academic learning study has illustrated equivalent results: focused attention improves retention, accuracy, and clarity in just about any subject: writing, math, science … In college it was hours of study.
The process hasn’t changed. What you learn can be a result of targeted training, or simply the product of experience. One, deliberate; the other, by chance.
A salesman’s characteristics, like those required of a quarterback, are a mixture of courage, toughness, instincts, preparation, resourcefulness, and a few other less tangible variables.
Selling skills, of the exceptional variety, are cultivated – behaviors applied specifically to the salesman’s role – activities essential to developing formidable personal effectiveness:
Creating a dynamic personal story – A written narrative: objectives, and how you will achieve them.
Managing your time – The conscious application of time usage.
Understanding game fundamentals – Selling skills development relies on a process equivalent to learning any sport. For baseball, the basics: hitting, throwing, and catching the ball. With selling: acquiring an understanding of human psychology, constructing a formalized sale-process format, developing habits and behaviors needed to execute the sale process, and how to close a sale.
Adopting a dominant image – You will be perceived in some manner. Through conscious intent, or through habits controlling your behaviors, you project an image. The better is, by intent, how you will present yourself. This is the acquired image formed around a role incorporating some new behaviors.
Becoming an authority on your product and its market – You are surrounded by resources: read voraciously, research the Internet, get to know knowledgeable people on the subject.
An extreme ability to engage – Selling is about the other person: their needs, their reaction to you, what you have to say, and how you say it. You can be an interesting conversationalist by simply asking questions. Not probing inquiries, just an effort to draw the other person out.
To some, this particular skill seems to come more easily. If you are not among the gifted, practice it until a new habit is formed.
Accepting mistakes’ value – Selling strategies are perfected through trial and error. Mistakes are vital to knowledge developed through experience.
Seeing yourself as already successful – Individuals who succeed are equipped with an I-can-do-this mindset. The attitude implies substance, even when competence is still-to-come.
Identifying the most pressing current personal need to address – The answer may identify a half-dozen self-improvement opportunities; focus on one. Get the first one where it needs to be, then attack the rest, one at a time.
Understanding pursuit of unreasonable goals, or rushing the process, will more probably result in reduced effectiveness – A natural desire will be to hit it into the light tower, but competence developed through experience comes first. Determine to be better in September than you were in March.
Resisting collapse into self-doubt when competence isn’t progressing as you feel it should – Big aspirations are useful but, need tempering. You will hear about others’ successes. Ignore them. They only prove what can be done. Avoid comparing your status with someone else’s, or some imagined idea of how things ought to be. Persistent individuals have time on their side; the impatient are more inclined to lose their nerve.
To be human is to be born with a drive to accomplish. Aristotle described a life-growth-achievement principle as inherent to every human being. He observed “Human beings have a natural desire and capacity to know, and should use their abilities to their fullest potential through exercise of their realized capacities.” When an individual achieves something worthwhile the success gratifies, creating a sense of worth.
The personal-development process is a quest, one that starts with beginner’s luck, then proceeds to punish the participant relentlessly until one of two conditions emerge: a considerably evolved individual who has become stronger for the experience; or an individual who gave into weakness, and quit.
Fortunately, unlike professional athletics or quantum physics, succeeding at selling doesn’t require having been an accident of nature. What you don’t know you can learn if you have an understanding of how to learn, and a willingness to act. Selling, like succeeding at anything, is a consequence of mastering the subject’s nuances. Emphasis is placed on acquiring behaviors critical to personal effectiveness.