Sales – Keep Sharpening the Knife
If any of you have read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, you will know the 7thHabit. Always Sharpen the Saw. It is about preserving what you have, look after it, keep it new. The 7 in SerialTrainer7 is so named after this principle and is the key reason why we train people. To keep skills sharp.
I train so many sales people, from those who are new to the role, to those who have been selling for years. To the new sales people my message is clear, let’s create and forge your sales blade, to those seasoned sales people, my message is not about telling them how to do their job, or to do it differently, it is about rehoning and sharpening their blade.
Often with this latter group I meet a little resistance, and this is natural, after all they have probably attended a tone of sales training sessions, and rolled their eyes at a few of the techniques, having heard them so many times before.
As a trainer, it is so important to do what you train; I do, every day, five cold calls, without fail. This means that I am doing what I train; I have experienced the sales highs and ridden the lows on the sales rollercoaster for more years than I can remember.
We need to constantly be reminded that some of the classic sales techniques are classic for a reason; they simply work. So many authors tell us that things have changed and we need to change and yet in my years of selling, we go back to the techniques that have served us the best. Just in the same way as we always pick up the most familiar knife in the drawer when we cook. Yes you might have a fancy santoku or a very flexible and fine fileting blade, and yet it will be the trusted blade you return to. The one we funnily enough resharpen over and over, in the same way as it was sharpened in the first place.
This doesn’t mean sales people shouldn’t try new things, remember Henry Ford’s famous quote “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Faster horses are fine, but a different and more evolved form of horse might be better. Think back to your training, remember the tools and techniques you learned, think what you applied and that has worked and go back to it, see if you can make it better. Yes clients are more tuned in to sales tactics, now more than ever, that doesn’t mean we have to stop using them, just sharpen them up, after all, don’t they say a blunt knife is actually more dangerous than as sharp one?
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