What a difference a year can make…

Four steps to change your sales outcome

I recently attended my daughter’s first lacrosse tournament — after only playing for 2 months. It was evident that there were some girls who were clearly playing on a different / higher level. I was very proud of her — she did very well considering her lack of experience. She never gave up and showed flashes of great potential.
After the tournament, I spoke with the coach to find out how I can be more helpful in my daughter’s development in this sport. The coach responded that it was all about time and practice. Many of those other girls have only been playing for a year. She went on to say that it will be tough at first, but she needs to continually put in the time and drill the basics. If she does that, she will see rapid improvement. What a difference a year can make…
Funny how people in client roles “wing it”. I’ve witnessed very little practicing – it seems that sales people like to practice with clients in front of them. That’s an expensive and dangerous model. Why don’t we practice more? It is after all, our livelihood.
Some good news. Practice need not always be structured. This isn’t lacrosse with the chaos of 8-year-old girls running all over the place. Here are some ideas:

  1. Role play. Grab a colleague and go through your presentation in advance. Ask them to be brutally honest and try to find holes. Have them ask challenging questions.
  2. Speak out loud. Sometimes when preparing for presentations, I speak out loud when nobody is around. I want to hear how I sound. I keep a notepad handy to write down changes and ideas that inevitably come up.
  3. Get the things you don’t like to do out of the way. Make them a priority to do well. Attack your weak points by vowing to make them strong. If you hate public speaking, speak more at meetings, speak to students at your alma mater or local university.
  4. Eliminate the excuses. Yes, you’re busy. You don’t have time. You have other priorities. I get it. But you will be competing against people who do practice and don’t make excuses. You won’t get second chances in many cases.

Practice need not be onerous. Remember, Tom Brady goes to training camp every year. The greatest rock bands practice before they tour. Baseball players have spring training. My daughter is now taking private lessons. Sales people… do nothing. Time to change the game. This year is more than half over. Time will fly by. A year is nothing, unless you haven’t committed yourself to practicing and getting better. What a difference a year can make!