Imagine an “old
who, back in the day, could type up documents and memos with the
best of them. Back in the 70s, she could fly at 115 words a minute
on her Smith Corona. Yet, when computers became the de facto standard
in the business world, she was afraid of the technology
and eventually lost her edge.
Then there was
the track star that used to dominate
state-wide and regional meets but eventually got lazy and stopped
taking care of his body. Instead of flying past his competitors,
he had a hard enough time getting off the blocks. He failed to focus
on being at the top of his game so the game passed him up.
How many people
do we know in the business world that fit these stories? They were
great at what they did but they failed
to keep their skills up. An axe is the same way. A sharp axe
can topple the greatest of trees. If not maintained properly, that
axe will eventually lose its edge and get dull. What was once a
simple task has turned into a difficult and arduous effort.
What are you
doing to keep your skills
strong and up to date? Are you sharpening your axe or are you
chopping away day after day without maintaining your skills and
your mind. If you’re not constantly looking to improve, you run
the risk of falling behind and truly losing your edge.
As a sales professional,
it is important to keep growing and learning. Below are just a
few of the simple things you can do to stay on top:
Learn by Reading
– There are scores of great books, newsletters and even monthly
magazines that offer advice
in sales, marketing and communications.
One could name one famous book after another that has helped
salespeople do what they do more effectively. Take the time
to search your local library, find articles online or browse through
your local bookstore. There is a wealth
of information available at your disposal.
Learn by Training –
Training workshops are extremely effective in teaching sales
professionals new skills and providing them with a safe forum
to become more effective. The best classes have a small student
to teacher ratio and are focused on interaction and simulation exercises
so that skills transfer is ensured. Look into general sales programs
or focus on particular skills such as negotiations,
closing or cold calling. You can make leaps and bounds by taking
the right training classes.
Learn by Shadowing –
Are you the best
sales professional in the world? Of course not… no matter how
good you are, there’s always someone who is better. Maybe that
person doesn’t work at your company but they’re out there. Seek
the best and learn from them. Find out what makes them successful
and how they continue to improve.
Learn from Your Mistakes
– You’re apt to make plenty of mistakes in your sales
career. We all are. View mistakes not as difficult experiences
but as agents of change. Mistakes will point out where you have
room for improvement. When you make mistakes, see them as learning
opportunities. Stop doing the same thing over and over again
if you keep getting the same poor results.