Selling Tips – The Best Training is the Game Itself

April 29, 2009 by  Filed under: Sales 

When I first heard the phrase, “weight training,” I was puzzled.

We weren’t training metallic objects to do something, were we?

I was a baseball player, and barbells and dumbbells certainly weren’t training me to do anything. Nothing on the diamond involves heavy lifting or pushing against resistance.

By the same reasoning, I didn’t quite warm-up to the idea of running laps to get into shape. In baseball, the farthest you have to sprint, offensively, is 360 feet, so why log miles?

To me, this was a waste of time. To improve my hitting, I always felt the batting cage and batting practice were a close fit to the real thing, and shagging grounders and fly balls or, in my case as a catcher, receiving pitches under game conditions whipped me into the right lather.

I’d like to make the same point about selling. By making presentations to “live” prospects you learn how to make better presentations to “live” prospects.

Yesterday, I was entreated to participate in a training film, but I would only be compensated by being “exposed” to a certain population that presumably has buyers in it, people that can ultimately pay me for my training programs and consulting.

They’re not going to pay me now, to see and hear my ideas, but in a speculative future when they realize, “Gee, that guy really knows what he’s talking about, and I need more of it!”

That’s like weight training your way to stealing more bases. It’s not going to happen. (Ricky Henderson may have been a buff exception.)

Being persuaded to do things that are only tangentially related to selling, to closing more business, is a constant temptation-one that should be shunned. It asks us to pursue secondary gains instead of primary ones.

For instance, sellers make terrible clerks, so asking us to patiently log all of our prospecting activity into databases is fruitless, unless you are seeking a secondary gain-numbers to crunch-instead of more and better sales.

Anything that keeps us from immediately having that next, high-yield conversation is a distraction, an impediment. Salespeople don’t develop obstacles, such as labyrinthine lead tracking programs. Non-salespeople insert them into our regimens.

Weight training makes sense for football players. They lift and push against resistance on practically every play. Still, the game itself is the best practice for the next game.

Keep this in mind whenever someone comes along, such as a sales manager, or a software developer, or a kingmaker who will give you “exposure” to a universe of potential prospects.

Just say no.

Don’t let them throw you off your game.

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