Inside Sales Power Tip 110 – Deliberate Practice

deliberate practice sales strategyAthletes do it, and artists do it. So do public speakers and musicians. They don't just practice, they practice deliberately.

Michael Jordan helped the Chicago Bulls win six national championships and he won the MVP award five times. "Air Jordan," as he used to be called said:

"I've always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don't do things half-heartedly because I know that if I do, I'll have half-hearted results."

Now consider that according to a Gallup study, 71% of workers are either "not-engaged" or "actively disengaged" with their work. Where do you fit as a sales professional? Are you working hard at practice or simply phoning in your work day?

No doubt about it, you need to learn specific skills and do them extremely well to succeed at the top level in your sales career.

Practice itself will not improve you - only deliberate practice does.

I used to call what sales people need to do "perfect practice" as many will say that "perfect practice makes for a perfect end result" but I am not a perfectionist and don't like to see sellers stalling, wasting hours and hours while they try for more perfect research and to perfect their messaging.

Deliberate practice, as talked about by Julliard-trained violinist (now sports psychologist) Noa Kugeyama is intentional and purposeful. In this Lifehacker post he discusses five ways to accelerate skill development.

Just as it works for musicians, deliberate practice will work for you in selling, too.

  1. Focus
  2. Timing
  3. Note-taking
  4. Work Smarter
  5. Use a Problem Solving Model

In focusing on using a problem-solving model, Noa discusses six steps to follow to solve a skills learning challenge:

Define the problem - what results am I getting and what do I want?

Analyze - what is causing this problem? (what possible ideas do you have?)

Identify potential solutions - what can I try so I can change this?

Test potential solutions and select the most effective one

Implement the best solution

Monitor implementation

What this means is that instead of constantly having the same problem every day, you trouble-shoot it. Callers who never receive a return phone call after leaving many voice mail messages can tweak what they are saying. For example, if you are not saying anything compelling, interesting, or piquing my curiosity, I won't ever call you back. If you can be interesting and connect me as the buyer to your message, there is a chance I will either return your call, or more likely, I will receive a call from you in the future, and be a bit more open when you start talking. You tweaked your message to become more interesting to me as the buyer, and your deliberate practice paid off.

Just like babies get up and fall down, get up and fall down, they learn ways to steady themselves enough to be upright. They hold on to something and walk. No one teaches them that - they just do it.

Do you have a problem solving model to improve your sales skills?

Do you have a successful mentor who can help suggest the skills you need to improve?

When will you put focus on this in order to grow your sales opportunities?

This Webinar Might Help:

Want to hear how to give more compelling content in your sales messaging? Join me this week along with sales experts Trish Bertuzzi, Nancy Nardin, and Barbara Giamanco for Be More Interesting, Get More Sales! on 4/24 at 10AM Pacific / 1Pm Eastern.

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2012 and 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling.

Topics: B2B

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