How do you learn?
I’m a sales trainer.
I consider myself to be one of the best in the world.
I love my job.
I love every aspect of what I do.
Except the job title. Sales trainer.
Oh, sure-it’s just a title. One that’s been around for a hundred years. But when I think of a trainer, I think of someone in a lion’s cage snapping whips and shooting pistols. You know, a trainer.
Actually, my job is to help people learn. I try to teach them how to understand the selling process from the buyer’s prospective. I try to teach them that their attitude is shaped by the way they think. I try to teach them that it is better to serve than it is to rule. And I try to teach them that by asking questions, they’ll get closer to their desired goals than they will by stating facts or using timeworn sales techniques.
So, a big challenge for me goes beyond what I know-it’s how do I teach what I know in a way that others will want to learn?
But enough about me. You don’t care about me; you only care about YOU. How do you learn?
Think back to when you were in school. I’m sure you can picture the teacher standing in front of the class with a lesson plan, talking for a while, and writing some stuff on a board. You may have done some exercises, then she assigned homework, which you did or didn’t do (mostly didn’t), and then after a few more lessons, you took a test. That grade determined how much you learned. Or did it? If you got a 60, you didn’t learn squat.
Whose fault was that? The teacher’s or the student’s? Answer: both. The teacher was boring and you failed to realize that you only had one shot at learning that particular bit of information. Besides, you really didn’t think that algebra or modern European history or grammar would take you to the promised land.
Oh sure, some of you were good students, and I could spot good students right away because they were the ones I hated. My job was to do as little as possible, even when my parents yelled: DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Back to learning.
If you’re really interested in becoming great at sales, you have to learn it and study it, in spite of who is teaching it. And you have to learn it in a way that you feel comfortable with-so you can apply what you learn in the real world. In other words, you have to accept the method or approach presented in the lesson and be ready to adapt it to your selling style. It has to be relevant to you, not just the instructor. In fact, most sales skills are learned without an instructor.
If I ask you, “Where did you learn most of your selling skills?” most of you would reply, “While I was making sales.” Well, you’re partially correct. While you were making sales, you were implementing and modifying what you had already learned. You were applying your knowledge and adapting it to that situation or circumstance.
Let me give you a more in-depth run down of the 9.5 best ways to learn-and please note, it’s also the way I learn.
2. Studying. Reading things once will help you come to an understanding. Studying will help you master them, and in sales, mastery is the difference between winning and losing. It’s a very fine but clearly defined line. You either win the sale or you lose the sale.
3. Writing. I write something every day. I’ve found it to be the best way to understand new information as I seek to master this craft. I gather the things that I know and with some degree of clarity, I am able to put them into a usable, understandable and relatable format. I’ve been doing this for more than 12 years, every day. I’m good at it now, but not as good as I plan to get. Writing helps clarify things and writing, in and of itself, generates new thoughts and ideas when you think none exist. Writing is a discipline. It is, in fact, the single element of my learning that has taken me to a higher level.
And every time I write, I learn. I teach myself something. Every time.
You know, there are 9.5 ways to learn-but there is limited space to tell all today.
Next week for sure. Stay tuned…
Free GitBit: Want some sales proverbs to make you think and learn? They’re free. Go to www.gitomer.com; register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word PROVERBS in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless, is President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached by phone: 704/333-1112 or e-mail: email@example.com
c 2004 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written
permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112
How you succeed depends on how you learn!
AUTHORS NOTE: This is the second part of how you learn. If you want part one, go to www.gitomer.com and enter the word LEARN in the GitBit box.
How do you learn? As a teacher, speaker, writer, and student myself, I am as interested in “how to learn” as anyone. I want to understand it from both perspectives. The teacher and the student.
So, a bigger question for me is not simply what I know, it’s how do I teach what I know in a way that others will want to learn and apply.
Last week I presented the first part of the learning process. But I give you fair warning, if you want to UNDERSTAND learning, I recommend you read, re-read, and study these elements to determine how YOU learn, and how to master YOUR learning process.
Here are the rest of the 12.5 elements of how to learn:
4. Talking. Sometimes just talking to others about what you know or are thinking about clarifies it in your own mind. Have you ever had an idea and shared it with somebody else just so you could hear what it sounded like, and as a result, clarified it in your own mind? Thinking about it is one thing, talking about it makes it seem more real.
5. Talking to experts. This is one of the best ways to learn — especially if you have great questions and are willing to take notes as you listen. Experts (aka mentors) have great wisdom and love to share it.
6. Speaking. A public speech of any kind will enhance your knowledge because you have to prepare for the talk. Fear of failure (in public) will make you a great student.
7. Teaching. If you have a weekly sales meeting, I would challenge you to conduct it, and offer the training. By doing this, you’ll be forced to become more of an expert and you will be forced to give a great presentation. After all, you’re in front of your peers, and you’ll be forced to come to a higher understanding of your material. The interesting thing about teaching is that it goes back to writing. You have to write your lesson or at least some notes so you are prepared before you begin. You did it as a kid, it was called homework or a book report.
8. Thinking. On the surface, thinking seems kind of dull, ordinary, and unexciting. In fact, if you peruse your day timer I guarantee the word “thinking” does not appear in there in any shape or form. That’s a big mistake. Think time creates and clarifies ideas. It gives you an opportunity to work them out in your own mind. The more you think, the more you’ll learn.
9. Paying attention to the world around you and the people around you. The best way to do this is vary your concentration. Most people focus on their own objectives — especially in sales. By shifting focus to people and surroundings once in a while, you can observe and learn new things. Antennas up!
10. Traveling. When you visit someplace new, or someplace you love, or even someplace to relax, you become more motivated, more open, more receptive, and more observant to what is around you. You’re not just “open” to learn, you’re “inspired” to learn.
11. Doing. Just living life is a learning experience, IF you take life the right way. Take action and you will learn. Take risk and you will learn more. Fail and you will learn the most. Failure is a teacher just as success is.
12. Repeating. If you hear a song once, you may like it and want to hear it again. After you hear it five times you can sing along. After you hear it ten times you can sing along. The same is true with a sales strategy or product knowledge.
12.5 Willing to learn. Many of you will CLAIM a willingness to learn — but very few of you will actually dedicate the time to do it. Dedicating time is the key to new knowledge.
THE SECRET: Your attitude must be positive in order to learn best. This way you can both accept and remember. Positive attitude will give you the mental freedom to think: I didn’t know that. I CAN DO THAT!
BEWARE OF IGNORANCE: The reasons people fail to learn is complacency, misplaced or upside-down priorities, or the misperception that they already know everything. It’s easy to spot these people. They’re always too busy to learn, or they’re watching re-runs on TV. You can also spot them in bars and at parties — they’re the loudest.
Start by taking a walk in a book store, or by going to amazon.com and clicking around. If you’re looking for the secrets of success, a book store beats a beer store every time.
If you want to build wealth, first build a wealth of knowledge.
Free GitBit: Miss part one? Want the whole piece on learning? Go to www.gitomer.com. — register if you’re a first time user — and enter the word LEARN in the GitBit box.
c 2004 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written