The average (growing) salesperson spends $758 a year on some form of self-improvement. Seminars, books, or courses to make themselves better people and salespeople in short: to make more sales.
Seminars and courses are the best opportunities because they’re live performances. They offer “in your face” information that is timely and makes you evaluate the information in terms of what you are doing “right now.”
Salespeople go to the live seminar eager to get more information, but few know how to attend for maximum benefit. Here are a few rules (guidelines) and ideas I’ve compiled from both seminar leaders and seminar attendees. If you’re going to a seminar soon and I hope you are, take these thoughts with you so you can walk away with the gold:
1. Lower your sensitivity meter or better turn it off. You’re here to get information, not be offended by a remark or word. If you want everything to be peachy clean and politically correct, get out of sales and take a nice job at the post office. A woman at a US Airways ticket counter put it the best I’ve ever heard it. I was traveling with my girlfriend, and wondered aloud what the politically correct word was for traveling partner, not yet spouse. She said, “Don’t worry, we’re not in politics, we’re in business.” Cool.
2. Self-evaluate it, don’t “know it.” When you hear a fact that will make you better, don’t tell yourself “I know that,” rather ask yourself, “How good am I at that?” Self-evaluate is the only way to get real and get better.
3. Search for idea gems. Look for what you don’t know, not what you do. Try to walk away with 6 things you can use tomorrow.
4. Listen with the intent to understand. Don’t cut off the thought too soon. Stick with it listen all the way out. Don’t be smarter than the presenter, just listen with the intent to learn and get better.The best way to do this is take notes and shut up.
5. Don’t do it like they do it. Do it like you do it. Adapt the seminar leader’s concepts and words to your personality and style.
6. Ask anything any time. Challenge any thing, any time. If you don’t understand, ask why. Write down questions as they occur to you and ask them at the first appropriate moment.
7. All info won’t work all the time. So what? Pick out what WILL work and concentrate on that.
8. Take the general information and adapt it to your product or selling situation. Think “how will this work in my sales environment?” Try to adapt the principle as soon as you hear it.
9. Don’t criticize the presenter. Instead, listen for the one or two gems that may impact you forever. As the great Glenn W. Turner says, “No statue was ever erected to a critic, but the people they criticized, many statues have gone up.”
10. Your objective is to make yourself better. That’s why you came in the first place. Don’t strut what you already know. Find the “ahha’s” and convert them to your world. Leave with new things that will help you, not the same information you came with.
11. Sit with someone you don’t know. Stay away from the people you came with. Make new friends. Look for a potential customer or contact.
12, Take great notes and record them at the end of the event. Too many times great ideas go fallow before they have a chance to implemented. All great seminar ideas fall victim to the everyday work that awaits you after the event. If you record your notes and listen to them everyday for two weeks, you are more likely to do things you would have put off for months maybe forever.
12.5 Focus on yourself. Many people are jealous or envious of the presenter. Kind of like Monday morning quarterbacks or movie critics. My biggest recommendation is one that has appeared in this column before: Resign your position as general manager of the universe. Don’t worry about everyone else, just concentrate on becoming the best you can be for yourself.
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