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…
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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
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permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112