I quickly learnt new ideas that helped me outthink, out-sell, out-service and, ultimately, out-perform my company’s competitors. Within weeks, I was on my way to becoming a sales achiever, surpassing the sales targets my divisional manager had set for my sales accounts and territory.
In a short period of time, my manager gave me new major accounts to develop and then more promotions followed into channel sales, team leader and sales management roles.
I learnt that by applying the five steps in the learning cycle, I saw growth in the number of clients, sales volumes per order, increase in my income and advancement in my sales career.
Having a competitive nature to learn new ideas and an enthusiastic curiosity to try new techniques proved to be a winning combination.
In review, the first three steps of the learning cycle are impact, repetition and utilisation. The last two steps of the learning process can help anyone become more competitive and win larger sales:
When emotional intensity and concentration are applied in this step, a major shift often occurs within a person. People often learn best from watching others and from there, they adopt those activities, traits or habits as their own.
Research has shown that people learn bad habits faster than good ones. When a conscious effort to model or shadow successful habits is made, behaviour and performance arise. Internalising new skills and better standards help to bridge past traits into new behaviour patterns.
After a person achieves a fair degree of success or status from his role in sales, it is easy to stop doing the things that helped bring about new standards and results.
The mark of the highest paid athletes in nearly any sport is their ability to reinforce the success traits and methods that brought top results. The pre-season in sports is often referred to as “spring training” and the teams gather to “go back to the basics”.
The legendary head coach of the first and second US Super Bowl winning football teams was Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers. On the first day of training camp with new players, he would start by holding an object up in front of them and say: “Gentleman, this is a football.”
The principle is the same for those in sales roles in commercial business, retail or small-and-medium enterprises — they must master the basics of creating cash flow and increasing customers.
It may take some adjustments in a few areas for you to out-think your competitors.
Here's how to use your time to get leverage and find new advantages in a competitive manner:
When you go to work, go to work. My mentors taught me to focus and put in smart “half days”. I began to work 12 of the 24 hours each day and increased my activity in prospecting, presenting, closing and asking for referrals. As a result, my sales figures quickly rose to a top position within my company.
Sales and service leaders keep learning. Invest 1 per cent of your day (about 15 minutes) reading to learn a new skill or listening to a recording (on your iPod) about your industry or trade group.
Investing your time in the greatest asset that you have — your mind and it will pay you back in dividends and value for a lifetime.