Years ago I was working with a brand new salesman, Zeb (not his real name, of course). He was a sharp young man and I believed him to have some pretty strong potential.
Zeb’s first week of field training was focused mostly on prospecting. On Monday, I made all the calls. His job was to observe and shadow me for the day. On Tuesday, we alternated calls. I would make one call and then Zeb would make the next. After each call we would discuss our effectiveness and how we could improve. On Wednesday, Zeb made all of the calls and it was my job to observe and shadow him – and coach between each call as needed.
By the end of the day on Wednesday, Zeb was actually doing a great job! I was proud of him and praised him accordingly. He felt really good about the results because we scheduled four appointments for presentations for the following week. I told Zeb to continue working on Thursday and Friday, and then he and I would ride together again on the following week.
When we got back together on Monday morning, I said, “We have some time before our 9:00 appointment. Let’s make some calls around that business.” As we walked into the first door, I told Zeb, “You take the lead.” When we walked up to the counter, Zeb froze. I picked up the ball and we were able to move the process forward. But on each call we did that morning, Zeb seemed awkward. I was expecting that same Zeb that had impressed me on the prior Wednesday to be even better. But instead, his skill set had actually declined.
As we got back into the car, I asked, “You seem a little bit off today. Did you work on Thursday and Friday?”
Zeb’s reply was, “Yes. I got my business cards ordered, got a phone line installed at home, and I organized my brochures.” I asked, “How many new companies did you contact?” He replied, “None.” He replied. “You weren’t there to train me.” Ding! Ding! Ding! A teachable moment was happening. Not just for Zeb, but for me!
First, as Zeb’s sales manager, I should have been on the phone checking his progress on the days we were not riding together. That would have given me ample opportunity to see what was happening and coach him accordingly. Second, I needed to teach Zeb the two definitions of the word training.
One definition of training is the process of coaching, teaching, and mentoring someone on how to successfully perform a new activity. Training classes and joint field work would fall under that definition of training.
But there is a second definition of training that is often overlooked – especially in sales. That definition of training says that training is a daily regimen of physical activity that one does to build their strength and skill in any chosen discipline.
Weight training, running, and bicycling are examples of this definition of training. It is this second definition of training that creates outstanding sales people.
Think of your sales training in the same way as if you joined a gym. The best gyms put you with a personal trainer who asks what your goals are; and then puts together a daily regimen of physical activity that you need to complete to hit your goals. That trainer will also show you how to properly perform each of the exercises to get the maximum benefit – without hurting yourself.
Having a personal trainer is great. But you don’t lose even one pound based on what the trainer does, nor do you get into better physical condition. You achieve your physical goals based on completing your daily regimen of physical activity that builds your strength and skill.
You become successful in sales in the same way. Check with your personal sales trainer. Make sure that you have a plan for your daily regimen of physical activity (the required calls and presentations) that will help you achieve your financial goals. Have your sales trainer show you how to perform the activities. Then you complete your daily regimen of physical activity. Hit your sales gym!
What are the daily activities you need to do to hit your financial goals?
Post your replies below. I look forward to reading your thoughts.