For some reason I was reminded today of the very first formal sale training I ever received. I was 24 years old. I was the only male sales rep in a room of fifty salespeople being trained. I was greener than green. But I was audacious and I believed.
At some point in the training, we had to role-play asking for an order. Here was the scene they painted. The client is big. They spend $5,000,000 in your space. They have enough orders that they could give you an order and no one would ever miss it. The orders they have are all in your wheelhouse, and they have unmet needs right now. It’s a good role-play because it can be challenging, but there are a number of paths to a successful outcome.
I was sitting at the end of the table, but I was called up somewhere in the first ten or so places. So, I did what I would have done in a real life situation: I asked for all of their open orders. The Regional Vice President playing the client smacked me down. I went back after her a second time. She was having trouble saying no, but she shut me down anyway. So I went after her a third time. She caved in and gave me half the orders.
I thought I failed and sat back down. It felt like I failed. But no sooner had I sat down then my manager showed up to pull me out of the room. As we walked out, I noticed the Regional Vice President was waiting. Clearly, I was in trouble.
She said, “Listen, you’re making a mess in there. Most of the people sitting in that room are afraid to ask for a single order. We’re trying to give them the confidence and courage to ask for an order. I love it that you ask for all of the orders. Please don’t stop doing that when you’re in the field. But in my room, I need you to play by my rules.”
Before I could walk back in, my manager pulled me aside. I told him how bad I felt for failing. He said, “You didn’t fail. Everyone that asked for a single order got one. You asked for all of them and got half. If you’d have had a little more time, I think you’d have gotten the other half.”
There are some benefits of being young and green. Believing so deeply in what you sell and your ability to make a difference can embolden you. It can make you audacious. It can fill you with passion, energy, and enthusiasm.
I believed that my company was the best company in the world. I believed that my team could make more of a difference than anyone else.
Believing is sometimes enough.
Do you remember your first sales training?
Do you still believe so deeply that your emboldened by your beliefs?
When was the last time you did something audacious?
What are you passionate about? What puts the wind in your sails? What do you believe so strongly that it fills you with an energy that is contagious?
Tell me your best sales training story?
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