Selling is very much like swimming. You can’t learn to swim by reading a book about swimming, and you can’t learn to sell by reading a book about sales (although reading books after you spend some time in the deep end will help you tremendously). When it comes to producing results, there is no substitute for experience.
But you don’t have to rely on your experience alone. You can learn to produce results faster my modeling people who have already had some of the experiences you haven’t. You can model people who are already producing the results you want.
There are three things you to modeling: their beliefs, their behaviors, and their language.
Once someone learns how to succeed at a high level in any endeavor, they adopt a certain set of beliefs that enable that success.
Early in my career, I had a sales manager ride along on my sales calls. He was horrified by my long, coma-inducing recitation of our entire proposal. He insisted I ride along with him. I believed our proposal was necessary to winning business. He believed it was completely unnecessary. After I watched him close deal after deal without making a long, detailed pitch, he convinced me to change my belief.
A change in belief always precedes a change in behavior.
People who succeed in any endeavor take a certain set of actions that produce the results that make them successful.
We’ll go back to visit the sales manager I modeled. When I was young, I thought selling meant talking. The sales manager that I modeled thought selling was listening. He spent more time listening than talking. He won deals with fewer words than I believed possible. And he listened in a way that proved that he cared about the client.
I’ve never been as quiet as the sales manager I modeled. But I did learn to become every bit as good at listening. It’s one the many behaviors I’ve learned by modeling someone that was already succeeding in an area that I wanted to improve.
Modeling beliefs and behaviors will work to help you succeed faster in any human endeavor. But language is particularly important for salespeople. Here is one more from the sales manager I modeled.
My sales manager produced great sales results by asking great questions. He was older than I was, and he had much more experience. He had an arsenal of powerful questions that helped our prospective clients think through their business challenges. I didn’t have enough experience to ask these questions. I didn’t have the language either. But by listening and paying attention, I started to capture his language—and some of his business acumen—and I weaved them into my sales interactions.
Modeling powerful language can help you produce the same outcome as the successful salesperson you are modeling.
If you want to (or need to) produce better results faster, find a model. Model what they believe, the actions they take based on those beliefs, and they language they use with themselves and with others.
Who have you modeled in the past?
Who could you model now that is already producing the results that you want?
If you have a model in mind, what do they believe that you don’t yet believe?
How are their actions different then yours?
What language do they use to communicate with themselves and others?
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