K. Anders Ericsson, the expert who uncovered the 10,000-hour rule that you know from Malcolm Gladwell’s work once said, “I’ve been walking for 48 years, but I don’t believe I’m getting any better at it.” If I’m not mistaken, I saw that quote in Fast Company magazine many years ago. I saved the quote because it’s so powerful–and it’s funny.
Certainly, there is something to the idea that the longer you do something the greater the odds that you will develop a higher level of competency. But Ericsson’s great insight is that it’s not the time you spend in a human endeavor that makes one an expert. Instead, it’s something he calls “deliberate practice.”
Deliberate practice is different than just doing your job. It’s doing something with the intention of improving what you are doing. Ericsson suggests that the violinists he studied would take a nap after spending an hour in deliberate practice. Their focus and concentration were so intense, that afterward they were drained and had to rest and recover from the effort.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many people who are getting better at the endeavor of selling well because they are giving so much focus and concentration that they’re actually improving day-to-day. For most of us, we’ve done something long enough that we’re not even really conscious of what we’re doing. It’s like driving your car. If you’ve ever left your house and ended up at the office on a Saturday, that isn’t too different from what we do most of the time at work. Because we’ve made thousands of sales calls before, we make a sales call, without giving it much thought.
The problem here is that selling has changed. Not in the way many of the pseudo-experts talk about sales changing. They tend to believe that all prospecting is now inbound and that the digital tools are the greatest evidence of change. This is not true, in fact, what’s changed is something more significant than the digital toolkit available to salespeople now. Success in sales requires that one be truly consultative, that one is perceived as a peer, and that one possesses the insights that allow you to advise your clients on decisions around their business.
Because client expectations have changed, and because consensus is now necessary to win in B2B sales, and because most companies are not different enough to be able to compel change with their product or service alone, salespeople have to get a lot better and a lot faster.
To this end, I’ve developed a program I call Sales Accelerator. It’s been built to provide salespeople with the mindset, skill sets, and the tools that allow them to develop into the salesperson their prospective clients need now, and to become someone those dream clients will want to buy from.
If you’re an individual looking for self-development in both your personal and professional life, right now there is a lifetime offer available, and you can check it out here. If your business, looking for training for your teams, please go to the contact page here and I’ll reach out to you to schedule time to share some ideas with you.
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Filed under: Sales