How the Best Get Better in Sales

Your craft is one that is difficult to master. It requires that you develop certain character traits and a complex array of skills. Your job title suggests you are a salesperson, but there are more people with the title than there are people who become true professionals, mastering their craft. The reason the best get better is because they work at it. If you want to get better, here is a list of resources to help you.

Reading Books: There is no better value for money than a book. For less than 30 dollars and six hours of your time, you can acquire the information, ideas, strategies, and wisdom that took the author a lifetime to discover. You bend the learning curve deeply in your favor when you decide to learn from people who have already paid the price to learn the lessons, many of them through trial and error, without having to do the work yourself.

Reading Sales Blogs: There are quite a lot of us that keep blogs like this one. Unlike a sales book, it costs you nothing to read a blog post, and most posts will take less than five minutes to read. There are insights available to you, even if you have no money if you are hungry enough and disciplined enough to shift your attention from distractions to improve your skills and abilities.

Watching YouTube Videos: YouTube can be a detriment to your results, or it can help you improve them. The variable here is what you allow to command your time and attention. There is no end of content designed to help you better understand concepts, ideas, and strategies. A single idea applied to your work in B2B sales can be worth millions of dollars in sales, provided you execute on what you learned without paying anything more than energy to apply the lessons.

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Riding with Better Salespeople: If you want to accelerate your development as a salesperson, there may not be anything more useful than riding along with a salesperson who is already successful. One of the fastest ways to learn how to have productive sales conversations is to witness them. You’ll want to take note of the questions asked, the answers shared, and the overall approach and strategy. This can speed up your development.

Asking Your Clients to Teach You: You can ask your clients to educate you on how they think about their business, what’s important to them, how do they view specific issues, and how they make decisions. You can also ask them to share with you how you make the most significant positive impact for them. Discovery isn’t what it used to be. It isn’t only identifying pain points. Instead, a modern sales approach means helping your clients discover something about themselves—while also allowing them to educate you.

Studying Your Process: I am process-agnostic. I am also skeptical of all sales processes, primarily when they don’t address the nonlinearity of the sales conversations and how buyers buy. That said, if you don’t understand the map of the sales conversation and the necessary outcomes to know where you and your prospective client are in that conversation, you are lost. If you are lost, your client is also lost, as you are supposed to be advising them. If you want to get better at selling faster, study how to be more effective at every stage of the journey.

Mastering Your Methodologies: It’s shocking how few companies provide methodologies for all the things we do in sales. There is a reason companies and salespeople who master their methods do better than those who don’t. If you don’t have methodologies for value creation that would make you genuinely consultative, such as building consensus, asking powerful questions, overcoming objections, gaining commitments, presenting your solutions, and negotiating, you are stunting your development. Discovering and mastering effective methodologies is what will speed your progress.

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Coaching: Your manager should be coaching you. They may believe they are too busy to coach you, in which case, you should ask them to coach you. There is a saying in golf, a game I never play, that one cannot see their swing. You can’t see the mistakes you make as quickly as someone else with experience can. You also don’t know what you don’t know, and coaching helps you see new choices and produce unique outcomes. Because coaching is a conversation that ends with you taking further actions, it speeds your better sales results.

B2B Sales Training: Training is an excellent way to improve your sales results. You are provided with concepts, strategies, tactics, and a chance to rehearse conversations designed to improve your results. If your company doesn’t pay for your sales training, and you believe it is your craft, then you should invest in training with or without their support. The better trained you are, the better your results. As you become more valuable, you earn more. The reason the best get better while others have the same sales year over and over again is that they work on improving themselves, personally and professionally.

Journal What You Learned: You sometimes don’t know what you know. The act of reflecting on events, interactions, and outcomes can help you make sense of what you are learning—or should be learning. The act of writing what you observe can provide you with new insights and new learnings, as well as help you make sense of things. Starting a file called “Lessons Learned,” and spending ten minutes being introspective and exploring what you have learned or experienced will improve your effectiveness over time.

No matter how good you are now, you can still get better, you can still improve. The variable in your improvement is your willingness to execute.

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