By Jeff Shore
“The destination called Mastery lies on a road called Repetition.”
I’ll get right to the point. Your salespeople think that they practice. But they don’t.
In his excellent book The Talent Code, Dan Coyle points out three keys to talent development:
- Practice, Practice, Practice
- Great Coaching
- Total Concentration
I’m completely down with number one. I’ve been saying for years that, “The destination called Mastery lies on a road called Repetition.”
And I’m all in on point number two. I spend a lot of my career coaching coaches. I’ve seen the great things that effective coaches can accomplish, and I’ve seen the ineffectiveness of a sales manager who will not coach.
It’s that third point that trips people up – total concentration.
I mentioned at the outset that salespeople think they practice. They go to a training session and learn some new technique. Then they test drive that technique on a client in an actual sales conversation.
News flash: that is NOT practice, at least not the kind of practice Dan Coyle describes. Why? Because such practice lacks something very important: total concentration.
Put simply, if you are trying to focus deeply on technique, you cannot at the same time focus deeply on your client. And if you are focusing deeply on a client you cannot at the same time focus deeply on technique.
The only way this concept works is to apply the principles of total concentration to your practice time…apart from your client time.
Coaches, you have a job to do here. You must hold your salespeople accountable to practicing – repeatedly – before they attempt a new technique with a client.
Think about it. We wouldn’t want a physician’s assistant to administer a shot on our person without having done so countless times in practice. We wouldn’t want a lawyer “practicing” a closing argument in front of a jury.
Total concentration requires a firm and resolute commitment to quality practice, apart from the actual presentation.
But when your salespeople get that right, that is when they change the world.