In the words of legendary NFL head coach and sports theorist Vince Lombardi, “Practices does not make perfect, only perfect practices makes perfect.”
This maxim feels true whether you’re an All-Star or your company’s sales manager. Practicing sales can, and should, be a good use of your time—a way to actually hone your skills and make you a more effective salesperson. But when was the last time you practiced selling? Do you practice selling?
You hear the words ‘practice selling’ and flash back to long, wasted Friday afternoons spent with your underperforming sales team, role-playing in a conference room. “Okay, Jane, now you’re the prospect, and Joe, you sell her the marketing package she doesn’t want.” Believability was never these scenarios’ high point.
The best way to begin your sales practice repertoire is through analysis of your actual sales calls and in-person pitches. All sales calls should be recorded, if not for “quality control,” then for your own personal review; you don’t need to imagine your boss listening in on every call to learn from your mistakes. It may even be useful to record your in-person pitches, but make sure it doesn’t compromise your authority in the room. Once you’ve reviewed your performance, ask a trusted team member to critique your approach. How is my diction? Was that the right approach to this sale? Did I understand that customer’s needs? How distracting was that yellow tie? Using actual sales calls is infinitely more valuable than rehearsed roleplay with the team member nobody likes.
If you include fellow team members in your review process, they will also learn from your mistakes, and they may even want you to help them review their performances. This will lead not only to improved sales techniques, but a greater feeling of camaraderie among your sales team—a sense of the common goal you unavoidably, and maybe even begrudgingly, share.
One final technique for practicing sales is to ask your current clients and past prospects to give you insight in to what you did specifically to sell them. You’ll be surprised at how some of your best tactics and skills are the ones you naturally possess, and know the least about. Hopefully, these conversations will inspire confidence. It’s always nice to hear directly from a source of past success.
Keep a list of the feedback and tips available when you review your sales calls, monitor how you incorporate them in to your approach overtime and how see how your delivery improves, and make practice a part of your regular routine of success.
What practice selling tactics have worked for you?