Thursday, September 24, 2009

Facts and Fallacies About Selling: Fallacy #3

Fallacy: Salespeople can learn to sell simply by reading books, watching videos, taking on-line courses, listening to experts, or aping (benchmarking - copying) high-producers.

Reality: Few salespeople put into action what they see, read, or hear. They cannot hit aggressive targets by simply modelling top producers. At best, they gain a few “tips” to incorporate into their current (ineffective) approaches. Lectures and videos about how selling “should be” are sometimes impressive, but ineffective in creating blockbuster sales increases. Trying to live up to a perfect model is an impossible dream. The implication is that there is a “right” way to sell. A search for the elusive right way undermines an individual’s capacity to think for themselves.

There is no “one size fits all recipe for success.”

Rookie golfers and athletes spend thousands on videos somehow hoping professionalism will rub off on them. Many don’t even remove the shrink-wrap on the DVD or simply watch it once. Those that do, rarely watch the whole program. If you doubt this, visit a used book store or yard sale and notice how many self- help books, videos, and CD’s are in pristine condition. Incidentally, those rare individuals who actually put these tools to work would not let their dog-eared books or worn out videos out of their personal library. Only by thinking through their own selling issues and applying sound principles as a yardstick, do salespeople (and athletes) dramatically improve their performance. This process requires high-level teaching and coaching skills – a rarity in today’s quick-fix environment.

There are those who call themselves “coaches”, but a simple reality check tells a different story. Few of them can resist the temptation of turning an elegantly designed coaching process into a "perfect model" comparison. Most educational, and knowledge-based seminars follow this "success formula" model. That’s why common feedback about conventional training is, “Great stuff, but it’s hard to implement and even harder to sustain.”

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