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Context…

So, I am leading this “sales training class”.  Context?  My participants are experienced, successful business people.  My worry?  The term “sales training” can conjure up all sorts of concerns – including “a waste of time”.  Hopefully, they have not moved beyond the philosophies of the original sales masters:

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. 

Zig Ziglar

Adding to my dilemma (and their “fun”) the class runs for 3 days.  Three days; from 8am to 5pm; homework each evening; no mid-morning or mid-day breaks; working lunches.  And, although I cannot prevent mobile, multi-tasking throughout the day – I’m willing to compete for my participants’ participation.

You might wonder:  How can I possibly keep a class of senior, successful sales people fully engaged for such a prolonged period of time?  Well, permit me to add a bit more context – because the primary message I deliver in the class is all about the concepts of context.

Sales training:  Actually, the class is a practice session.  You see, from the context of selling skills, it doesn’t matter “what I got”.  What matters is “what they got”.  If I can help what they got even a little, then I have done my job.  “Helping them” is fashioned after the most successful people I can think of (although tempered a bit to remain in the appropriate context of our profession):

Al McGuire, former head basketball coach of Marquette University, once said, “A team should be an extension of the coach’s personality.  My teams were arrogant and obnoxious.”

Waste of time:  The attendees are actually my clients.  They have literally paid a few thousand dollars to join me in Denver.  Before they leave, it is my responsibility to insure they get their money’s worth.  Taking breaks; stopping for lunch; free evenings?  We “run” within the context of a different psychology:

“PACE”… 

Notice that in the mile we do not allow for much of a slowing down of the pace in the third quarter.  We certainly realize that at this point in the race there is great difficulty in maintaining the tempo and many coaches feel this is the proper time to rest.  We feel it is essential to maintain the pace at this time and that quite often the slowing down is merely a psychological thing. 

Joe Newton

Experienced Sales People:  Yes, but experienced in what context?  The challenge many senior, successful sales people have today is adapting to how “modern buyers buy”.  Most participants I work with gained their knowledge and skills last century!  For instance, I too owned a Motorola “brick phone” in 1990.  But that cellular technology experience no longer applies in 2014, true?

Success:  As defined by what?  I mean, how “successful” have I been given the fact that I’m still practicing and trying to perfect my selling skills?  After plying my trade for literally 40 years, I’m still striving to learn how to win every day – every deal.  However, let’s put “failure” in context:

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

So, when my boss asks, “How did class go?”  I can take a literal interpretation and respond, “Well, nobody quit and nobody got hurt” 🙂  Which in a certain context is called “Success”!

GAP

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

 

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4 Comments


  1. Sean
    Oct 08, 2014

    Love this quote – “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. ” thanks Gary!


    • Gary
      Oct 13, 2014

      Thanks Sean! I appreciate you taking the time to read my little ditties and offer your comments. Thx, GAP


  2. Ken Jacobsen
    Nov 26, 2014

    Gary, I loved your training class in Denver. I have been to many in my more than 20 years as a business software sales professional. Your class was in my top three. As with all the training and conferences I attend, the hardest thing is actually applying the things you’ve learned when you get back to the office. It is too easy to fall back into old habits. As our company’s sales team leader, it is also hard to get the reps to consistently use the tools and techniques we learn. But, I continue to work at it. Thx!


    • Gary
      Nov 26, 2014

      Thanks Ken! Such a terrific compliment, coming from such an experienced and successful sales leader makes my Thanksgiving week all the more enjoyable! And yes, knowledge is one thing; the intelligent, consistent, disciplined application of knowledge is something else all together isn’t it? Oh well, as it has been said, “Progress is more about direction than speed.” Keep working at it Ken! After 35 years (and counting) I know I am 🙂 Thx, GAP

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