The sales profession in our country today is dismal. People say they are pros, but they are amateurs. Pros do things differently in any profession, and sales is no different than any other.

Here are the million dollar questions. If you say yes to any of these, you are in the first stage of the pro world of sales.

* Have you read at least one book in the past year on sales (not a marketing or business book, but sales)?

* Have you gone through at least a half-day seminar on sales (with your own money, not company paid or sponsored)?

* Have you listened to or watched at least two CDs or DVDs on sales within the last 12 months?

Most people in sales cannot say yes to any of the above questions. In fact, more than 85 percent do not do anything to enhance their career. Would you go to a physician or medical specialist if they did not ever go for any additional training or seminars to stay abreast of current information?

When you meet a pro, you can tell by the way they carry themselves and their confidence is noticeable immediately. Pros possess certain skills that are not witnessed by amateurs. They are basic and take a little bit of work and commitment.

Professional salespeople:

* Are willing to learn as much as they can about their profession.

* Are always learning and keeping current about their product or service.

* Are aware and knowledgeable of their competition.

* Talk less and ask tons of questions.

* Care more about their customer than themselves or their quota and commissions.

Sports are a good example to look at what is necessary to be the best. The pros in any sport are always practicing. They practice basics, whether it be blocking and tackling, passing or catching, dribbling, shooting, skating or swinging a golf club. They practice all the time to stay at the top of their game.

So how do salespeople practice? By role-playing with others, audio taping themselves or practicing in a mirror. To role-play, you need three people. One is the salesperson, one is the customer, and the third is the observer who watches, takes notes, and offers their feedback after the role play.

Amateurs are content being amateurs, thinking that they are pros. If you hit your quota in sales, you should congratulate yourself and be real proud because you just hit average! Anything less than 100 percent of quota is simply below average.

Think about what I have said, make the commitment, and go to the next level. Not just for a week or a month, but for the rest of your career.