Selling is very much like swimming. You can’t learn to swim by reading a book about swimming, and you can’t learn to sell by reading a book about selling. When it comes to producing results, there is simply no substitute for experience.
But you don’t have to rely on experience alone. You can learn to produce results faster my modeling people who already have a lot of experience. You can model people who are already producing the results you want to achieve.
Here are the three things about experienced salespeople you want to try to model:
1. Beliefs. Once someone learns how to succeed at a high level, he or she adopts a certain set of beliefs that enable that success. Early in my career, I had a sales manager who rode along on a few of my sales calls. He was horrified by my long, coma-inducing recitation of my entire proposal. I believed presenting my proposal was necessary to win business. He believed it was completely unnecessary.
He then insisted I ride along with him on a few calls. After watching him close deal after deal without ever making a long, detailed pitch, I decided to change my beliefs about how a sales call should go. A change in belief always precedes a change in behavior.
2. Behaviors. People who succeed in any endeavor take a certain set of actions that produce the results that make them successful. Back to the sales manager I modeled: When I was young, I thought selling meant talking. My sales manager thought selling meant listening. He spent more time listening than talking. He won deals with fewer words than I believed possible. And he listened in a way that proved that he cared about his clients.