'I Don't Care What You Think.'
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
The biggest challenge to effective sales training is pride. It manifests in quite a few different ways. Pride by management to believe their way is the right way and no other method is permissible. Pride by management to not care if what they are teaching is resonating with their staff. Pride gets in the way of a rep admitting that they aren't perfect and they stop investing in opportunities to grow. Pride makes a rep look around a sales training room and say, 'I don't want to embarrass myself by asking this question, or participating in this exercise.' And that last one is what we'll talk about today. We need a different kind of pride for a rep. Pride for a rep to be able to say to their peers, 'I don't care what you think. I'm throwing myself at this to get better.'
That last one is so critical. Charlie Slonaker, VP of Ticket Sales & Service for the Philadelphia Union, was on the #TopSellerPodcast last week, and we spoke about how greatness was a choice. We spoke about how it is the hardest choice for a rep to make. When you choose mediocrity, or you choose to care about what your peers think, then you give yourself a margin for error. If it doesn't work...you didn't really try...so you didn't really lose anything. If you choose greatness, just mathematically, you will probably fall on your face. Over....and over...and over again. When it comes to sales training, greatness means that you listen, think, and question what you hear. It means that you volunteer when a volunteer is asked for. When you finish training, you think about which learnings you want to implement...then you practice them and try them immediately.
When I did sales trainings, I saw stubborn reps ALL the time. They didn't volunteer. They avoided eye contact. They didn't take notes. They weren't filled with fear. If they were, they wouldn't have interviewed and got a job at a professional sports team. They were filled with pride. Pride that if they stepped forward and failed, and it didn't work...that that, somehow, was worse than actually improving and getting better.
Those who put their pride aside and said, 'I don't care'? They volunteer. They ask questions. They think about the sales trainings and were the ones who wrote me thoughtful emails about what they learned. They believe that, as the great philosopher Tin Cup McAvoy said, greatness courts failure...and have chosen to be great.
'I don't care what you think...I choose greatness,' is the most powerful decision a salesperson can make to ensure that they are taking advantage of their sales training time. Only making sales calls doesn't make a salesperson great. As my dad said, 'Practice doesn't make perfect. If you practice the wrong thing, you won't be perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.' Learning about sales from those that are better than you? And are giving of their time to prove that they care about your growth? That will help make you great.
The great coach Lou Holtz' quote (on the right) is one that I truly, genuinely believe. You are not ordinary. You beat out TONS of people to get a job in professional sports sales. You have all the ability in the world to grow as a salesperson...but, ultimately, you have to make that decision for yourself. The best advice I can give to a rep to take advantage of sales training? Set out to be great & don't care what others think about how you accomplish it...the rest will take care of itself.