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  • Brett Zalaski

The Taped Couch & What Salespeople ALWAYS Forget to Do

A while back I was alerted to a Seth Godin blog that really resonated with me. The blog talked about a couch in a nice theater that had pieces of black gaffer's tape holding it together. He discussed how he doesn't hold the second through seventh people responsible for the tape on the couch. They saw a ratty couch and kept it up the best they could. The accountability for the ratty couch falls on the first person. Instead of making the effort to fix it...they decided it was 'ok' to have a deteriorating couch in the building.

Whether it's early in their career, or late in their career, at some point, most #sportsbiz sales reps decide that they are done learning. For some, it's as early as right after on-boarding. For some, it's after they get promoted from inside sales and their internal training becomes less consistent. For some, it's after they make senior AE. For others, it's when they grow into a managerial role. From that moment of decision that they don't need to learn anymore, their knowledge of the sales process deteriorates. The first piece of tape goes on their fundamental understanding of sales.

I was reminded of this this past week while I was doing a sales training. The President of the team sat in on the training and kept reiterating to me that I was there because they needed to stop doing what they were. They needed to throw the old ratty couch out, and start to learn how to sell to their buyers in a new way in 2020. That was truly, genuinely music to my ears.

Why was it music to my ears? I hear all the time from reps and managers that they are too busy to learn. 'We had to move training this week...,' 'We train during on-boarding then we let them sell...,' 'We're only doing two days of training because we can't afford to have the reps off the phones...' ETC ETC ETC. That justification, whether rep or manager created, is the first piece of tape.

Buyer behavior has changed and evolved over the last few years. The selling AND buying process has changed and evolved over the last few years. The way people learn has changed and evolved over the last few years. Important sales techniques have changed and evolved over the last few years.

Whether you are a sales rep or a manager, your responsibility is to NEVER stop learning. Your responsibility to your organization, to your clients, and to yourself. Making yourself even 1% better as a seller has DRAMATIC positive repercussions to your results. Making your team 1% better as a manager has an absurd impact on the bottom line. That's why I love this quote. Learning is a choice you make every day. The best professionals I know are the ones who thirst for knowledge. The ones who think they know it all end up being the bitter ones on the scrap heap. Fix the couch. Don't let someone throw you out with it.

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