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Serious question. What is stopping you from realising your true potential in sales?

Serious question. What is stopping you from realising your true potential in sales?

Developing sales skills through sales training and coaching

Most of the work we do is with organisations, businesses and teams who want to improve their sales effectiveness.

Occasionally we work with individuals, interested in developing the important sales skills that will help improve their sales performance.

First of all, the answer to the question posed above: “What’s stopping you from being brilliant at sales?”



To be able to ask the question of oneself, that first of all takes awareness – many people find themselves in a pattern of behaviour without understanding how they got there and more importantly how are they going to break the pattern.

For a sales person, when everything goes wrong, the hardest thing to do is hold up the mirror.

Fair to say that majority of sales people struggle to self-reflect, for whatever reason – ego, blind spot or fear…?

Taking some kind of responsibility for your success or failure would seem to me to be a logical place to start.

Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons for failure and suggest some kind of corrective action.

How much time have you spent developing sales skills?

So, in no particular order

Time Management. (Or as it could be called, self-management.)

Demands on sales people have increased over the last decade, despite (or because of) technological advancement.

Administration, reporting, updating CRM, sales meetings, 1-2-1s…and no time for selling.

Dr John DeMartini says that if you don’t fill your diary with useful and practical activities then the universe will conspire to fill it with nonsense.

The key in sales is not to be busy – it’s to be effective.

Basic planning for the quarter, month, week, day…

Using your preferred methodology – Eisenhower Matrix, Monday, ToDoIst…

Using something is definitely better than using nothing and if your unable to effectively plan your time around critical tasks then you have no chance of success but ultimately it’s all about discipline and if you value the benefits of a good sales role or have any kind of ambition for greater success then you need to be disciplined in the things you do as well as the things you shouldn’t do.

Poor product or service knowledge

Brand positioning, consistent marketing and clear value propositions give your customers a sense of what to expect from dealing with your company.

When it comes down to sales it’s not about logos, or high-value video content, it’s about then customers expectation matching their experience.

The gap between the two is usually disappointment.

Buy a lap top in Currys or buy a MacBook from The Apple Store…that will tell you everything you need to know about the importance of product knowledge, the investment required in terms of time and money.

If your marketing department is making brand promises everywhere then you need to be able to back everything up.

Typical product / service training at onboarding stage is barely the tip of the iceberg and whilst much of the real training is in the field, it never stops.

Always be more worried about what you don’t know than what you do.

Demand more training from the business. Learn more outside of work.

Think about Box Set learning…you’ll have no problem watching The Wire, Mad Men or any other peer recommendation..

The Ozarks?

Unbelievable drama.

Average episode of 50 minutes. 50 episodes across 4 Series.

Approximate 40 hours in total.

That’s approximately one of your working weeks.

If you spent that time studying on your service, industry, product or whatever – 45 minutes a week.

By the end of the year you’d be a whole lot smarter than you are now, right?

We’re at a point in the existence of humans were we have to call bullshit if you say “Yeah, my bosses didn’t give me any additional training.”

So what if they didn’t or di give you additional training? Your happiness is YOUR responsibility – that’s what it comes down to.

Just do it, ffs.

Understand the importance of developing sales skills

Lack of proper training

This is where I do my sales pitch for Shift Control, aye?

Well, actually it’s not.

The problem for many is that they haven’t fully come to terms with the idea that education only begins AFTER you leave the existing system.

If you think you are good at selling currently, just imagine how ‘brilliant;’ you could be with some ongoing training and coaching or a little bit of mentoring?

Think more about what are the key sales skills that you need to develop rather than attending some generic sales training weekend where all the attendees come from disparate industries.

An athlete trains in a specific way to improve performance.

So too does a chef.

An engineer.

Doctors too.

Start to think about the skills needed ( check out a previous post) and do some scoring and self-analysis. (Basic communication skills not just level 5 negotiation.

Poor sales process

Answer this question truthfully…do you actually have a sales process? One that you are disciplined with, that you know works well for you?

Do you have proof that you are disciplined and do you have proof that it works?

Yeah…sure you do.

A good process can make an average sales person great and a bad process can ruin a good sales person.

Discipline and rigour. To work a good sales process you need to be on top of your time and self-management.

Inadequate prospecting

Linked to your sales process, if your prospecting isn’t good then you can forecast certain failure in commission in the near future.

Sales cycles will vary from days to months / years. You will be able to work out your conversion rate pretty easily from current data.

Are you targeting the right companies?

Are you speaking to the right people within those companies?

Are you saying the right thing?

Are you speaking to enough of them? Closing one sale a month might require almost 500 conversations.

A good test – how many meetings are in your diary 2 months from now?

Try and get focused on scheduling meetings ahead of this week or next – there will always be pressure to deliver in the short term but you will need to generate a steady stream of leads and opportunities, in the short, medium and long term.

Adapting to change

The only constant is change, right? It’s just that change for many of us brings great discomfort.

You can be guaranteed that new technology will be replaced by even newer technology.

Every month a new author tells the world that their sales methodology is the only one you need.

More administration caused by the need for more accurate data capture.

Reporting, analysing, updating…

Not one aspect of sales or any sales process has been protected from change – small, moderate or dramatic.

You need to find a way to get used to it – it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.

Inability to build strong relationships

An inescapable part of what we do in sales, follows the old idiom of “people will buy from people they can trust to do the job required.”

Trust is a cornerstone of any meaningful relationship – some people find it easy to build relationships, others not so easy.

Those who make it look easy tend to apply ‘part natural ability and part hard’ work rather than leaving it all to chance.

For me one of the big opportunities for sales people who find themselves challenged in building relationships is to consider practice, rehearsal and recording of interacting with people – preparing what you might say and finding the best way of saying certain things.

Building relationships involves some of the fundamentals of communication – listening well, empathy and finding a way to be curious about the other person without freaking them out.

Being a good communicator will take a lot of practice and the amount of time you spend will be influenced by how seriously you want to improve you sales performance.

And if you are serious about improving your sales performance through skills development, we’d be delighted to have a chat.

Email info@shift-control.co.uk

Thanks for reading.



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