How many of you understand the importance of owning your own process? In Part 1 of this two-part series, I gave you three tips for connecting the dots to creating your own selling process ownership.
Ideally, selling is supposed to be easier than it really is. You already know that selling is difficult. You don’t think you have time to devote to learning. You are too busy selling and chasing quotas.
You have a nagging sense that you’ve been leaving out activities which are critical to successful business and selling outcomes. Nobody but you is going to fill in the gaps in your selling process. The knowledge you acquire from taking the time to learn, instead of spiel, can make the difference between making your numbers or not.
There’s a huge difference between learning and training. Learning involves exploring aspects of business that make you curious. Learning activities are individualized – by you. To satisfy your own curiosity, you dig for information. You read, listen and learn. Because you are genuinely curious, what you learn becomes hardwired into what you retain.
When you learn for the sheer sake of learning, you improve yourself. As a result, you effortlessly incorporate what you have learned into how you communicate with customers. You combine what you have learned with other information parked in your brain. As a result, you innovate and create relevant value for customers.
Training is an obligation, not necessarily of your own choosing. Training may not involve subject matter in which you are particularly interested, let alone curious. Training programs may be implemented because of lackluster performance on the part of the salesforce as a whole, instead of your individual performance.
Training is a standardized format focused on creating consistent output. Your brain files that sales training and only brings this information to the forefront when you are engaged in selling activities. Your training reinforces specific behaviors but puts a damper on coloring outside of the sales training lines. As a result, you avoid combining training information with curious-learning information. Training focuses on the output goal of closing the sale instead of creating and innovating relevant value for customers.
The curious thing is that when you learn for your own sake, you become better at selling. You become more engaged in listening to your customers because you are relating what they are telling you to the latest information you have acquired. Dialogue with your customers becomes an anticipated learning event rather than an obligation. Your discovery conversations become innovative because both you and your customers are focused on “What if?” instead of “Sign here.”
When you own your own business development and selling processes, your outcomes are a result of continuous learning. You constantly seek out information related to strategic trends as well as information related to specific players within industry verticals. You begin to compare and contrast information you learned today, with what you learned yesterday and in the past. You develop a proactive selling process. You start to tell your customers and prospects what you think they ought to know, as well.
This post is excerpted from my article in the July 2014 edition of Top Sales World Magazine and is reprinted with this author’s permission.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers like engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups to create sustainable business models and revenue strategies. She was named a Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer 2014, for the second year in a row, by Top Sales World magazine.