I have a friend who’s attentive, asks great questions, and always makes me feel important. She’s an amazing listener. I think about her often when I find myself intentionally trying to be a better listener. A little voice says, “What would Leah do?” in the back of my mind.
That may sound strange since (as a coach) I listen to people for a living. But like most salespeople, I love talking! For most of us, listening takes a lot of practice.
That’s why I’ve created a whole set of rules and guidelines for myself so that I’m always working to become a better listener.
If you’re in sales, public speaking skills matter. Now, if you do your selling one-on-one, you may think this doesn’t apply to you. But we’re always presenting, even if we’re selling to just one person. Besides, at some point you’ll need to lead a meeting, accept an award, or give a presentation.
When I was 20, I had to give a speech to an audience of 3,000. I thought I was prepared (I wasn’t) and that my speech was fully memorized (it wasn’t). Suddenly, 5 minutes in, I went absolutely blank. I still remember it vividly: a pounding heart, two sweaty palms, and a sea of blank faces. After the event, I vowed to never step on stage again.
I often tell my coaching clients there’s only one way to get over call reluctance or master their sales pitch: you have to write it down and put some deliberate practice into it. If you want to get good at something – anything – you have to do it over and over again. Makes perfect sense, right?
Pretty much everyone agrees with all of this. Until I ask them to practice, right now… on me.
“But, Dew… I hate role-playing!” Or, “It feels like such a waste of time when I’ve got so many other things to do.”
Today I want to tell you all about the book The School of Greatness, by Lewis Howes. I read multiple books each month, but rarely do I finish a book and put it on my desk… to stay. I have a small row of books that I reference over and over again, and continually refer to my clients. Lewis’s book made the cut.
Each of the 8 chapters is a separate section full of inspirational stories, thoughts, processes, and exercises to implement the steps in that section. Instead of giving you an overview of each chapter, I’ve decided to give you a deeper breakdown of my favorite: Chapter 4 – Develop Hustle.
Successful networkers know that networking can be an incredible way to find referral partners, meet prospects, and make more money. Yet I still meet seasoned sales professionals who think networking is a waste of time. Every time I hear someone complain about how networking doesn’t work, I think, “You’re doing it wrong!”
I have a goal to attend a networking meeting of some sort every week and recommend the same for my coaching clients. When done right, networking can be an enormous income producing activity. But when you just go through the motions, networking CAN be an incredible waste of time. Successful networkers network with purpose; they attend every event with a specific plan of attack.
There’s a lot of possible reasons why you’re not closing enough business, but there’s one critical, yet simple, step that sales professionals often miss. It’s a step that I see over and over again in my coaching and consulting business – even with seasoned salespeople who have amazing skill and make quite a bit of sales (but could be making more).
Here’s a real world example: recently, I was working with one of my coaching clients about a deal he didn’t close.