In this episode the one question I tackle is “How long does it take to become great at selling?”
To be great at anything takes patience. But how much time should that be when working on your sales craft?
Will it take 10,000 hours?
Check out this episode for my take on it.
Episode 82 – Transcript
Hi and welcome to the sales experience podcast.
This is episode 82 I am tackling some sales questions that I have seen online, been asked, dealt with on many occasions with sales teams and if you’re not subscribed to the show, make sure you do that. You can find it, iTunes, Stitcher, Sound cloud, Spotify, Google play.
You can find it on the cutter consulting group.com website. Just go anywhere that you’re downloading podcasts, look for the sales experience podcast and make sure to subscribe if possible, leave a rating, leave a review. All of that helps other people find it for now.
Let’s jump into today’s question. So the one that I get a lot is how long does it take to become a great at selling? Here’s the interesting thing about this question. Usually what happens is when people ask this, they are trying to find the shortcut. They are trying to find the fastest way to get to greatness within anything in particular within sales.
Now there is the fundamentals that Malcolm Gladwell talks about with 10,000 hours. If you want to be a master at anything, it takes 10,000 hours and not just hours, not just time, but actually quality focused effort on improving anything that you’re working on, whether it’s woodworking or car racing or arts and crafts or sales conversations, persuasion, being a public speaker, being a writer, whatever that is, it takes 10,000 hours to become a master by focused effort that’s on improving.
Now when it comes to sales, I think if you want to be truly, truly great at sales, it’s still that 10,000 hours and really its 10,000 hours of conversations in selling environments and looking at and focusing.
Also in that 10,000 hours, it’s reading books, listening to audio, listening to podcasts, watching videos, absorbing and doing everything that you can to improve the craft of selling, persuasion, conversations, problem solving, whatever that is that fits your personality.
Now, short of those 10,000 hours, which could take anywhere between five, seven, 10 years depending on what you’re putting into it every single day to be great at selling. I do honestly feel it takes years. It takes a few years to be great.
At selling where you’ve really had enough at bats in sales that you then have looked at after the fact you’ve replayed film, like I talked about early on in the podcast and like week two where you’re not just having calls, not just having interactions, but you’re actually focused on trying to learn and improve like a professional athlete would do where they’re watching game film afterwards and trying to get better all the time.
So the key is not just putting in the effort, not just putting in the seat time, but it’s also looking at how to improve. So to be great at selling, it’s going to take years of conversations and really seeing a lot of different scenarios with a lot of different prospects and learning how to engage and have conversations with a lot of different, some sales professionals enter the world of sales, a little bit of a leg up.
Maybe they’d been doing some type of sales since they were a kid. Maybe they had a lemonade stand, maybe they went door to door and sold things, whatever that might be. There’s some people are going to enter it with a head start.
I don’t think there’s any natural born salespeople, but I do think there’s some people who start selling in their mind in their life early, early on, like from an early age. If you’re the type of person who had lemonade stands and sold things or tried to wash people’s cars or mow their lawns or babysit whatever that was for you, if you did that, then you’re going to progress much faster when you get into the world of sales.
If you didn’t do any of that, that’s fine. When you go into sales, it’s just going to take a lot more effort and time to get caught up to where you could be.
So unfortunately, to answer this question in the most vague way possible, I don’t know how long it will take for you to be great depending on where you’re at, what you’re looking to accomplish and what skills you’re bringing and what experience you’re bringing with you to the table when you enter into sales.
But I know it’s going to take a few years, but let me give you some practical tips more than just a vague, terrible timeline so that you can get to greatness as quick as possible. The first thing is self-awareness. I’ll tell you the number one thing and I talk about it a lot on this show or if you’ve ever chatted with me.
Then it’s all about self-awareness. Learn what your personality is like, what your behaviour is like, what you like, what you don’t like, preferences, how you would like to sell, how you like to buy.
It’s very important to first understand how you are as a buyer, as a prospect. Go through the behaviours weeks of episodes that I did. There’s one in there. The golden rule is wrong. That one is important but no matter what the first step is self-awareness.
Doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in sales. If you’re new in sales, if you’ve been in for a long time, it doesn’t matter your age. You could be in your forties or 50s you could be in your 20s doesn’t matter. Self-Awareness is so important. First start with self-awareness.
You’ve got to know who you are, what you like, what you don’t like. You’ve got to understand how you like to buy because that’s going to impact how good you are at sales. If you can overcome your natural tendency to treat others like you want to be treated as a prospect, as a salesperson.
So first is self-awareness. Then find people find, I won’t say Gurus, but find somebody else out there in the world whose written books, who has a podcast as well or YouTube videos or audio books or training courses, whatever that might be that fits your personality sales style.
You’ve got to focus on that because what you don’t want to do is you don’t want to buy a course or start listening to somebody online and their personality is completely different from yours and you feel like you’ve got to turn your square peg into a round peg so you can fit into the round hole of sales and that’s not the case.
Now, there’s always things to learn from other people. For example, someone like grant Car done, he is the opposite of me. I don’t really like that style. I would never buy from somebody who tried to sell me in that style.
However, when I listen to them, there’s some things I pick up from him that works really well and I can apply. There’s other people who I gravitate more towards and learn more because it’s more in my style and I appreciate that more for you.
You may be a grant Car done style and that’s perfect if it’s not. One of the things I found is it can cause a lot of stress internally. I know speaking for myself, when I’m over here and I’m listening to someone over there and I’m like, I can’t do that, or I don’t like that, so make sure you stay within your framework of what you like and how you think you want to sell and be successful.
There are always examples. There’s enough books, horses, trainers, Gurus, podcasts, YouTube channels out there for every different sales style to fit how you are, so don’t try to change yourself.
Try to find ways to maximize who you are. Maximize your strengths. Don’t change your strength, focus on your strengths. If you care about people, if you’re into asking questions, solving problems, you know, then go that route and find the best ways to maximize that and then go down that path as hard as you can. Digest as much as possible.
Read, listened to as much as possible. Put things into practice. Get your sales manager to help you after phone calls or after meetings, after visits, after appointments, and go through what happened, what worked, what didn’t work, and keep working on your craft.
That is the best way to be great as a know who you are. Be figuring out the way to maximize those strengths and see constantly get feedback, constantly improve, constantly treat it like a professional treats their job.
Hope that helps. Keep going online, sending me questions. I always love hearing from people. Again, you can go to the cutter consulting group.com website. You can find me on LinkedIn.
Always, remember that everything in life is sales and people remember the experience you gave them.