Is learning the tricks of the trade a quick path to success?
No! It’s a quick path to failure.
How can that be? Without such knowledge, won’t the competition have the upper hand? Won’t you have a handicap when it comes to maneuvering a prospect into a buying position? No, again. The path to success is not paved with tricks: it’s paved with knowledge and skill.
Success is built on a solid knowledge of your market, your industry, your competition, and your customers’ needs for your product or service. It’s also built on your ability to skillfully apply your knowledge with the appropriate strategy at the appropriate time. Rather than trying to learn the tricks of the trade... learn the trade and build your skill.
How much time do you invest each day learning your trade and improving your skill? If you’re like most salespeople, the answer is very little, perhaps none. So, when do you do the research to stay updated on your competition’s strategies, strengths, and weaknesses? When do you explore industry trends and changes in your marketplace? When do you practice your sales techniques, hone your existing selling skills, and develop new skills?
If you don’t schedule time in your daily routine to increase your knowledge and build your skill, you will likely never get around to it. Allocate time each day for these activities. Get to work an hour earlier and invest that time reading your industry trade journals and the business section of the newspaper. Research your competitions’ marketing and advertising materials and their web sites. Review and practice your prospecting approach. Develop new approaches for helping prospects discover the need for your product or service.
There are plenty of activities you can do each day to build your knowledge and skill. It may be difficult at first—staying focused. But, if you stick with it and avoid the distractions, it will become easier... and you’ll enjoy more success.
- Jim Mattei