Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Perfect Practice: By Tommy Foster

Tommy’s Tutorial: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

On days one and two, there was an emphasis placed on cold calling, phone calling, and the entire appointment making formula itself. And this is rightly so, as these are the hallmarks of success in our business model. Many of you have been in sales before, but some have only had the “walk in” variety of sales exposure, and yet some others have been in some face to face, “outbound” sales, and maybe some have experienced a bit of both. Be that as it may. Whatever you’ve done, and wherever you’ve been, one thing will always remain constant, and that is that you will need to continue to practice everything that’s related to appointment setting daily, especially the things you feel you’re lacking at. The sad truth is that most people, and almost all salespeople, practice what they do BEST most of the time, instead of the doing the exact opposite. They should be practicing what they do the WORST, or the things they’re least comfortable with.
In the book “Outliers,” by Malcolm Gladwell, the author has a specific chapter dedicated to how the most successful people in the world at their specific field, such as Bill Gates, Bill Joy, The Beatles, & Mozart, weren’t necessarily the best at what they did, but they had practiced their passion for a specific amount of time that ensured they were to be the best. In fact, there was a “magic number” of hours of practice that absolutely guaranteed success. What is that number? A total of 10,000 hours of practice is the magic number needed to separate the average sales executive from the top performers in our profession, and in most all fields in general. So, exactly what is practice you ask? Let’s look at this picture a bit closer to get a better understanding of what we need.
Practice, according to THIS author, and for our business model, is “purposely and single mindedly cold calling, phone calling, & prospecting, with the sole intent to get better at effectively making appointments.” That’s it. And that is what all of us need to be doing daily. Personally, I have been in sales since college, and for an old guy like me, that was 30 years ago, so my 10,000 hours has been done for a while. If we look at this “magic number,” we realize that if we work 250 days a year, and can practice only 75% of our day, or six hours a day, for seven years, we will have had enough practice to be among the elite in our business. So, what are we waiting for? Some of you have been selling for years anyway, but just simply practiced what you were good at, and ignored your shortcomings. Will the sky fall because of that, or will the sun not come up again because of it; I really don’t think so. Let’s go forward, and press towards the mark, ok?
Now let’s examine the ingredients you will need to achieve a certain kind of practice; that being perfect practice. I was a very athletic youngster growing up, and played various sports, and thus had many coaches. Almost invariably, one would hear the famous mantra, “practice makes perfect.” I believed that mantra until I had the opportunity to play baseball for a coach that had played baseball professionally, & had enjoyed unparalleled coaching success year after year, and had coached many state championship teams. He soon dispelled this ‘rumor’ of “practice makes perfect,” and then refined it to the now famous mantra, “perfect practice makes perfect performers.” Makes sense to me! If we practice the things we do well all the time, we never get better at what we really need! Now let’s find out what we really need.
Our first great need is an action plan. Now you will begin to “plan the work, and then work the plan!” We must have a plan! But notice it’s an “action” plan. If we don’t “institutionalize” the process, and practice these principles in all our endeavors, nothing will change! I believe we should make a minimum of 20 face to face calls and 20 phone contacts every day of every single week. Nothing, absolutely nothing less will suffice for our success!
The second thing we need is passion, and it doesn’t grow on trees, and it’s not sold in stores. If we are painstaking at this vital “passion phase” of our development, we will be amazed before we’re halfway into the 10,000 hours. If you aren’t passionate about you, your present company & its product and service offerings, I suggest that you find a career where you can be!

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