It’s exam results time again and there are a lot of people hoping they got lucky. We wish someone ‘good luck’ when they’re going to an exam, but what exactly are we wishing for them? Do we think they need luck because they are so unprepared that they’ll never pass without it? Perhaps we’re wishing for lucky questions that match what they’ve revised the most, either way, it seems very risky to be so unprepared that they’re relying on luck. Gary Player, supreme golfer said: ‘The more I work and practise the luckier I get.’
Gary got really lucky. He won 165 tournaments on six continents over six decades. How did he do it? Practise, practise, practise.
If you do believe that luck is a determining factor in passing exams or any other area in your life, you might need to rethink why. What are you going to do when your luck runs out?
A lot of sales people like to wing it in front of customers because they think a repeatable system or method will damage their success by making them predictable and detract from their style. The difficulty in this approach is that sales is a structured process and the skills have to be learned. Individual style and improvisation are important but they need to be in addition to, not instead of, repeatable and sustainable sales skills. When they are learned, skills need to be practised and updated to prevent bad habits, short cuts and poor time management eroding the skill base.
Despite what you or your sales people may think about practise blunting the edge, taking away spontaneity or dulling charisma, practising sales skills actually increases all those attributes. Practise gives a sales person the freedom to relax into the role, knowing that they are prepared for any situation and allowing them to present as a truly confident professional.
It’s a mistake to think it isn’t important to undertake regular sales practise. Time, effort and resources need to be spent on making sure your sales staff are practising their skills and sharing their knowledge. Regular training sessions where a sales team practise their skills will ensure they don’t practise on the job in front of prospects, which might result in losing valuable leads.
The most effective practise focuses on training for the individual components of a sale. These might include:
- The meet and greet
- Role-playing the presentation and pitch
- Rehearsing negotiation
- The close
It’s equally important to practise ‘soft’ personal skills because they are equally important in winning customers. These might include:
- How to conduct a meeting
- How to listen as well as talk
- How to ask a client questions
- How to probe for more detail
All sales staff, no matter how experienced or how brilliant, will benefit from honing their skills to keep them at the top of their game.
So, what’s luck got to do with it? Perhaps nothing at all. Roman philosopher and statesman, Seneca, who died in 65AD said: ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity’. True in Ancient Rome, still true today.