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Don’t be Complacent About Your Sales Skills; Learning is Ongoing

Don’t be Complacent About Your Sales Skills; Learning is Ongoing

Originally posted on the Post-Tribune website by Leanne Hoagland-Smith, excerpts below:

Given recent economic data, the economy is still in the doldrums. Maybe now is the time to update your own professional development by filling and closing your knowledge gaps? And always remember that knowledge alone is not power, but applied knowledge is where you will find true power.

I recently gave a presentation to the Indiana Association for Home and Hospice Care of Indianapolis where I asked this question of the 30-plus attendees in the room: “With a show of hands, how many of you have written personal development plans?”

Only one hand was raised in the entire room. Many of these individuals were quick to say they read and stayed current with continuing education units, but only one person understood the importance of having a written plan. We later talked and exchanged some favorite sales and business book titles.

With knowledge rapidly expanding, having a written professional development plan provides you as the small business owner to sales professional to C Suite executive the opportunity to determine your gaps, how to fill them and subsequently how to close them.

For example, mobile technology appears to be developing at warp speed. I am working with a new customer relationship management system (CRM) that looks at the future of mobile relationship marketing where social media is now part of so many sales people’s daily activities. Relationship selling is very much alive and well as noted in the book, “Who’s In Your Orbit?”

Many sales trainers, sales consultants and sales coaches talk about value. What does that mean for you as a small business owner? In the book, “A Seat at the Table,” Marc Miller probably best demonstrates what value really means to your potential customers.

Motivation is another factor facing individual salespersons as well as those in management. “Drive,” by Daniel Pink probably is one of the most complete and easy to read books on motivation without all that psycho-babble stuff.

Then if you wish to understand how to overcome the negative stereotype of a salesperson, grab “Truth Based Selling.” Learn the importance of integrity, ethics and values as you meet with potential customers especially when your desire is for repeat business.

As long as you gain one snippet, one new idea from any of these books, then I believe the book has value. Of course to secure that one gem of new knowledge or an affirmation of something you already knew but felt in the minority, you must make time to physically read the book.

Maybe sometime in the future, we will all have the ability of Data from “Star Trek Next Generations” and read thousands of words each minute. Until that time comes, make a plan to read just one book each month and then take that one new idea and begin to apply it to your business.

Click HERE to read the entire article from the Post-Tribune website by Leanne Hoagland-Smith.