In most organizations, repetition seems to be a difficult thing to do internally, especially when it comes to skills development practice. However, it is absolutely essential to the mastery of any difficult skill. The verbal skills necessary for effective selling are indeed difficult skill to acquire. We’re convinced, at the SalesGym, that the avoidance of repetition, when it comes to skills development practice, is the reason why so many experienced salespeople are mediocre (at best) when it comes to their verbal selling skills.
Why is Repetition So Important?
As we grow older, we all acquire verbal habits. Many of these start at a young age, and are not helpful when it comes to selling skills. Effective selling communication is very process driven, but when delivered in a natural, conversational way, it doesn’t feel process driven. That’s the real challenge: to utilize a proven process without being obnoxious about it. This is hard to do. It doesn’t come “naturally” to most people. It requires repeated practice to get good at it, and that practice must be designed to establish new verbal habits while disrupting old ones.
That doesn’t always feel so good. When we’re learning, we go through a period of verbal awkwardness that lowers our confidence and increases our fear of consequences. We sense that if we’re awkward in communicating with a prospect, because the sales process feels new to us, that the prospect will overreact to it and it will lower our chances of success. As such, many salespeople prefer to communicate in a comfortable way, where they have more confidence and that reinforces old verbal habits.
Repetition is how we develop verbal fluency and confidence in our verbal skills. When we try a new approach or sales process on a live call, we’ll be more confident, and better able to connect with the customer.
The Power of Repetition All Around You
Talk to any musician about how much practice it takes to get good at the language of music. Ask how many times they have to play a new song to really nail it. Talk to a gymnast about how much repetition it takes to learn a new floor routine. Talk to a good golfer about how many practice shots are necessary to groove a new swing change? Talk to a video game player about how many times they have to lose to learn the tricks to get through the various stages or levels of the game. Talk to a good writer about how many times they write and rewrite paragraphs to get them perfect. Talk to a chef about how much practice with a knife it takes to really master the art of cutting. You’ll find there’s a lot of repetition.
It Also Takes the Right Kind of Repetition
A lot of salespeople do get repetition, in terms of practice, on live sales calls. Unfortunately, for many, they keep repeating the same results-limiting approaches. They practice reinforcing mistakes. Repetition, unfortunately, can limit our results when we keep repeating the same mistakes. Instead, we need repetition coupled with the intention to change and improve. We need to break out of established ruts and get back on the improvement tracks. It’s practice with the intention to change, along with good coaching, that does the job.
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