In Sales no one teaches how to learn – How to build foundations that last

by - February 15, 2018


I wanted to write this article for fledgling Salespeople who are perhaps starting out in their career or have already been in the job for a little while.

I was inspired to write this article when a young salesperson came up to me while we were consulting at a B2B tech startup and asked me whether they should read The Challenger Sale. I was a little confused as in front of me was a young salesperson in their first real role as a Sales Development Representative (SDR).

I thought to myself…what is your reasoning for reading the Challenger Sale? Currently you need to learn the craft of Sales. You need to get your activity levels up, your mindset up, find out the needs of your customer, understand corporate hierarchies, what a steering committee is, the list goes on…

While mentoring 16-18 year olds on finance, my advice is the same. Why would you read The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham before you’ve even understood what income/expenses and assets and liabilities are. Or even what compound interest is? I’ve found that these people who try and find the immediate gain or silver bullet, don’t even know what the four asset classes are for them to choose from.

Therefore in Sales, my recommendation is that you build strong foundations first. There is a shortcut, if you’re looking for one. It’s in essence not wasting time reading the wrong things at the wrong time. All of these books have incredible value contained with them but like business you can the right idea at the wrong time.

My suggestion is to start with some foundational

books on the art of selling, particular ones would be:

  1. Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone
  2. Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
  3. Power of Ambition by Jim Rohn
  4. 10x Rule by Grant Cardone

After laying some solid foundations and getting the right mindset, I recommend that you start with matching books to the Sales Process, for example with prospecting:

  1. Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount
  2. If You’re Not First You’re Last by Grant Cardone
  3. The Prospecting Game by Wes Linden

Then you can move onto learning about qualification and start digesting the relevant materials for that part of the Sales process. The challenge for many is that they certainly don’t verify that you have learned the fundamentals when joining a new company. And secondly there is no common test that is carried out to verify and validate your understanding.

If you want to develop your own prowess in the field then you have to create a structured learning path to get you there. This means laying the foundations before you add in the nice-to-haves, the marginal tips and tricks and advanced learning techniques.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic and how our consultancy, Sales for Startups, helps B2B tech startups and Professional Services firms achieve their annual revenue targets in 6 months. Then please comment below.

We’d love to hear your feedback and see what you’re doing to create a structured learning path for your Salespeople.

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