Home > Personal Development > How have you "Stretched Yourself" in bettering yourself?

How have you "Stretched Yourself" in bettering yourself?

I'm doing sales seminars this week for a client in California. My seminar today went very, very well. Sometimes, there is a bit of resistance from some salespeople because I am, in essence, asking people to change their behaviors so they can get a different and better result.

Since we all get into our ruts or fall into using our automatic-pilot, this can be challenging for some salespeople.

So, as a sales trainer, I'm interested in your thoughts on these questions:

How have you stretched yourself or your thinking in your career? Were you resistant to change at some point (or now)? What and how
have you changed? What do you do now that you once resisted?

I'd really like to hear your stories. Please share your thoughts. - by Skip Anderson
This is an excellent topic, Skip. Twelve years of learning how to prospect, market, advertise, present, sell, follow-up, recriut, teach and train - which are all the hats I have to wear - has been nothing less than a complete stretch into the unknown and constant learning. It never ends.

I've attended all of our company trainings over these years with a couple of exceptions. I continue to use all of our company training resources. BUT I've also looked for the best training I can find from all the resources I can locate and I continue to spend ten - fifteen hours weekly in study.

I've attended sales trainings and seminars from many perspectives and for many products and business applicatons. I read piles of material monthly - I listen to trainings all the time.

I've never been resistant to change but I've had to continually refine what I learn, question what I think I know, and look for answers to: is anything missing and if so what is it?

How I've changed is that I have more confidence and certainty in what I am doing and will do than I did twelve years ago. I'm relaxed and at ease with myself in what I do.

What I once resisted was letting people know that I didn't know it all, that I had emotional and psychological and personal challenges like everyone does. Admitting that has been dramatic.

No one builds a serious business in network marketing also called multi level marketing through sales alone. The only way a solid five, six, and seven figure income based on comissions and over rides can come about is through teaching and training.

In my business that is the key and learning the subtle skills involved in that duplicating activity has been what causes the most introspection.

MitchM - by MitchM
Good points by both of you.

Awareness of the skills (New and Old) of your trade is
fundamental for growth in excellence.

But I have seen many eager Tyros become excited about the
NEW Slant, System Toy or whatever and Jump in headlong, only to lose sight of that which was working for them in the past.

I have always followed a Henry Ford tradition:
  • Study the Facts
  • See how they apply to current circumstances
  • Make quick Decisions to Move on or Accept
  • And be very slow to Change
The decision made by an Individual who is AWARE
and almost in all cases the right move. And something NEW is not always the answer.

Change is Good if it Fits YOUR position and not hat of someone else.
Many get caught up in the Seminar Syndrome and are daily seeking the Flavor of the Month in Sales techniques.

I counsel my students to attend no more than two "relevant" workshop/seminars a Year.

But I deals with very individualistic personalities. - by cjbart
How have you stretched yourself or your thinking in your career? Were you resistant to change at some point (or now)? What and how have you changed? What do you do now that you once resisted?

I'd really like to hear your stories. Please share your thoughts.
At a young age I made a decision to master selling. Like most, I had my own issues to overcome. But I was committed to learning and the hard work that went into learning.

My career took some turns, and I found myself advancing into the upper levels of sales management, for better or worse. Although I was a good organizer, and had no problems accepting the roles of leadership, I found myself adapting the style of some of the tough, and tough-minded men I had been exposed to. I mistook power for force, and I found my satisfaction had very little shelf life.

I came to a reckoning in dramatic form, when I stumped everybody and turned down a key executive role with a company that would have made me a millionaire. I walked away because I found a place inside me where I liked myself better.

It was then that I experienced a defining moment in my career. I returned to my roots, my passion for mastery, and built my own vision of what selling, and business ownership is all about. I never looked back. As corny as it sounds, the great profession of selling has been good to me. The hardest parts were the choices I had to make. I made the right ones for me. - by Ace Coldiron
That's a neat description of stepping into your own shoes and not someone elses and that made all the difference, didn't it Ace. YOU made the right choices for you with no regrets.

If you were managing a group of salesmen and sales women is there anything you would do today to help them make the right decisions for themselves? Is that a valid question for a sales manager?

MitchM - by MitchM
If you were managing a group of salesmen and sales women is there anything you would do today to help them make the right decisions for themselves? Is that a valid question for a sales manager?
I don't know if it is.

I managed people and years later a few I ran into stopped me and thanked me for the effect I had on their lives. In those particular cases I attributed it to a time when I believed in them and they didn't believe in themselves. An African American pastor, a friend who once worked for me, told me I had the gift of counsel.

And I have had others say I was a @#%&*%# to work for.

But, Mitch, I don't relate to sales managers or whatever it is they do. So I can't honestly answer your question. In my work, and business activities today, I relate well to some diversified groups. I love honest, hard learning, and hard working young people in sales. I love the rare seemingly dying breed of salespeople and business pros who take apart their methodology, examine it, and put it back together---always learning from others they respect. And I love my clients and work very hard for them. - by Ace Coldiron
"I love the rare seemingly dying breed of salespeople and business pros who take apart their methodology, examine it, and put it back together---always learning from others they respect." - Ace

That is rare, Ace, and something I value almost more than anything which looking back I see is a natural bent to my thinking since childhood. It's led me into all kinds of areas of examination often in directions that took me into strange worlds.

But you touch on a subject that every wanna-be-pro should be doing as consistently - and attentively and necessarily - as breathing.

Do you still take apart and examine your methodology and how is it different or similiar as when you were beginning and in the middle of your career, Ace?

MitchM - by MitchM
"I love the rare seemingly dying breed of salespeople and business pros who take apart their methodology, examine it, and put it back together---always learning from others they respect." - Ace

That is rare, Ace, and something I value almost more than anything which looking back I see is a natural bent to my thinking since childhood. It's led me into all kinds of areas of examination often in directions that took me into strange worlds.

But you touch on a subject that every wanna-be-pro should be doing as consistently - and attentively and necessarily - as breathing.

Do you still take apart and examine your methodology and how is it different or similiar as when you were beginning and in the middle of your career, Ace?

MitchM
Not trying to highjack Skip's topic, Mitch--but the answer is yes.

I think of my nephew who now makes 500k. Some home office underwriter was rubbing it in that he only works 4 days a week, and takes a lot of vacations. Brian said to him, "You know those glossy brochures they gave me when I first came to this company. I BELIEVED them."

There are many among that aforementioned "dying breed" that would smile at that story.

The great pros suspend their disbelief. The people out there struggling try to compensate instead. - by Ace Coldiron
Great Post Skip,

My very first sales position was a complete mistake - I joined a company thinking I would be part of their "accounts support" team (algebra, equations and numbers) when in fact I was part of their (Major) accounts support team!

After 2 weeks of quoting customers, calling prospects and order processing, I was ready to hid behind the biggest rock I could find and shrivel up - my comfort zone was Pluto and this position was more like Uranus :cu

I had a decision to make - quickly depart, lick my wounds and go back to income mediocrity (Office Assistant) or learn, get my head down and quickly learn all I could about sales skills, relationship skills and IT account management.

My learning curve was steep, I couldn't sleep properly and others around me in the sales team must have thought I was the Mr Bean of sales. :dun

However, knowing my 3 month probationairy period was gradually going by, I decided to knuckle down and learn....

A year later I was recognised for a special award for having spent the previous 3 months account managing the largest 3 major accounts my company had - boy did I feel chuffed! sn;

However, this position was internal - some years later, when opportunities didn't arise for external sales as I had been told, I decided to leave the company and venture into Field Sales - and this was the best decision I made, as my next 10 years of selling were fantastic.

The choice I had made to rough it out in the beginning was based on an old quote I heard many years ago - "Make the decision, then make it right".

Over the years, my education in sales has been based on reading, listening, learning, adapting and applying what I learn and I have found that this has worked well for me.

Having a real passion for sales and having an obsessive desire to help businesses succeed, is what has driven me on.

A great book I read about change is "Who Moved My Cheese" and this was an early inspiration for me.

Other's that have had an impact include: Solution Selling, SPIN Selling, Selling to VITO, High Probability Selling, Selling to Big Companies, Power Base Selling and Escaping the Price Driven Sale.

To me, sales really is a state of mind and the need to constantly adapt to situations (without changing your fundamental being) by helping enough other people (or companies) get what they want (as Zig Ziglar once wondeerfully put it).

Tony - by Tonyd
Tony, thanks for the great story, thanks for sharing. Anybody else want to weight in on this topic? - by Skip Anderson
Hi Skip

Some thought provoking questions!

When I think of "Stretching Myself", stretching my thinking immediately comes to mind as it seems to be a constant in my life
now more than ever.

When I think of Selling, how I do this has changed over the years.

When I started selling, Tell Sell was the thing, then more of a Consultative Sell, now I would describe my style more as
assisting the buyer to buy.

As I have moved through the styles above, I have had to challenge the beliefs I had and then shift them.

For example, a belief I held in my early career was, that "my job was to assist the customer to realise they had a need that they
were not aware of".

Now, I believe a "buyer" knows exactly what they need and want and my job is to assist them to decide how they will meet their needs and solve their problems.

It's interesting to note that as I invested time deveoping my skills and particularly my mindset, and moved through the different levels of selling from Tell Sell, "Push style" to a more "Pull style", assisting the buyer to buy, my success has and continues to increase dramatically.


Did I resist, at times Yes. What do I do now that I didn't previously, I read one book a week on business or personal develoment.

best wishes
Managers Coach - by ManagersCoach
Great questions Skip.I have had many different leaps of faith. Each time learning different strategies.My very first training was self observation and not knowing what to do next.Flying by the seat of my pants. I watched a great salesman named Larry Beck and saw the magic of his ability.He built relationships.

My next life changing experience working for a person who was a partner in a business and then purchased a business that was very successful . He used logic as a way to sell. Now I have found two different ways to sell logic and relationships.

Armed with these two different styles to sell I started a business. This brought courage into the frey. Now we had three different items.Courage brings confidence.

During the years I was an owner I discovered people skills.The ability to read people both empolyees and clients. I started to find ways to convince people to own from me and accept different ideas,(employees) I also learned the valueable lesson not to drop prices to gain a sale.

When the business sold another tremendous allie. I now had my feet set firmly in a tweener situation . I understood what management wanted and I understood what employees wanted.I was able to tie everything together and develope a process .

Next my life was never going to be the same as I learned even more valuable information. How to enjoy the ownership exchange without having to put features and benefits in the spotlight. I found out what value to the client really means.

From here I had a desire to learn what motivates people.How do I guide the client to a great decision.

Going up each step one at a time I had a difficult time convincing myself I must adapt and learn in order to be more successful.Not until my mid thirties did I stop questioning why I must change. I always expected my clients to change before this time.They always did change for me.However additional sales were one at a time and rarely was I able to guide a client into better then they requested.

my greatest discovery,learning how to ask proper questions to gain superior client satisfaction.Something I fought tooth and nail before I admited perhaps my process was not all it could be. - by rich34232
Great Post Skip,

My very first sales position was a complete mistake - I joined a company thinking I would be part of their "accounts support" team (algebra, equations and numbers) when in fact I was part of their (Major) accounts support team!

After 2 weeks of quoting customers, calling prospects and order processing, I was ready to hid behind the biggest rock I could find and shrivel up - my comfort zone was Pluto and this position was more like Uranus :cu

I had a decision to make - quickly depart, lick my wounds and go back to income mediocrity (Office Assistant) or learn, get my head down and quickly learn all I could about sales skills, relationship skills and IT account management.

My learning curve was steep, I couldn't sleep properly and others around me in the sales team must have thought I was the Mr Bean of sales. :dun

However, knowing my 3 month probationairy period was gradually going by, I decided to knuckle down and learn....

A year later I was recognised for a special award for having spent the previous 3 months account managing the largest 3 major accounts my company had - boy did I feel chuffed! sn;

However, this position was internal - some years later, when opportunities didn't arise for external sales as I had been told, I decided to leave the company and venture into Field Sales - and this was the best decision I made, as my next 10 years of selling were fantastic.

The choice I had made to rough it out in the beginning was based on an old quote I heard many years ago - "Make the decision, then make it right".

Over the years, my education in sales has been based on reading, listening, learning, adapting and applying what I learn and I have found that this has worked well for me.

Having a real passion for sales and having an obsessive desire to help businesses succeed, is what has driven me on.

A great book I read about change is "Who Moved My Cheese" and this was an early inspiration for me.

Other's that have had an impact include: Solution Selling, SPIN Selling, Selling to VITO, High Probability Selling, Selling to Big Companies, Power Base Selling and Escaping the Price Driven Sale.

To me, sales really is a state of mind and the need to constantly adapt to situations (without changing your fundamental being) by helping enough other people (or companies) get what they want (as Zig Ziglar once wondeerfully put it).

Tony
You have hit the nail on the head with where I am right now. When I was in advertising sales with a newspaper, I thought that was reaching outside my comfort zone--looking back, that was a piece of cake compared to what I'm doing now. At least with the newspaper, I had parameters, an active account list to start out with, and a crazy red-headed Sales Manager screaming at me (and the other reps) half the time, keeping us in line.

At the position I'm in now, there has been next to no training, no account lists, vague records if I request them---BUT IIWII (It is what it is)--The up side is an incredible amount of flexibility. I am struggling between whether this is an experience intended to get me to stretch beyond my comfort zone and improve myself, or if maybe this just isn't the career for me. The products I'm selling aren't the issue (5-star golf course, ski resort, meeting facilities, etc) - by rgrider
"There are no ordinary moments!"

To me, the stretch begins with understanding that you are either improving or doing the opposite. It is this ideology that must proceed everything that follows.

When you know that you must STRETCH everyday, the rut is ... well ... far away.

If I can make a suggestion, improve every day of your life. Live every waking hour as if it is full of potentials ... read the poem IF - "If you can turn every minute into 60 seconds worth of distance run ..."

Good luck and great topic Skip. - by Gold Calling
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