Have you ever been to the circus and wondered how those trapeze artists got their start? Was it jumping from bed to bed as a child that gave them the confidence to fly high in the air with the greatest of ease? Was it just a born talent?
I took my two kids trapezing during winter break. While I felt safe about the facility and instructors, I still had to wonder how my kids were going to go from never having seen a trapeze up close to being caught in the air by a man in tiger pants flying full speed ahead toward their little bodies. The session took two hours. We learned about three moves and we had to practice them over and over again until our instructors felt we could do them without giving each much thought. Each try came with input for how we could make the moves look cleaner, how we could move our bodies more efficiently and how we could prepare for when we would reach out to be caught by our partner. When our instructors felt we had perfected the moves, we were ready for the big catch.
I needed about two more hours of practice before they would ever give me the green light to move on; however, my daughter, a budding gymnast, was allowed to move to the next level and was successfully caught by her partner each time. See here. This experience made me reflect on what I do as a sales manager. All too often we let our sales representatives go out there and “get ‘em”, but are they really ready? Some of our newbies may be like my daughter and already come with confidence and expertise; others may be like me on a trapeze and have no experience or confidence at all. But no matter what point they are at when they begin, we have to give them the room, time, and tools to practice before we literally let them throw themselves to a new prospect.
We never want to lose a good opportunity because of our own incompetence. We need to practice the basics, get feedback, move to the next level, and repeat. This is how we build confidence and competence. This is how we build a stronger sales team.
About the Author
Geoff has a professional history of quickly accelerating growth for start-up software companies and inspiring mature companies to sell strategically and with greater visionary aspirations. During his career, he has presented complex software and technologies to customers and partners in ways that promote the benefits and usability of the products and services. He has managed sales teams, key partnerships, and comprehensive sales and marketing plans for software companies serving all industries.