Modeling the Masters
by Robert Terson
Salespeople read books, blogs, listen to tapes and CDs, etc., as they struggle to improve, become better at their craft (it is a craft, folks; it’s not an art). They want to uncover all the “secrets” that make the top-tier professionals, the masters, so successful. I applaud these salespeople, I applaud their initiative; however, I think most of them are missing the number one method to garner the “secrets” they covet. I suggest this method to all salespeople who call me for help—it isn’t difficult, I assure you.
The method is called modeling. Simply go up to the individual (or individuals—you don’t have to limit it to one person) whose success you admire the most, tell her why you admire her, and ask her to help you. Most top pros will be flattered that you approached them specifically and will be more than willing to give you the assistance you seek. Then do the following:
1. Have a list of every question you want answered (you want to give a lot of thought to your list of questions, leave nothing out) and conduct an intensive interview with your pro; tape the interview if at all possible or make detailed notes you can refer back to. You want to know her specifics re all three sides of her selling triangle—mental attitude, work habits, salesmanship. Most of your questions should begin “How do you…?” or “Why do you…?” or “When do you…?”
2. Ask to spend an entire day with your pro (a week if she’s willing), observing her in action; you’ll never make a better investment of your time. You want to see it all, every aspect of her sales process, from the initial call on. You want to record notes of everything you see and hear, every last detail. You want to go out with her into the field, see her give an actual presentation; in fact, if at all possible, you want to observe a number of presentations. You’ll want to write down your notes immediately after these presentations.
3. At this point you’ll want to conduct a second interview; although, in reality, it’ll be more like a question and answer session in which she’ll explain to you how, why, and when she does what she does, so you’ll fully understand her reasoning. This is no small thing! If you don’t comprehend her reasoning, you’ll never be able to fully apply her work methodology.
4. Now you implement her methodology, you model her. And as you model her, you go back to her as needed to answer questions that pop up, get her take on the problems you’ve run into.
That’s it. You’ve picked the brain of the best and now you’re doing what she does. Simple, huh? Do it! As I said above, you’ll never make a better investment of your time.
Robert Terson is a author and speaker with over three decades of in the trenches experience in selling and working with sellers. He is the author of the recently released Selling Fearlessly. You can find him on his blog