American Idol Sales Skills Training: Record a Video of yourself

When I see the stand-out singers on American Idol, I know that they did not get that good by accident; it was through persistent practice, determination and being in a continual state of learning. 

I discovered that I had a gift for singing Opera fairly late in life. I was in my early twenties, and most of the people who sang opera had already been singing for several years so I sought out lessons with a well-respected voice teacher. It quickly became clear that I needed to either accelerate my learning or be relegated to singing back up at the Macaroni Grill (a place I love by the way).The first few lessons I took were pretty much wasted because I had to go over the same information repeatedly. These lessons were expensive and since I had no benefactor, I needed to make the most of these lessons. Then one day it hit me, I would record every lesson, take the recording home and master the lesson from the week before. So instead of watching Star Trek, I would methodically break down each note, each technique, each concept, then be absolutely fired up about showing my teacher the progress I made from the previous session.

Like any other skill, singing is all about discipline and practice. Realizing natural ability only accounts for a small piece of the puzzle. Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers documents this truth in great detail.

Hence, the parallel drawn to Selling Skills. Top sales leaders are not only the ones who are disciplined to do things repeatedly, they do them RIGHT repeatedly. But the ability to cold-call effectively, give masterful sales presentations and ask open ended questions to quickly qualify prospects is not something that happens without a disciplined well-planned approach.

Here are some ideas on how to become the next big thing in your sales organization.

Record yourself on Video.

Though it can be difficult to see and hear a recording of yourself, it a necessity in the sales development process. Record yourself doing such daily sales activies as cold-calling and making follow-up calls. Also record yourself role playing in various selling situations including giving a formal presentation. 

Take a hard look at the Facts.

With the evidence on film, you now have what you need to see and hear what your customers and colleagues are seeing and hearing. Look for things like repeated words that have no value (uh, um ahh, etc.). Listen to make sure you are stating your purpose briefly and effectively. Ask yourself, if I were talking to me, would I want to buy? This is the time to be highly self-critical, realizing that every mistake you identify and correct with translate directly into dollars. 

Correcting the behavior.

It is fun for me to go back and listen to early recordings of old voice lessons. It is a reminder that no matter how hard the process, if tenacious persistence is employed, the results can be astounding. By diagnosing and correcting the wrong behaviors, sales techniques can be honed and used as a powerful instrument for selling success. Also it is very important to remain positive about the process. Motivation is King. Keep in mind one main point of differentiation between stand out performers and average performers; it is the willingness to do what the others are not willing to do. And then do it repeatedly.

Please share your input on this topic.

If you would like a glimpse ahead, next week I will give the second installment of American Idol Sales Skills Training. It will be about planning for the performance. 

Until then, dust off that camcorder and polish up your skills.



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