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Column Marketing & Sales

Sales: Practice Makes Perfect


One of my clients, Bob, is one of the best corn hole players in the country. He plays competitions almost every weekend. To prepare for these competitions, he plays in a Monday league and a Wednesday league. And since both of those leagues are also competitive, he practices three hours every night in his gym — after all, practice makes perfect.

He is a new client and on our first call the other day, he was concerned with how his small group training has dropped from a few dozen folks paying several dollars per month, to currently less than a baker’s dozen being involved.

As I explored with him the potential reasons for the drop in numbers, I discovered that he has a new personal training salesperson. This new teammate has put 20 new members through what he calls a “starting point workout.” It is a complimentary hour that includes a workout, and of course, a training membership price presentation at the end.

The salesperson is zero for 20.

“Hey Bob, if you put so many hours into practicing corn hole, I am assuming that you have spent a lot of time with the new salesperson on training, role playing, etc.”

“Um, no, not really.”

“How many times has he put you through a ‘starting point workout?’”

“He hasn’t.”

Exploring further, I learned that the gym owner is pretty good at booking appointments for the starting point workout with new members. He success rate is around 60 percent. The other salesperson, however, is below 40 percent.

“Bob, how often do you role play and practice with your salespeople, with the goal of getting their starting point workouts appointments to increase?”

By now, you know what his answer was.

Despite the fact that Bob practiced, practiced and practiced when it came to corn hole, that mindset wasn’t transitioning to his place of work. He knew that practice makes perfect in other areas of his life, and needed to share that philosophy with his sales staff. Especially in sales and customer service, practicing on a regular basis is essential to success.

If you are having similar issues as Bob, then start making practicing a daily, weekly and monthly habit. And if you want to get really good at something, you have to teach it. Have a meeting with your sales staff. Assign each of them something to teach, whether it’s telephone inquiries, referrals or tours (with tours, break them into 5 steps. Email me at jason@jasonlinse.com with “5 steps” in the subject line and I will get you back information on the 5 steps that I teach).

Then, as a group, go through these scenarios. Then debrief, asking sales staff for feedback. Do this once per week as a group for one hour. Spend an additional hour each week, one-on-one with each salesperson and front desk person.

This isn’t most people’s favorite thing to do. But if you want to be successful, you must work on your weaknesses, and not only on your strengths. Remember, practice makes perfect.

Keep changing lives.  

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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