I won’t be one of those fathers who uses his seemingly professional blog to write about his kids, but last week my son illustrated a lesson about learning that is worth using as a metaphor for the power of incremental improvement.

So my 8-year old son has been taking tennis lessons with a small group of boys for almost two years. He is a very competitive little guy, so whenever the class exercise involved keeping track of points, time or anything else that could be counted or compared to the other kids, he really dug in and used his natural athleticism to push for – and often find –  a win.

What he didn’t do really well was technique. In the second year of lessons, when the tennis-like games for 6 and 7 year olds turned to real tennis technique work for 7 and 8 year olds, he just wasn’t interested. Unfortunately, most of the other kids did work on technique, and soon my sons natural athleticism became less and less effective against the more refined technique of his classmates.

As you read this, I am sure that you can see the sales analogy that is coming. There are those salespeople who find a way to get the metaphorical ball over the metaphorical net, and stick with that. They find a groove that is comfortable and effective enough, and they stay in it.  Some of these rote players even do pretty well.

On the other hand, you have those salespeople who work to refine their skills and to learn more about their craft on an ongoing basis. These salespeople often enjoy better sales results, but also may enjoy life more as their interest in learning turns to things like time management and work-life balance, or communication skills, or self-fulfillment.

So what about my son? Well, he went to a few one-on-one lessons and was drilled on the techniques he lacked – specifically – following through with the racket and rolling his wrist as the racket made contact with the ball.

After a few private lessons, he was a whole new guy on the court, and you could tell that he felt great about it.

By focusing on incremental changes, his whole game got better. He added what was missing and the addition of just the right things lifted him to a much higher level of overall proficiency.

You probably have a decent set of sales skills. As 7-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong said, ride your strengths and train your weaknesses. Discover your weaknesses, and train them. You might become much better, happier more fulfilled, etc. with less effort than you imagine.

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Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David