Chase Timeless Practices Instead Of Shortcuts

There are many shortcuts in life. You can swipe up to order a product, swipe left to land a date and double tap to start an interaction. However, there's no shortcut when it comes to sales. There's no surefire tactic that will guarantee a close and there's no magic bullet to immediately start crushing your sales quota.

While shortcuts are enticing, they're not always what you need. Steli Efti, co-founder and CEO of Close, says the best sales professionals often forgo shortcuts in favor of time-tested practices. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Efti's tried-and-true practices worth emulating.

Read the classics from your profession. Efit says that one of the most common mistakes made by people trying to succeed is falling victim to recency bias. They only read the latest blog posts. They only buy the latest books. They only rely on the latest podcasts. However, some of the best knowledge available is found in content that's 25, 50, 100 and even 2,000 years old. These works laid the groundwork for many of today's best practices. Efti recommends sales books such as The Art Of War by Sun Tzu (written in the fifth century BCE).

Start with a set of first principles. Start with something you know is true about a situation and work backward to get the outcome you want. Every meaningful conclusion you come up with should arise from the fundamental realities you are certain of. For example, you might know the date by which your prospect must spend their budget, which competing tools a prospect is already using, how many employees work at a company or which industry loves your product most. Efti says that facts like these give you a foundation for understanding your audience and developing best practices. As you reverse engineer what leads to each fact, it becomes easier to determine how you should proceed with your sales calls, prospecting, value proposition and all the other steps that can help you win.

Study popular mental models. Mental models are frameworks consisting of assumptions and generalizations that we can use to better understand the world we live in, from cause and effect to compound interest, explains Efti. Michael Simmons' chart of mental models is a great starting point for studying the models that can help you make better decisions in business—and in life.

Cultivating best practices requires time to learn and engage in deep thought. Most people won't do it. Most people will feel inspired for a few hours and then revert back to chasing shortcuts. That's a good thing for you. It means you have an opportunity to stand out. It means you have an opportunity to gain an advantage. You can leapfrog the people chasing dead-end shortcuts by instead chasing timeless practices that still work today.

Remember that the best don't pivot every six weeks to follow a new trend. They don't change their job title every time a new industry becomes popular. The best embrace the timeless practices that have helped so many others find success.
 
Source: Steli Efti is the co-founder and CEO of Close, an inside sales CRM for startups and SMBs.

filed under August 2019
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