Have You Prepared for Success in Sales?

Julie Shenkman
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My wife and I watched the movie Ray a couple of weeks ago when it came out on DVD. In the movie Jaime Foxx plays the legendary singer Ray Charles. I was amazed at how Jaime had captured the essence of Ray Charles. Many times throughout the movie I wondered if it was Jaime Foxx or Ray Charles I was seeing on my TV.

When I did research on Jaime Foxx's preparation for the movie I understood why he had captured Ray Charles so perfectly. In preparation for Ray, the movie, he adapted many of Ray Charles' physical characteristics and immersed himself in Soul, Jazz and Blues recordings to set the mood; attended classes at the Braille Institute; and spent weeks during rehearsal and production walking around with his eyes sealed tight for 12 hours a day, to gain an intimate understanding of what it really means to be blind.

Many on the set where stunned by how spontaneous and natural the actor's embodiment of Charles became. But imitation was never the point for Foxx. "The key word for me was nuance, because I didn't want to simply impersonate him," says Foxx. "Rather, I wanted to capture some part of his spirit, that's all. There were a lot of little touches which I tried to layer-his musicality, his warmth, his sense of balance, his posture-until the physical side of things all fell into place."

The true story sells itself, and Foxx's interpretation is so uncanny that lifelong friends of the real Ray expressed genuine confusion on set.

For all this hard word and dedication Jaime Foxx was paid millions of dollars and awarded the highest compliment by the movie industry, an Oscar.

What does this have to do with sales training, everything!

Actors, athletes, doctors and lawyers are paid based on the amount of preparation in their chosen field. Did Michael Jordan decide one day he wanted to play basketball and became an instant superstar? Do the top heart surgeons in the world one day decide to cut someone open and operate on their heart?

Of course not!

They all spend years of preparation to become the best in their field.

Then why do so many sales professionals believe they can get to the top of their profession without proper preparation?

During my twenty two years in sales I've watched countless sales people enter the sales arena with very little preparation and then not understand why they failed.

I've seen sales people take little time to understand the product or service they are selling. Sit down to make phone calls with no idea what to say. Head out on sales appointments and wing-it. Then go home at five o'clock and wonder why they can barely pay their bills.

They want to earn top dollar without putting in the effort.

To be a professional in any field requires work. I'm not only talking about during the work day. I mean extra work at night and on weekends in preparation for what to say when you make a call, on a presentation, handling objections, closing, in all aspects of our profession. I'm talking about practicing outside the sales arena until you become so polished; selling becomes second nature, like walking or driving your car.

The stars in the sales profession spend time outside of their regular work day in preparation for how to handle every situation that may arise. They right out exactly what they will say in those situations and then practice and rehearse until it flows from their mouth. They don't need to think about it.

If you wish to be a star in the sales profession and get paid what stars get paid, then do what the stars do. It's not easy. It requires dedication, commitment and hard work. However the rewards are great.

If you want to be average and get paid what average sales people get paid, then wing-it.

(c)Jim Klein - All Rights Reserved

------------------------------------------------------- Jim Klein is the owner of From The Heart Sales Training. He helps sales professionals attract new clients and generate an abundance of referrals so they can increase their income and enjoy life more.


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