I started my sales career taking an unusual path. I started as a butcher/meat-cutter. I creatively cut up and merchandised everything from a 200 pound sea turtle to a 1,000 pound moose!
I remembered the very first thing I was taught. It seemed simple, yet by doing it and making it a habit I would cut down on my production time as much as 50%!
This habit was keeping my knife sharp.
Several times every hour I picked up the "steel" and ran the edge of the blade at a specific angle and applied a certain amount of pressure along the length of the hard surface. Within 3 or 4 strokes the edge was back and the knife was razor sharp again.
The "steel" is the steel rod that came with the carving set you have in your kitchen. The one you never use.
It takes 21 days to learn how to correctly "steel" a knife and make doing it a habit.
By pressing the knife, which is something flexible, against the steel, something that is hard, the knife stays sharp.
To stay sharp, you, a flexible sales person who can easily talk yourself out of doing something, must make a habit of challenging yourself to do something hard as frequently as possible. To stay sharp you have to do the things the complacent, ho hum type of sales people don't like to do.
That steel should remind you that selling is not an easy way to make a living. That steel should remind you that to take business away from a competitor you have to be sharp.
Let's take our exercise one step further. Let's identify the 7 hard things you have to do to keep razor sharp.
1. You have to be good at planning and managing your time.
2. You have to be silent, ask better questions and listen.
3. You have to get the attention of your customers.
4. You have to give well thought out, professional presentations.
5. You have to overcome objections with product knowledge and facts.
6. You have to be skilled at asking for the order.
7. You have to take care of the follow up.
These are the seven hard things you have to do.
Do hard things. Stretch yourself. To be better than you are you have to do something you haven't done. Take the challenge. Go get the "steel" and do something that is hard or difficult for you to do. You WILL have a sharper cutting edge. Do it for 21 days and it will be a habit that will keep you improving every day of your career.