How Long Does it Take for a Salesperson to Get It?

Our five-year-old son, a frequent subject in this Blog over the past two years, surprised us again this weekend.  First, he “accidentally” slipped into our pond, as he explained how he got so wet and dirty.  Then he appeared with fresh clothes on and told us he put his clothes into the wash.  What?  We had to check this out.

Sure enough, he put his dirties into the washing machine, used the correct amount of detergent and fabric softener, put them into the proper openings, pushed the right buttons and it was running.  Later, he even transferred those clothes into the dryer, pushed the right buttons there too, and completed the wash.

He has observed both of us putting laundry into the wash.  He has even assisted on occasion.  Yet neither of us believed that, on his own, he could correctly execute all the steps required for success even with supervision.

We read anywhere from one (Daddy as reader) to five (Mommy as reader) books to him at bed-time nearly every night.  Last night he read four books to us.  Whoa – on this same weekend he actually sounded out the words and read to us!!

So for two hundred and seventy one weeks he can’t do this stuff and then in one day he can.  Overnight sensation?  Hardly.  At 40 hours per week, that’s the same 10,000 hours that the Beatles invested in performing before they were stars and the same 10,000 hours that Malcom Gladwell says are required for mastery.   Our son has been preparing for these events for his entire life.

It’s the same with salespeople.  Continue to tell them, show them, expose them, demonstrate to them, question them, coach them, and motivate them and one day, when you least expect it, they will surprise you with the deal you never thought they could close.  Of all those words I just chose, the key word is motivate.  If they aren’t motivated it just won’t happen.  Oh sure, they’ll close the easy ones, those that would have closed regardless of who showed up.  But if they are motivated and you continue to work with them, daily, without fail, they will close the difficult sales too.