Are you a professional? If so, are you practicing, rehearsing and improving your skills every week so that you can perform at your best with your customers when it counts? 

Every professional athlete spends significantly more time training than competing. That’s the norm.  Traditionally, professional athletes train during the week and compete on the weekend. If professional athletes only turned up for game day and didn’t practice it’s unlikely they’d stay professional athletes for long.  Their practice is critical to improving skills, finding form and outperforming the competition.  The same doesn’t seem to apply to us other ‘professionals’.

One of Jack Daly’s tips from his Winning Sales Strategy session was the importance of practice.  To highlight the point, he gave us an exercise to complete.  The exercise was a simple sales conversation between a practicing salesperson and a makeshift prospect.  The third person was an observer that took notes on what went well and what could’ve been improved.  In less than 5 minutes, our group had completed the exercise and was into a rich conversation about how the conversation could’ve been improved.  In less than 8 minutes, all three of us agreed that we had each learned something new.  

We didn’t have time yesterday to rotate roles and practice some more.  However, I have no doubt that the second and third times would’ve resulted in even better performance and more learning.  

All of this learning and sharing came from a made up scenario!  Imagine if we did this on the real scenarios in our own business?  The so called ‘difficult’ conversations that are often avoided would become a walk in the park because we had practiced them over and over. 

One of the greatest cyclists of all time, Lance Armstrong, was famous for riding his bike 6 hours a day, every day.  The more he practiced the better he performed.  Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, also regarded as the some of the best athletes in history, were obsessed by the amount of time that they practiced.

Being a professional that outperforms the competition requires regular practice and lots of it.  Whatever your role, is it time to stop practicing on your customers and commit to regular role practice in your business?

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