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The last 2 blogs I wrote were focused on increasing our ability to remember new skills. Today, I want to build upon the ideas of practice and the transfer of learning.

Transferring learning means that we have transferred the learning of a new skill to the ability to apply that skill in our daily work. In other words, in the case of sales or leading sales teams, we have developed the ability to use our new skill to improve our business.

So how exactly can we take what we have learned and put it into practice in a way that improves our ability to effectively converse with a customer?  There are 5 key activities that will ensure that we can take our new ideas and skills and have them translate into personal skill improvement:

  • First and foremost, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! Selling is no different than any other skill that we want to improve. It only happens if we devote time to trying out the ideas. No one ever became great at anything without practice. People learn best by doing!
  • Be intentional about getting better. That means that we are self-aware as to how we need to get better and are willing to devote the necessary time to learn more about that particular skill or part of the business or we are not as strong as we need to be.  I like to say that you can’t learn to win until you figure out why you lost.
  • Get your manager involved in helping you get stronger at the skill you are wanting to develop. Push them to make you more self-aware and to help you do “real play”. Real play is focusing on the situations and scenarios that we know we will encounter with customers and practicing EXACTLY the best way to handle them.  

It’s more than just becoming comfortable, the goal is to practice a response to the situation so that it becomes second nature and we are confident in our ability to handle them efficiently and successfully. Get your manager’s feedback and course correct as they guide you.

  • Create your own job aids to remind you of the critical ideas or steps you want to remember. Don’t rely solely on your memory but rather make it easy to remember if indeed it is truly important.
  • Find a colleague to collaborate with and practice with improving your skill – preferably someone who has already mastered the skill you are wanting to improve.  They say two heads are better than one, and more often than not they are right.  Find a colleague who you like, trust and admire as you are far more likely to practice meaningfully and intentionally. And it is only with practice that most skills will develop.

Working to remember the specifics of any new knowledge or skill takes a true commitment to get better. While follow-up is an important first step, the most impactful thing we must do is practice the skills we want to improve and not stop until we have achieved the status of Master.