Sales Essentials Blog

The vital life (& sales) skill of Reflection

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Reflection is a vital life, sales and business skill. Reflection is on par with questioning and listening skills. It can help us achieve so many things but it takes skill and practice. Here are 3 questions and their answers as to why reflection needs to feature more in our daily lives. 

What is reflection?

“…the way that we learn from an experience in order to understand and develop practice” (Jasper 2003) “Reflection is part of learning and thinking. We reflect in order to learn something, or we learn as a result of reflecting, and the term ‘reflective learning’ emphasises the intention to learn from current or prior experience” (Moon 2004). Effective Learning Service at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland

What is reflective practice?

“Reflective practice is a way of studying your own experiences to improve the way you work….. The act of reflection is a great way to increase confidence and become a more proactive and qualified professional.”  From Brightknowledge.org

There are many, many forms of reflective practice including these two examples:

Gibb’s reflective cycle is a process involving six steps:

  • Description – What happened?
  • Feelings – What did you think and feel about it?
  • Evaluation – What were the positives and negatives?
  • Analysis – What sense can you make of it?
  • Conclusion – What else could you have done?
  • Action Plan – What will you do next time?

and

Rolfe’s framework for reflective practice where Rolfe uses three simple questions to reflect on a situation: What?, So what?, and Now what? He considers the final question as the one that can make the greatest contribution to practice.

  1. What …is the problem? …was my role? …happened? …were the consequences?
  2. So what …was going through my mind? …should I have done? …do I know about what happened now?
  3. Now what …do I need to do? …broader issues have been raised? …might happen?

How does the skill and practice of reflection help us in sales?

Reflection is of particular importance in sales and sales management. Without it we would not be able to understand our clients or ourselves and the changes in market and client dynamics. We would not be able to grow, adapt or develop, or manage our anxieties or errors and overcome challenges.

Sales strategy, sales planning and account planning are forms of reflection because they require us to take time out and examine where we are at, where we have been and where we are going. Good sales training that uses an inquiry based learning approach is also a form of reflection where we get to stop and examine how we are going and what we are doing in detail.

Sales coaching is a form of reflection for both the coach and coachee if delivered well.  

In fact you might be quite surprised how many pockets of opportunities to reflect are available to you if you turn them into a form of reflection. It is also important to regularly find time for longer reflection breaks, to allow space for bigger issues, new opportunities or just creating space.

Good luck with your reflection activities.

Author: Sue Barrett, www.salesessentials.com 

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