Sales Essentials Blog

Using Intelligent Practice to improve sales results

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In a time poor world, many people including sales leaders and salespeople often bemoan the fact that they cannot seem to make time for important things like continued professional development, coaching, and thorough planning thus leaving their evolution and sales results to chance.

Rushing through the day, responding to ‘urgent’ matters and deadlines, getting in and out of sales meetings as quickly as possible, doing the bare minimum with CRM and reporting, with little or no time for reflection or developing mastery in their core capabilities seems to be the lot of many sales teams today.

When we rush through tasks, client meetings, coaching sessions, reports and so on, we can miss vital lessons that are present in these moments; those lessons that can show us or teach us how to do something better for the next time.

For instance, sales leaders usually fear setting up Perpetual Learning Environments (with a mix of infield, online, classroom and self-directed learning) because it looks like more work to do in their already busy schedule.

However, most of what they need to do to set up a Perpetual Learning Environment can be achieved by approaching differently what they are already doing by:

  • Sales meetings
  • Infield joint client meetings
  • One on one coaching
  • In-field coaching
  • Team learning sessions, etc.

and think about how they can do these things more intelligently by using Intelligent Practice strategies instead.

What is Intelligent Practice?

  1. It is teaching and coaching for mastery
  2. It involves developing intelligent habits
  3. It is the precise designing of student activities and practice questions, so that, rather than students repeating a mechanical activity, they are taken down a path where the thinking process about the activity is practised with increasing creativity instead of rote learning
  4. It is about making your own practice interesting, intriguing, stimulating so that it maintains your curiosity
  5. It develops intention, awareness, structure and perseverance
  6. It sees errors as opportunities to learn versus mistakes to be threatened by
  7. It cultivates a ‘Beginners Mind’
  8. It is underpinned by curiosity
  9. It concentrates on one aspect at a time; breaking things down into smaller and smaller components
  10. It is about sequential learning big to small, outer to inner
  11. It is about a balance between repetition and keeping it fresh
  12. It explores the difference between copying or mimicking and making it your own
  13. It is about being clear on what to practice at each stage, with our understanding and insights constantly changing and evolving
  14. It is about revisiting previous understandings from the deepest levels and continuing to evolve and adapt
  15. It is about understanding and managing your emotions and knowing how you habitually support or sabotage your own best efforts
  16. It can and should be done in real time, not just in those moments officially dedicated to learning i.e. workshops, etc.

As business and sales professionals, every day can become a day of Intelligent Practice.  

Think about how Intelligent Practice can positively impact important selling skills like the effective and adaptive use of questioning skills in selling situations. Or coaching skills. Or negotiation, presentation skills, communication and planning skills; the list goes on.

We also need to be able to seek help and feedback from skilled practitioners who are capable and willing to explain, demonstrate and coach us towards mastery.

What we don’t need is to wait for a classroom setting to do it in.

Intelligent Practice can happen anywhere, any time.

Why wait?

Author: Sue Barrett, 


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