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spidey sense

Anyone familiar with the Spiderman comic series and movies can relate to the superhero using his special skill to detect trouble before it happens. In sales, we often dismiss these intuitive skills as special gifts or “it just comes with experience” and so on. But science has helped us understand the underlying mental actions that are at work when we use our intuitive instincts, or said more simply, our “Spidey-Sense!”

Considering the age-old history of sales, I was surprised when I did a google search of “the most critical skills in selling,” to discover that sales pundits are all over the map on this issue. Some point to empathy skill, honesty and ethics, where others get into things like putting aside your sales agenda and allowing the customer to tell you what they need. Then there are those who offer broad skills like customer service and the ability to work across department silos. A few touch on listening skills which at least gets them into the ballpark.

secret sauce pic Three Ingredients to Boost your Perceptual Skills to the Expert Level:

 

We've all seen it first hand, that brilliant sales performance where the expert seems to nail every aspect of the selling interaction. But what exactly is that "it" in selling, the part that's hard to put a finger on and we most often dismiss as simply having a knack or "it just comes with experience." But when we peel back the onion a bit more, we discover the underlining intuitive actions that are actually at play. And not only can we unravel the mystery of implicit selling, thanks to science, we can now learn to repeat and improve these skills without sacrificing large amounts of selling time.

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In the aftermath of the 2008 recession, many sales forces were right-sized in an effort to cut costs. As a result, many of the newer sales reps were phased out or their positions shifted to other channels such as inside sales. The primary group still standing are the advanced sellers, salespeople with several years of experience through the recession years while in the same position or industry.

Until now, accelerating expertise has been limited to sports, music and other domains with built in practice cultures. In this article, we introduce the Performance-Based Learning (PBL) method which enables salespeople to learn while they work.

With the emergence of smartphones and internet technologies, science is playing a role in enabling salespeople to engage in deliberate practice training without sacrificing large amounts of field selling time.

Whether it’s an elite athlete or a Porsche 911, performance is all about doing what it takes to produce a desired result. To best understand performance, we need to look at the entire performance spectrum…

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