Ordinary practice doesn’t make perfect. No practice at all is even worse. But highly focused, repetitive practice of difficult situations moves sales people from good to great.
Here are 6 principles of high-performance practice:
Practice will always happen. If you don’t practice in training, you practice on the job. If you are a salesperson, you practice on the customer. If you are a manager, you practice on your own people. If you are an individual contributor, you practice while you are trying to finish a task.
High-performance practice focuses on just a few critical elements. For example, the salesperson focuses on overcoming two different objections and transitioning to the close. The manager practices on sandwiching the critique between two compliments. The worker focuses on the most difficult part of a repeated task.
There’s a great story related to Steve Kerr, a former NBA guard. Steve specialized in coming into a basketball game “cold” when his team needed 3-point shots. His high-performance practice was made up of his coach just chatting normally to Steve for several minutes on the sidelines before randomly shouting, “Now!” Then Steve would grab a ball run to the 3-point line and shoot. The untraditional, focused practice worked wonders because Steve didn’t need practice shooting 3-pointers, he needed practice shooting “cold.”
We need to a better way to practice than going into a classroom and watching nine other people role-play before you get 3 minutes of practice with feedback from the instructor. For our clients we use daily knowledge reinforcement apps or remote role-play technology with daily “workouts.”
High-performance practice needs feedback – and you can’t get good feedback without good measurement.
We need all the motivation we can muster to draw people into high-performance practice. That’s where gamification comes in. The trick is that not every gamification tactic or tool works for everyone, the best gamification solutions are ones that address the unique needs and desires of the target audience.