Not many people believe you are born great straight from the womb. Sure, every baby has the potential for greatness, but they aren’t born into this world already great. Yet we often hear phrases like, “she was born for sales!” or “he is a natural born salesman.”
Yes, we have personality traits and natural abilities that can help us in a specific area, but is that enough to make us great? In sales, you may be an outgoing person, helping your likeability, but that doesn’t mean you are a great salesperson. While natural ability helps, greatness and success only come with hard work.
In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell famously introduced the 10,000-Hour Rule. This suggested you needed to practice at something for at least 10,000 hours in order to master it. This concept speaks to two very important points. The first is that to achieve great success at something, you need to practice and work hard. Which then leads to the second important conclusion…. greatness is made not born.
Michael Jordan is arguably the best basketball player ever to play the game. He clearly has natural ability. However he didn’t make his varsity basketball team when he got to high school. He had to work hard and fail many times before becoming great. And those close to him said that despite all of his natural talents, he still worked harder than anyone else on the court.
In some instances, you need to combine natural ability with practice in order to become truly great. Singing coaches would tell you that even if you don’t have a natural singing voice, you could become a good singer with enough training, but you won’t become a great singer. However, most skills can be taught. We can become great at most things we pursue if we practice hard enough.
We often talk about becoming great at our hobbies and interests, but do we think that way about our professions? Do we want to become great sales people? Are we willing to put in the 10,000 hours to get there? Any sales person that wants to be successful should strive to be great. That means countless hours of practice and hard work. And the client call is not practice or training – that is the game.
After Gladwell released Outliers, numerous scientists tried to break down the 10,000-Hour Rule. What they found was that the amount of time practicing was important. But equally, or more important was how you practiced. To become great, you had to be training in a highly focused, short, intense way. Researchers called this deliberate practice.
To go back to our sales reps, this is a particularly important point in becoming great in the art of sales and communication. Most sales people get their training and practice in classrooms or seminars that make it nearly impossible to have short, intense, and highly focused practice sessions. This is precisely why HealthCare U put their sales training program for medical sales reps into a virtual environment. The training videos can be watched in short bursts and then applied immediately.
Technology now offers fantastic solutions for those that want to engage in deliberate practice via online training. Highly focused subject matter that you can watch where you want, when you want, and as many times as you need, provides the opportunity to train in the most effective way possible.
If potential for greatness means the desire to work and train hard, combined with the tools to make that training deliberate and successful, then yes, we all have the opportunity to make ourselves great in our professions. Resist buying into the notion that great sales reps are born… they are, in fact, made through effort and determination.
Do you think that great reps are made by their training or is it due to the skills that they inherently posses? Comment below and let us know!