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Study for Understanding

I pulled the manual apart
I recently interviewed Sandy Rogers, salesperson at Marsellos Pike Real Estate in Morayfield, QLD. I first interviewed her ten years ago and since that time she’s been a high income producer for her office.

During the interview I wanted to find out how Sandy achieved longevity in her career. After more than fifteen years in Sales, you’d have to agree that Sandy is a stayer.

A single mum with a four-year-old child (at the time), Sandy had no support network; if her son was not with her, he was in day care. And so Sandy needed to learn how to get results and get home to look after her son.

How she did it was, I think, telling.

Sandy happily admits that she made a lot of mistakes in her early years. But one mistake she did not make was to shun training. In Sandy’s words, “I pulled the manual apart“.

Before reaching this epiphany, however, Sandy merely read her manual. She could parrot her sales scripts word for word, but she didn’t understand them. Sandy read her manual; she didn’t study, that is, study for understanding.

Every time clients ask a question such as, “Why should I list with you?” they are giving you a test, one that you had better pass or lose the business. If you want the right words to come out of your mouth at the right time, you must put them into your head in the first place. You do this through study.

Yet while studying will give you the right words to say, it’s understanding that guides you when to use them.

Even a change of tone can change the meaning of what you say. Understanding guides you on what tone to use, what body language to exhibit. Understanding completes the right words with the right timing, the right tone – the right DELIVERY.

Many people stay at the level where they can parrot the right words. Few study their craft to the level of understanding. These people are the winners.

There are so many subtle nuances in Sales. Sandy said that in her early days she wasn’t connecting with people, getting to understand them. As a consequence, she launched into her presentation too soon, presenting before she fully understood what was important to her clients.

This turns a presentation into the child’s game of “Pin the tail on the donkey“. If you don’t know what is important to your clients, you are forced to cover everything in your presentation, making it too long, for the greater part irrelevant to your clients. You lose them when you do this.

By studying for understanding, Sandy learnt to not rush into her presentations. First find out what is important to them and then target the presentation toward showing clients how, by listing with her, they would get what was important to them. This was the turning point in Sandy’s career.

American sales trainer, Tom Hopkins, pressed this point often:

Practise, Drill and Rehearse.

This implies far more than just reading our manuals. It is the essence of studying for understanding.

It means get the words into your head, practise the delivery of those words in regular role plays – this is the

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