This post may start a little left field but bear with me. Every Tuesday morning I take my son to school in East Sheen in London. I drop him at 8.50 and then walk on to the train station along the upper richmond road. Without fail my walking pace is faster than the cars I walk past as they are stuck in the same traffic jam that is there every single morning with the same people doing their same old commute. I used to live in Sheen and know that there is a road that runs parallel to the traffic jam that is never blocked and pops you out just past the hold up. I used to take this whenever I saw the road was backed up. This got me where I wanted to go faster. I wasn't prepared to just sit there so I looked for an alternative route.
You could argue that this is just impatience on my part however I would argue it's logical.
So where am I going with this? Well, the commuters stuck in the traffic jam represent about 85% of sales people I have interviewed in the last 10 years. They all work in sales and are happy to take their time with their career development. They take the training that is given to them and they do an alright job. However when I ask them "What have you done outside of what's been provided for you?" I invariably hear the same thing - nothing.
I ask them what sales books they have read; what courses they have been on off their own back; who their sales mentors are. At this point there is normally a failed attempt at a bluff and it soon becomes apparent that they have done none of the above despite a world of resources at their fingers tips that would make them better at what they do.
The remaining 15% - the GREAT sales people I have met (and mostly hired) are the people that aren't prepared to 'sit in traffic'. They want their career to develop and they are prepared to do the hard yards of personal development to get there. They look for alternative routes to get where they want to be and they seize the opportunity at every point they can to 'avoid the traffic'.
The point is this - if you want to be the best sales person you can be then don't expect this to happen by just waiting for the companies you work for to spoon feed you personal development and training.
Go out and by a book, find a course, find a mentor, so the next time you go to interview or for an internal promotion and you get asked why you should be hired above everyone else you have an answer that will secure you the position!
So, i'll leave you with this question...When was the last time you did something off your own back to develop your sales skills?