We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect. That magic happens after 10,000 hours of doing something. That the reason that person is on the cover of the industry magazine is because they went further and committed more than anyone else. And do you know what? I believe that is likely true. But I also believe it is hard to gain that kind of mastery of the skills needed in sales and relationship driven profession outside of playing with live fire.
Two of my favorite movies about the mastery of a skill and how far someone is willing to go to obtain greatness are Burnt and Whiplash. In each movie, the main character commits more to their work than anyone else. In both cases, they sacrifice things that others weren’t willing to, push themselves to the brink of physical and mental exhaustion, and continue pursuing their best to the point of madness. As I watch these movies, I admire the dedication, but I also jealous that there is a way to practice their skill, a place to work out the details that will set them apart as a chef and as a musician, and to try new things without it having to count toward their final performance.
From the first day of sales training a couple months after I turned 20 years old until now, all sales skills and technics that have been shared by others in a classroom have only served as guidance until I ultimately learned them live and with an actual deal on the line. No matter how many times you practice a pitch to yourself, the dynamic of sales that can never be replicated is that the conversation involves another person that will bring inevitably bring a whole new set of variables, priorities, and mannerisms that aren’t easily replicated or prepared for.
As I have mulled over the ways I now endeavor to teach, train, and pass on the lessons from the front lines of sales to my team or to students at Exosphere, I’ve always known that there was only so much I could do without giving them a live deal and trusting them go out and do their best with it. That is until I came across Mary Lemmer and Improv4...