I have always used and loved the phrase “turning a corner.”
In my experience, learning is rarely linear.
Instead, I often struggle, struggle, sometimes go backwards, and then BOOM, something clicks and progress is made.
I have found this to be particularly true in sales.
A new sales rep can and should learn a little bit about their market, tactics, and sales in general every day.
However, the truth is sales people will often go weeks or even months without seeing real progress in their ability to break through to prospects.
Almost just as common, reps can sometimes regress.
Then, something happens. It is usually around winning a deal (though it doesn’t have to be), things start to click.
It is not the deal itself, but the confidence that comes from winning the deal.
It is not just the confidence that works (it helps), but more accurately the confidence gives the rep the ability to implement what they already know, and do so with conviction and authenticity.
This is a great feeling.
In sales, positive energy has a snowball effect.
A lot of this has to do with keeping the right mentality.
If a sales rep has even a decent coach or learning environment, they will be prepared with the right information about their market and have a practiced strategies for breaking through to prospects and properly executing on calls.
However, knowing the strategies is the easy part. The ability to implement those strategies authentically is what makes a salesperson successful.
Make no mistake, this mentality cannot be accomplished just from discipline alone, or being in the right mood. Being able to execute sound sales strategy is a skill that takes time to develop.
I have seen many reps make the transition, and it is a beautiful thing.
All of a sudden, their demeanor changes. They internalize and understand the principles they have been taught. They make them their own. They are able to communicate with prospects authentically, within a methodology that gets results.
So how can you make sure you turn that corner? Ironically, in my experience you have to just keep trying to better every day. This can be hard. But if you are working on getting better in sales, it’s okay. Keep grinding, and keep learning, you will “turn the corner” and it will be glorious.
This is also super important for managers/coaches to understand. Coach your new reps to be better every day, but know that progress will likely not be steady. Define and convey your philosophy, build your case on why it will work, and be patient knowing that progress may take time but when progress happens it is often drastic.
When they turn that corner, make sure you let them leave you in the dust and flex their new confidence and independence. Be supportive, and soon you can continue coaching them at a different level and speed.