How deliberate practice can improve your sales skills

Contrary to popular belief, with a few exceptions, “experts” aren’t people who have natural abilities in a particular domain. Rather, experts practice deliberately.

Deliberate practice as it relates to the guitar, is when you do this:

  1. Identify a section of the song you’re struggling with. This could be 2 bars, 1 bar or even a few notes.
  2. Watch your fingers in slow motion playing the section.
  3. If you make a mistake slow down and start over.
  4. Repeat the section until you can play in flawlessly 5 times in a row.

The intent is to promote adjustments, corrections and improvement before proceeding to the next section.

Deliberate practice requires a conscious plan for improvement. It requires you to “embrace the suck” as part of the process. And it’s not easy.

Here’s me deliberately practicing the intro of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

And after 83 hours of deliberate practice. You can see that the solo needs more deliberate practice.

Using deliberate practice to level up your sales skills

You can also use deliberate practice to level up your sales skills. For example, record your next sales conversations. (I always ask for permission by saying something like?—?“Would it be OK if I recorded our call so I don’t have to take notes?

Then isolate ONE part of your sales conversation you’d like to improve. For example, how you handled the “we don’t have a budget” objection. Did you sound calm or defensive when you responded? Did you stumble? What words did you use? What might you try next time?

Next, take your new script out for spin. Once you nail in 5 times, identify another part of your sales conversation you’d like to improve.

For Further Reading

Here are some books that have been written on deliberate practice:

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How

Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else