According to the conventional wisdom of human development experts, it takes approximately 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in any given endeavor. Research suggests if you commit to the required 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, you can become good enough to be in the top 5% of nearly any subject, skill, or career field.
Author, speaker, and self-proclaimed human guinea pig, Tim Ferriss, has spent most of his adult life challenging that notion. By way of his three best-selling books, wildly successful podcast, and various other communication channels, Ferriss blows up conventional wisdom by showing the world how to get good at all sorts of things in a fraction of the time. His mission to “gain more by doing less” is the basis of his 4 Hour book series: The 4 Hour Work Week, The 4 Hour Body, and The 4 Hour Chef.
It would take far more space than I have here to share all of the specific skills he has mastered in a ridiculously short amount of time, but they include things like learning a new language, strength training, playing musical instruments, and participating in Japanese horse archery.
His process for ultra-quick mastery has several key elements, but two ideas really resonate with me:
Eighty percent of what we learn on any topic comes from 20 percent of what we study or practice.
Find someone that is really good at your chosen skill, and do what they do.
It’s pretty simple. Cut through the noise and fluff, and focus only on what matters. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find someone who has truly achieved what you want to achieve, and mimic them.
In the spirit of improving my sales skills as quickly as I can, I have made it a point to observe some of the most successful agents I have had the privilege of working with, and I document those few essential things they do that separate them from the pack. My list is a work in progress, but this is what it looks like today:
Develop a defined and repeatable sales process.
Always think “help” before “sell.”
Be happy with your results, but never satisfied.
Focus relentlessly on your true value-added activities.
Feed your sales funnel every day.
Believe in your products or find something else to sell.
Schedule time to sharpen the saw.
I have to admit, I still believe experience is worth something. The twenty-year veteran sales pro has seen and experienced things the rookie may never see. However, time in and of itself is not the teacher. It’s those few massively valuable lessons that matter most. Give me the equivalent of a ten-year head start with Tim Ferriss’ significantly shortened learning curve, and I like my chances.
Note: If you’re still looking for a repeatable sales process that’s proven to deliver results, join best-selling author, producer, and PMG President/CEO Dennis Postema and me for our upcoming webinar series, The 7-Step Sales Process. Click here to register.
Written by: Paul M Mallett SVP/COO Postema Marketing Group, LLC
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