Do you practice business?
Some of you may have seen the movie “Karate Kid”. In this movie, the main character is asked to pick up his jacket over and over again. For days and weeks, he only has to do this one movement without understanding its importance. Why should he pick up this jacket over and over again? But once his coach showed him how to apply this move to any situation, he suddenly realized that he learned the basics of the sport and therefore, laid the foundation of his success.
In martial arts – like in any other sports – you start learning some basic techniques. You first repeat these over and over again without any resistance of the partner. In the first step, you do static exercises, then you go into dynamic exercises where you apply the technique while moving. In the next step, you apply it to practice fights where you get resistance from your partner and in the last step, you go into a real fight in a competition. Until this point, you have repeated the technique at least 100 times, more likely around 500 times.
And when you look at business, how often do you see people exercising? When did you practice business the last time?
Some facts about practicing
Reading books and sitting in seminars does not improve your skills to the same degree as practicing business does. When you read something, you only remember 10% of the content. You retain 50% of the content, when you discuss the content. But when you practice, you retain already 75%.
Additionally, we need to repeat new content we learn at least three times. As you can see, doing something one time is not enough.
If you don’t practice, you stumble into every situation as if it was your first time.
- Did you ever had to speak to a service employee that received no training? And did you feel like guinea pig? Yes, that’s how your clients also feel!
- Or have you ever been in a meeting and the other part was absolutely not prepared? How annoying was that?
- And did you ever take advantage of somebody that had less information than you? Felt good, right? But how about the other person? What if you are that other person and you don’t even know it? It is not as funny anymore when you are on the other side.
No master fell just from heaven! Practice makes perfect
In business, you need to practice. Just like in any sports, you learn the basics, then the advanced versions and then you apply it to real life situations.
To master anything, you want to find out:
- When is it the smartest to use a skill you learned?
- What do I do if my counterpart reacts in a way I did not expect?
- How do I handle it if somebody throws rock on my way?
If you mastered a skill, you can react almost instantly. You naturally know what is the best to do. Because you practiced and found out what works best.
But it is wasted time if you figure this out while you are talking to a prospect or delivering a project for a customer or being in a negotiation. This can be fatal for your business. This ruins your reputation if people feel like you practice with them.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
There was a colleague that was supposed to do trainings himself after he saw me delivering trainings many times. He watched me delivering, but he never practiced himself. He did not go through the files, didn’t practice demonstrating the software or writing down any objections.
When it was time for him to do the training, his performance was not good.
To increase his performance, we went step by step through the material. He had to prepare it and demonstrate it to me. Also, I let him role play with my bosses and they played the worst-case scenarios with him. He became more competent with every training and as a result he became better and better.
It is important to do these training sessions before you start with your clients. If you practice something at your client, you are going to burn too many clients before you are able to do it right. You lose opportunity.
Doing business without practice is like buying a tennis gear and going to Wimbledon with the intention to win right away. It won’t be successful.
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