The importance of feedback

During the years that I danced classical ballet, I was always surprised that video recording was discouraged – or even outright forbidden.

When I studied Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which is at the cutting edge of functional martial arts, we were encouraged to film during class. Unsurprisingly, Brazilian jiu-jitsu continues to evolve faster than almost any other sport.

Feedback dramatical accelerates learning.

Incorporating feedback

The profession of sales has a history of incorporating feedback. Pick up any book written for salespeople and you’ll find a chapter dedicated to feedback.

Unfortunately, for the rest of us who don’t work full time in sales, it is less clear how to use feedback to improve.

Record

The simplest way to get feedback is to record a phone or Zoom call, and then watch it back afterwards.

Important note: Know your local laws! It is often illegal to record calls without consent. That’s why there are the “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes” messages on custom service help lines.

You’ll learn a lot about how you can improve by listening back to one call for every ten you make.

Internal feedback

You are your own best source of feedback.

As you watch back a sales call, take note of what you said and did. Note your prospect’s reaction. Over time, you’ll see patterns and areas for improvement.

Do try to avoid berating yourself for your mistakes. Just observe and save your assessment for later.

External feedback

Anytime I’m teaching someone how to sell, I watch some of their sales calls and give a lot of feedback.

Ask a friend to watch back with you and give you feedback in real time. Pick your most detail-oriented friend and trade 30 minutes of their time for a coffee.

They’ll help you see things that you don’t by yourself.

Notice what you say

The most obvious area to critique is what you say. Where did what you said work well and where did it fall flat? Are there patterns of speech that you use that work well or that you could improve?

Body language

Notice your body language. How does your posture, facial expression, and body language complement or interfere with what you are saying? Are there ways that you can improve your body language to improve how your sales pitch is received?

Notice how you felt

Prospective customers pick up on how you’re feeling.

During your review, analyze how you feel during a sale. Look for specific moments where you felt especially good and bad. Query those moments to understand the emotions and states behind them.

Celebrate

Look for the small successes during your sales call – moments when you felt great – and celebrate them!

Practice feeling appreciative of what went well for you and those moments will be more likely to recur in the future.

(Read this article for a more thorough discussion of the benefits of celebration.)

The impact of feedback in learning to sell – or in any discipline – is profound.

These days, I record a few moments of every workout, not just for posting on social media, but so I can observe myself from the outside and look for areas of improvement.

Next time you’re going into a sales pitch or even just making a mundane ask of a friend, record yourself, review it, and let me know what you learn!

Until next time,
Robin

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