… Was actually my mother, Teresa Labbozzetta who taught me how to listen, ask questions, and observe other people. In fact, I like to think that I was the best student of sales she ever had because, if you think about your own experience carefully, you know that it’s extremely difficult to teach things that you simply ‘always knew’.
For several years, Mum taught at Melbourne’s only hair and beauty training school and she always reminded students to focus on listening to their clients and hearing the message underlying their words. She didn’t just tell them what to do, either; she taught them how to ask the right questions, what to listen for, and helped them develop the skills they needed.
It’s important for you to know that, like those students, I wasn’t born knowing how to make sales and create meaningful business conversations. I learned those skills, and you can too.
The best trainers, teachers, and coaches are always those who can most effectively analyse and drill new skills by breaking them down into discrete actions.
For many years I was an avid golfer. One year, my Dad gave me lessons with a well-known golf pro for Christmas and I showed up to my first lesson full of enthusiasm… Only to find that although his strokes were exquisite and his scores were incredible, his natural ability made him a terrible teacher. Three lessons in I changed to a new trainer who had worked hard to hone his own performance and who could break down the skills and pass them on. Not only did my golf game improve dramatically, I learned an important lesson that carried over into my life as a sales trainer, sales team manager, business development coach, and NLP coach: demonstrating how something is done isn’t enough, you need to be able to break it down and explain the process in detail.
Despite my successful sales career and role as sales manager and sales trainer, by the time I was in my mid-twenties I was stressed, depressed, and suicidal. The only thing stopping me from following through on my plan to end everything was the realisation that my action would devastate my family and friends.
Attending a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) training literally saved my life. The breakthrough experience that I had during that first 7-day training helped create new options and new neural pathways in my brain. During that week, as well as during the many years of NLP training and coaching that I have immersed myself in over the years as I completed my certification then studied and trained to become a Master Trainer of NLP, a Master Sales Trainer, and a Master Coach I watched and worked with other people who were also able to move past trauma and negative self-talk and step into their full brilliance. It gives me as much satisfaction today to watch highly skilled and competent people step past their limitations and take on the roles they deserve as it did the first time I watched that kind of transformation and realised that the change was lasting.
As a student of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) I was fortunate to learn from Tad James, one of the foremost exponents of the powerful role that language plays in shaping thoughts, actions, and behaviour, and one of the few teachers of Quantum Linguistics (the part language plays in expanding horizons and creating new possibilities).
When I first encountered NLP, I had already been a successful sales manager, coaching high-performing teams for several years, but the linguistic skills I learned from Tad (which sadly very few people bother to teach past the rudimentary level) added new depth both to my ability to diagnose the real problems people needed to solve and to my ability to present appropriate solutions. It turned out, that this was yet another skill that super-charged the power of my teams.
When Mum and I first established LifePuzzle we had two goals: 1. Coaching people to generate the sales and income they wanted; and 2. Helping people discover and project their true value. You see, many of the business owners we worked with weren’t just struggling to close sales, they needed help to discover what they were really selling and how to price that product or service so that it became a Triple Win situation and all parties felt they had a great deal.
A business with no sales doesn’t last long. Similarly, if you make sales but have no product or service to deliver, you’re in deep trouble. Finally, if you can’t discover what your market needs and create a horde of hungry buyers for that product or service, you’ll always have to struggle. Our clients quickly discovered that as they worked towards these twin goals, not only did their businesses and incomes grow, but so did their ability to connect, and communicate in both their personal and business lives.
In today’s world of uncertainty and rapid change, it can be difficult to stay motivated and hold onto our confidence and desire to grow. Over the past few years, the polarising nature of politics and global events has made it hard to stay focused and even harder to know who and what to trust.
Never, within living memory, has it been more important to train your mind and to engage with a coach who will help you keep ahead of the debilitating stories that so easily sap our energy, success, and motivation by feeding the idea that we are not enough. As I say in my sales trainings, the first sale we have to make is to ourselves and unless we are confident in our judgement of what is going on around us and our ability to resolve whatever we are facing we will struggle to face the world with the dauntless determination we need.
As I said at the start, I’ve probably always known that people who know how to sell themselves and their skills and engage with others have an easier life than those who don’t. If you think about it, I bet that you have seen the positive impact of growing your sales skills in your own life too.
You might question my statement that sales is the #1 Life & Business Skill. Several years ago I noticed that when a business sorted out its sales, many other problems were resolved.
I also realised that when sales skills grew, individuals and business owners valued themselves and their services even more and price objections became a thing of the past…
Even more interesting was hearing my clients describe the shift in how their colleagues, friends, and family appreciated their ideas and acted on their suggestions as their sales skills grew and they were able to effectively communicate a genuine desire to serve others.
During the course of my longer programs as well as in 2-day workshops and other sales training programs and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) courses I have witnessed the transformation that comes from elemental confidence, clear intentions, and improved sales skills.
That’s what keeps me doing what I do…
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