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What happens when the learning stops?

Over the weekend, I saw a post on LinkedIn from a long-time veteran of sales. It started in all caps, questioning why anyone cares about books like The Challenger Sale, SPIN Selling or any others - as he hasn’t read any, not knowing what they were until he joined LinkedIn.

While I can’t find the post itself now, I remember clearly that he then went on to outline his 8 rules for sales, which included things like (1) always doing right by the customer, (2 & 3) make it about the customer (which he had written twice in two different ways), (4 & 5) being a great listener (which he also wrote twice), (6) being helpful, (7) asking great questions, and (8) knowing when to walk away. It was a solid list.

And I believe he wrote that he has no desire to learn about these philosophies or methodologies, either. He finished by jokingly offering to take donation in exchange for saving people money from buying books.

I couldn’t stop thinking about his note...and more importantly, all of the commenters that agreed with him - that he had cracked the code on successful sales - and that essentially sales as a craft required no more advancement or learning.

Putting the customer first, taking friction out of the buying process, asking great questions and making listening the priority are fantastic values for successful sellers and selling organizations. I'd just like to suggest that those who think it eliminates the need to continue to learn and adjust to the rapidly evolving buying journey be very careful here.

A great doctor likely has these same eight, but because of the Information Age and the Digital Age, they've had to change and adapt to patients coming in having self diagnosed and self prescribed due to their confidence in Google, access to online medical journals and WebMd. In the sales world, buyers do the same thing, which is why these books and their associated learnings matter. It's also why "sales enablement" as a function, department, and now society have exploded with growth.

The evolution in requirements to be a successful prospector, buying journey quarterback, presenter, negotiator and even client success rep is almost impossible to keep up with. Reps that haven't changed have still had some success, but now with the new proliferation of reviews & feedback on everything we buy, are waking up with nobody left to talk to.

Again, it's a great list...but one could argue that it would also make you really successful working the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A, or being a bartender at the local pub (with a few minor tweaks).

Forgive my biases here - but while success may feel like it will always lead to more success, I firmly believe the best in any profession are those who have an unquenchable thirst for learning.

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