Shortly after the publication of my book,“Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone, I gave a presentation to a financial services company that prides themselves on understanding their client’s needs because they said they wanted to improve their listening skills.
In such presentations in addition to providing something didactic, I like to facilitate discussion and sharing of best approaches from the participants. I also ask that top performers be forthcoming with the best techniques they have learned.
Two thirds of the way through my presentation I explained a few of the approaches from my book they could use. After I finished making my points, one person pointed out that what I had suggested was exactly an approach that the most successful person in the group used, but never shared with others.
I looked at that successful person and said with a smile, “Son of a gun, shame on you! I said at the outset that people were to share their secrets to successful selling with the group and you’ve been holding out.”
He smiled like the cat who swallowed the canary, taking pride in his “secret sauce.”
During a break I asked him why he held back. And with no hesitation he said, “Why would I share secrets that I have learned through my own initiative that give me a competitive advantage over the other people who have not taken the initiative to go beyond our standard training? It’s all about numbers and why would I give away what helps me get the best numbers in the group?”
I then spoke to the sales manager in the group who said, “Hoarding special techniques to become a top salesperson is the usual practice and it is exactly that which cause the superstars and top performers to stand out. And then after they become that star, they are in a position to become a sales manager who gets their numbers from the results of others. It is at that time, that they will share their secrets with their people to help them get those results.”
Is this common among top performers, or does it depend team/company culture? Do you share your sales best practices or do you keep your best tips to yourself?