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danielle1Think of the greatest
 sports stars to come out 
of American baseball history since its genesis in
 the 18th century. Hank
Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie 
Mays just to name a few. 
Not one of these legendary players were born with a glove and leather bound ball in hand. Not one of them knew how to play the sport of baseball until they stepped out on the field. Every single one of our sports hero’s had to PRACTICE! Icons are not born, they are made. The same goes for salesmen, entrepreneurs, and athletes. We are not all fast learners. And, no one is lucky enough to be able to learn by closing their eyes and pressing their heads against a book and gaining all the information through osmosis. Although, that certainly happens in the movies, most of us have to practice and practice and practice. It takes time to be good, and even more time to be great!


What components of “Practice” create a “Learned Professional”?


1.  Be Present – Al Levi, from Managing Your Business says, “What I learned first is to slow down. Block out time for doing sales and nothing else other than being present on the call.” So, block out script time! Tell your employees that a perfect time to practice is when you’re waiting for a homeowner to get home, and you have some down time during the day.


2. You must be eager to learn. There’s a reason there’s 
off season training in baseball. What you neglect you’ll never perfect. Fine-tune before presenting your tune. If you show interest in the script, your
 employees will too! And what about the drive time from call to call? What are your team members filling their brains with? What are they putting into their minds? Positive, motivational podcasts…or depressing lyrics from the latest pop song?


3. Listen and Learn to understand your customers pain – Find what truly separates the customer from the sale (money, personal, lack of knowledge) then find what tool alleviates the pain. The more confident you are the more time you have to focus on the real problem!


It’s easy to look at a technician who has the script down pat, keeps his truck clean, dresses sharp and clean and think, “That guy just has the gift.” But, I guarantee if he’s “winning” that much in the field, there’s some off the field training happening somewhere…even if it’s his 15 minutes of reading before bedtime. Pursue growth and you’ll see change…neglect and you’ll remain the same.


A dear girlfriend of mine living in California, to this day, never goes to a social event without first listening to a podcast or an episode of NPR. She always makes sure she has fresh new content to bring into conversations with people whom she may meet. And on many occasions when we were young, she’d state, “Why am I the only interesting person at these events?” The answer was simple, there are far too many people walking the road to average than those striving for success. Many talk the talk, but few walk the walk.
Practice to be the best that you can be. There is room at the top!


Danielle Putnam/ President/ The New Flat Rate