When It’s Not Showtime

There was a telling comment made a few years ago by famed NBA basketball star, Allen Iverson. He revealed his perspective about practice, “We’re talking about practice man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice.”

At that time, Iverson was the MVP of the National Basketball Association. He erred with his comments. He did not see the connection between excellence developed through repetition and showtime.

Showtime in your business is face-time with the customer. The preparation or lack of preparation you have done will bear itself out on your professionalism, readiness and scorecard. If you do not value practice more than the showtime, there are three reasons why:

  1. You Lack Passion. What you do is not what you truly love. Otherwise, you would commit to refining your method and being the very best. Your heart is disconnected from your profession. It is an empty place to be. You will always bring your C game not your A game. The best thing to do is truly understand your strengths and weaknesses lest you keep running on empty.
  2. You Lack Belief. Do you want to be the very best salesperson, marketing maven or business executive? If it is not your aspiration, then you are aiming for mediocrity. Showtime will always be a less than stellar show.
  3. You Are Not Productive. If there is so much clutter in your world, then you will miss opportunities left and right. You can’t see them. Clarity energizes and is powerful for moving towards excellence, results and revenue. You must create a productive world and a productive mind. Otherwise, practice will always be a hard thing to do. Clear your runway and get productive.

Practice is the mark of true excellence and professionalism. I laugh when I go to car dealerships. They damage their brand greatly. They have a half dozen sales people sitting outside projecting a cavalier and lazy image to their customers. They don’t know what to do with their time.

They are not alone. They are just more visible. Their loitering could be replaced by preparation for showtime. In a typical week, your preparation should outnumber your showtime hours. If you truly spend ten hours of face-time with the customer, then what are the other hours being applied to? These are the things that will help you if you are committed to practice:

  1. Refining Process: Understand the game plan from the customer’s perspective. What is every step and every experience that they will repeatedly encounter?
  2. Practicing Your Scripts: Have you outlined every conceivable objection or concern a customer raises? Learn to think and deliver your answers with conviction.
  3. Excellent Communications: Based on your process, develop the written communications for each step that will guide the customer through the buying process.
  4. Sharing Knowledge: Are you just trying to sell someone who does not want to be sold? How about bringing value through sharing knowledge? Write and distribute this every day to the people that crave it – your prospective customer.
  5. Building Alliances: Your customers shop at other businesses similar to yours. Connect with them and make them partners. Ask, “How can I bring immense value to them as a partner?”
  6. Grow: Read voraciously. The person who reads more than you has much more to offer. Nothing is stopping you from gaining new insight and knowledge. Pay for books, seminars, coaching and anything that will grow your most important asset – YOU. The more valuable you are the more revenue and opportunity comes into your life.
  7. Build Systems: Every day I run into extinct people. They do not want to accept that people are doing business differently. Their customer is likely sitting in front of a computer right now somewhere. Is that where you connect with them? Develop technology systems so they can say “Yes” to what you have to offer or get help to build them.

It’s funny when people see our talent in action. Whether it is outputting a packaged piece of knowledge through writing or building a system to grow a business, we invariably get an amazed reaction from our customers. Our speed and ability are transparent.

The illusion is that we have natural talent and we just show up. The truth is that we have spent thousands of hours in practice so that we are always ready. That is why winning becomes easier for us. That is why people hire us.

Your ability to compete, get ahead and grow your business is directly proportional to how hard you practice. If you are not motivated to practice, question the game you are in or your own work ethic. Choose to change them.

If you don’t know how to allocate the most precious resource you have – time – then start putting the advice here into action. It will mean the difference between winning big or living small.

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