Unlearn To Earn2

by Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca


There is an ongoing debate as to whether training, specifically sales training, is effective and whether it truly delivers results over the long run. As you would expect there usually10 more opinions than there are participants at any given time, and as it is with most things in sales there is no absolute or right answer. But there some basic that when followed, will deliver measurable improvement in both execution and results.

There is one fundamental that you need to embrace, not a silver bullet, but a simple practice that will facilitate the adoption of new skills, methodologies, and practices that will ensure continuous learning, improvement and results as measure in revenues/clients gained.  This is the ability to unlearn.

This is not always easy and somewhat counterintuitive, we have always been taught to accumulate knowledge build on our experience.  While this may be true in the broader aspects of life, when it comes to selling it doesn’t work so well.  There are only some many things we can bring to play in a given sale, and if we do not make room for new ideas and practices, it will be hard to learn them, practice them and ultimately benefit from them.

By unlearning dated or ineffective practices we not only make room for new methodologies, we train the mind to reach beyond its current limitations.  As we replace the old with newer or reformatted ideas, we stimulate even greater progress as the new blends with the existing, and leads to new combinations that continue to be refined as we put them into practice, in this case the results do evolve beyond the sum of the two.  While you can refine existing practices, there is no denying that if you don’t change the fundamentals, you are not likely to change the whole.  If we don’t unlearn, we not only create clutter in the mind, we create a stagnant environment where while we do accumulate knowledge, we at the same time prevent ourselves from putting it into practice and improving our skills and ultimate results.

We have all met that rep who has read the latest best seller, attended the most up-to-date Sales 8.0 conference, can speak all the right buzzwords, and be proficient at the latest apps and gizmos; while they have everything going, everything but making sales and quota.  As you work with them you quickly realize that they spend all their time, energy and creativity stacking things, rather than combining the right elements to succeed in selling.  One analogy is urban redevelopment, you can keep building up, or you can selectively raze existing structure to make way for improvement; again making space for the new, creating a more vibrant environment.

I paraphrase the old saying that what you are doing now is perfect for the results that you are attaining.  The reality of sales is what you achieve this year will not be enough next year.  While everyone will tell you that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, well if you are a seller there is a third, your quota will grow next year.  I can confidently guarantee that you will not get any more time to deliver those quotas, your only option is make room for new skills, by unlearning some unused, space and thought consuming old ones.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto




  1. John Moriarty

    Commitment to constant improvement! Biggest challenge is sales people’s resistance to change. The underlying reason is task avoidance.

  2. Tibor Shanto

    Hi John,

    No doubt, no change, no gain, just pain.

    Thanks for the feedback.

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