I recently watched a video on YouTube where a welder had made a very simple mechanical customization to a bicycle. If you turn the handle bars one way the wheel turns the other.
It seems like a simple enough proposition but it isn’t as easy as it might seem to adjust enough to ride the bike 10 feet. If you would like to see the video for yourself you can click backwards bike and watch the story. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
There are several interesting learning points for sellers in this very basic video.
1) Simple Isn’t The Same As Easy: Many time our minds can comprehend a very simple task such as “all I have to do is turn the opposite direction” or “all I have to do is pick up the phone and dial.” It is a very simple concept that isn’t easy at all because of all the hard-wired “head trash” that gets in the way of a very SIMPLE task.
2) Understanding Doesn’t Always Equate To Doing: A subtle twist on the point above. You can read books on sales, attend sales training seminars, listen to speeches from well known experts, watch YouTube videos on the subject, and much more to learn all there is on great sales processes and selling techniques. If you don’t PRACTICE the skills diligently on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis you UNDERSTANDING will never translate into effective DOING in live selling situations. Have you ever heard the story about the guy who tried to learn to swim by reading a book? Spoiler alert: He drowned!
3) The Old Habits Return Much Faster Than It Took to Master the New Ones: It took the protagonist in the video 8 months of daily practice to master the techniques required to ride the backward bike. He literally had to unlearn something that had been so practiced he had become “unconsciously competent” at the task as we say in the training world. When he got back on a traditional bike he felt like an idiot at first but the old system kicked back in with about 10 minutes. Once you have invested the time to learn a new system of selling and have “re-wired” your brain on that new system it is important that you never get lazy and lapse back into the old way of selling because it WILL stick again.
The name of David Sandler’s first book on selling is called You Can’t Teach A kid To Ride A Bike At A Seminar. David “got it” that understanding doesn’t equal doing and that simple isn’t always easy. The only way to effectively change behaviors is over time with practice, repetition, and ongoing support and coaching.
So by all means read the book above, attend seminars, and watch videos on successful selling techniques. Then get a coach, a trainer, or a mentor to help you practice until you learn to “ride the backwards bike.”