Successful Sales Professionals Know the Importance of Practice and Preparation

Kforce President of Strategy and Client Partnerships Casey Jacox is passionate about mentoring the great people who make up our Kforce Family. Casey enjoys taking time out of his busy schedule to share his stories and advice with others, and when we asked him if he had advice for sales professionals, he was excited to share his perspective with our readers.

Casey told us his 18 years in the business has flown by, and that he feels that he is “blessed with the desire and passion to learn something new each day” – and that he will never take that for granted. He explained that these   traits and habits were instilled early in him, not only by his parents, but by his football coaches in high school and   in college. Casey explained “When you surround yourself with others who are always meticulous about doing the little things correctly and are never satisfied with just getting by, inevitably you will put yourself and your team in a position to win.”

In Casey’s role at Kforce, he has the opportunity to work closely with our customers on a daily basis. He told us that in several meetings recently, our customers have commented on how well prepared Casey and his team were   for the meeting.“Some customers said we were asking them questions that no other vendor had ever asked. We are seeing unique results due to the fact we take practice and preparation very seriously.” Casey further explained, “If you are not taking the time to prepare for a meeting, your chances of success will go down dramatically.”    

We asked Casey how a sales professional should sufficiently prepare for a meeting with customers, and he emphasized the importance of practice and preparation. “If we don’t take time to prepare and role play certain business scenarios that might come up with our clients, then it is the customer who suffers. So many sales organizations don’t take training seriously enough to ensure that their reps have thoroughly practiced their message to ensure clarity is achieved through the lens of the customer.  Many people may think this is common sense. However, it is not commonly practiced.”

Casey urges sales professionals to practice their messaging before meeting with customers – not practice their message during that meeting. He shared with us the following analogy: “How many NFL teams skip practice and film study all week, and then just show up and see how they stack up against the competitor? Not many. How many pilots never go into the simulator to practice different flight scenarios before jumping into the cockpit with 175 passengers?  Not many. The art of practice and preparation is critical across several professionals – including sales.”

Value is earned and proven through preparation. Successful sales professionals understand that asking the right discovery questions will empower you to solve business problems. In order to ask the right questions and provide value in any business setting, you need to be prepared. No matter what industry you are in, Casey stresses the importance of taking the art of practicing seriously, so that you give yourself the confidence to be ready for any situation.  “If more people practice this art, then more customers will see value in their business relationships.”

We asked Casey how this philosophy ties into how he recruits sales professionals to join his team at Kforce. “The desire to learn and grow is a character trait that I look for in others with regard to building teams,” he said. “I like to understand and explore how job candidates have dealt with adversity in their life as it will tell me a lot about their character.  Most jobs can be very difficult, but as a new sales person it can be very mentally grueling to always hear “no” yet still keep a positive attitude toward the end goal in mind.”                      

Casey explained that successful sales professionals face many opportunities to embrace and overcome adversity. “In that moment, your mind will fire off subconscious thoughts to look for the positive or settle with the negative.  As an optimist, I only see the positive outcome and will not let that negative outcome enter my brain.  To be successful in sales and business, I believe that possessing a positive attitude is critical to achieving longevity in sales – as you will always encounter so many “no’s” and have to keep forging on until you receive that one “yes”. When you get that “yes”, it will fill up your gas tank to keep you moving forward.”  

As we wrapped up our conversation with Casey, he reiterated that the art of practice will lead sales professionals to success. “If you practice your craft, you take away pressure that only shows up when someone is not prepared.  To me, pressure is just a state of mind when you are not focused on the positive outcome.  Throughout my career, I have seen many people fall short to pressure, and I can look back with clarity and point to the fact that they failed due to not being fully prepared.  We might want to take the art of practice more seriously.”