your greatest sales weaponWhile I enjoy all my aikido classes, I particularly enjoy the classes involving weapons training. Not because I seriously expect to be involved in a sword fight any time soon (although you never know), but because training with weapons teaches you lessons about aikido, your body, and life in ways nothing else can.

A quick note of explanation: Aikido is a Japanese martial art that emphasizes redirecting the force of an attack rather than opposing it head-on. While most classes focus on empty-hand techniques, we also train with three types of weapons: bokken (wooden sword), jo (short staff), and tanto (knife).

One of the lessons weapons training teaches is that a weapon is just a tool. It doesn’t do the work for you and it doesn’t guarantee victory. A person with a knife can defeat an attacker with a sword. An unarmed person can disarm an attacker wielding a knife. A fight between combatants using sword and staff can go either way.

What matters is not the weapon, but the person.

What does this mean to you? It means that when it comes to your sales, your greatest weapon is yourself.

Your competitors may have bigger marketing budgets, more sophisticated CRM systems, nicer brochures, even better quality products. That doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as you might think it does. Just because they have more and better sales weapons than you do, doesn’t mean you can’t win when you go head-to-head against them.

What I’ve discovered over decades of selling, researching and training is that the sale doesn’t necessarily go to the lowest price, the best quality, or the largest company. It typically goes to the best salesperson.

I’m not saying it isn’t helpful to have lots of great sales tools to work with. But even the best tools, like weapons, are useless and even dangerous if not used effectively.

So I want to give you two takeaways:

1. Have confidence in yourself, your company, and your product or service. Confidence is contagious, and it’s a major reason people buy.

2. Continuously work to get better at selling. Read every book you can get your hands on. Attend every sales training seminar and workshop you can squeeze into your schedule. Listen to sales training CD’s in your car. (Note to Sales Managers, VP’s, and CEO’s: Invest in your sales team! Train, coach and mentor!)

The sharper your sales skills and the stronger your belief in yourself, the more sales you’ll make. Because in the battleground that is the marketplace, the most important weapon you have is you.
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