FrameworksLead generationTeaching

Knowledge is Overrated and Discipline Is Key

By February 8, 2011 One Comment

Knowledge Is Overrated and Discipline Is Key

Building Skill, Possessing Discipline

One of the mistakes I made in running my first company, WisdomTools, was to mistake “training the salespeople” with equipping them with the knowledge, skills and discipline they needed to succeed.

A training exercise is a skill-building exercise.

But too often the newly-acquired skills don’t stick.

It took me a long time (too long, really) to figure out why. When you train, all but the very best trainers are “transactional,” meaning they essentially say; “Do this this way and you’ll be fine.”

But that advice doesn’t translate into behavior change. So much of the training we do overlooks the underlying frameworks that provide the foundation for high-performance.

One of the frameworks I use to help build sales engines is “knowledge/skill/discipline.” This K-S-D framework allows firms to see that they often over-rely on “knowledge” in the hiring of sales people. Then, once onboard, they default to “skill” development. But then they leave the “discipline” part to chance.

But one thing we know for sure about selling is that the front and back ends of the sales process are ALL ABOUT DISCIPLINE. Making the required number of calls and conversions to fill the top of the sales funnel, and asking for the business at the back end takes guts. And guts require discipline, NOT knowledge.

It’s just like training an elite athlete. A trainer wouldn’t leave “diet” off the table, as it is critical to the athlete’s performance.

And what is eating your vegetables? Knowledge? No way. You already know that you should be eating your veggies. It’s discipline. Crunch.

Does your team need a jump start of discipline? My Discipline Manifesto for Salespeople might help!

Need a discipline nudge once a month?

We send a monthly sales tune-up newsletter to over 2,000 salespeople and sales managers. If you haven’t subscribed yet (gasp!), you can view our most recent issue and subscribe at the bottom of our homepage. 

Leave a comment below and let me know about a situation that you often encounter that could use a dose of discipline. We’ll target these situations in our next sales tune-up newsletter!

Written by Craig Wortmann. You can find him on  and Twitter.

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