• September 24, 2018

Have You Mastered the 3 Rs of Sales?

Have You Mastered the 3 Rs of Sales?
Remember the “3 Rs” in school when you were a kid?

These were the basic building blocks of your elementary school education: reading, writing and arithmetic. Otherwise known as Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.

If we could master these fundamental skills, then the world would be open to us.

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Increasingly sales leaders are concerned about how to enable their sales teams to effectively compete in the market. To do this they need to focus on how to equip their sales teams with the 3 Rs of Sales that are the building blocks of success sales: Readiness, Relevance and Resilience.

Let me lay these out for you.


To be sales ready means that you have achieved a level of mastery of the basic behaviors, habits and skills that you, a sales professional, needs in order to effectively connect and engage on a human level with another person.

Readiness is about attaining the requisite level of sales skills that enable you to build a trust-based relationship with a buyer and inspire them to invest their time in you.

There are too many basic sales behaviors and skills to list here, but they fall into the four categories encompassed within my BALD™ Truth of Sales acronym:
B = Be human
A = Ask great questions
L = Listen slowly
D = Deliver value

Think about readiness from the perspective of an athlete. To be ready to compete at a high level in any sport an athlete needs to possess a mastery of the core, sport-specific skills as well as an extreme level of fitness.

However, just because a basketball player can run all day and shoot the ball as well as Stephen Curry doesn’t mean that he or she can become a professional.

They may have the readiness. Now, they must be able to effectively utilize the core skills and fitness in a game setting. That is when their readiness needs to become relevant.


Multiple studies have found that a high percentage of C-level executives report that they receive no value from meeting with salespeople. In one study I saw that percentage was around 80%.

In other words, the sales person was not relevant to the buyer’s effort to quickly gather the information they needed to make a good decision.

Are you relevant to your buyers?

In sales, relevance is all about what you know.

Relevance begins with the depth of your knowledge about your product and how your customers derive value from it. It continues with the depth of your knowledge about your customers, their industry, their business and their needs.

Relevance is your understanding of how to integrate your readiness with your product knowledge, customer knowledge and business acumen to help your buyer make a decision that achieves their business objectives.

In team sports, relevance comes learning how to effectively apply your skills in the context of a game. It means acquiring a deep understanding of strategies and tactics and your role in them. It comes from mastering the specific challenges of your position and that of the competitor opposite you.

You could possess the most sublime skills in the world, but if you can’t operate as part of a team then they are worthless.

Relevance means that you leverage your experience and expertise to cultivate a keen situational awareness and the ability to quickly adapt your strategies and tactics to changing conditions.

This is as true in sales as it is in sports.


Sales is a profession based on the unpredictable outcomes of complex interactions between two or more humans, each of whom possesses a singular personality and a unique perspective about the world around them.

All of which means that things rarely operate as predicted or hoped.

About the only thing that is truly predictable in sales is that something will go wrong.

You lose a deal you were sure you were going to win. Or your key sponsor on a large enterprise deal unexpectedly resigns. Or your product doesn’t work as advertised during a proof of concept trial with your largest prospect (a deal that will make or break your quarter.)

The question is what do you do when that happens?

Also, you will lose a deal. Actually many deals over the course of your career.

How you handle adversity is a sign of your resilience.

Like readiness and relevance, resilience is learned behavior.

Do you blame others for your misfortunes or do you take responsibility for your own actions and learn from your mistakes?

Resilience is a mindset. It’s a result of experience. You have to have lost and had the experience of failure. When you lose, do you mope around or do you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and jump back into the fray?

Resilience in sales is about how you handle adversity in the moment. Does it make you or break you?

Achieving the 3 Rs of readiness, relevance and resilience all require a commitment from the sales professional to continuous learning.
After four decades in sales, I still learn something new every day that increases my sales readiness and relevance. And, all my experience doesn’t protect me from the vagaries of buyers, so I am always adding to my store of resilience as well.

This article is a guest post, courtesty of Andy Paul, founder of the Sales House.

The Sales House is the all-in-one sales education resource for smart B2B sales professionals who are committed to learning and improving every single day. Members get immediate access to Andy Paul, and a roster of other world-class sales experts, through weekly live coaching; weekly live workshops; sales master classes; micro learning courses, our private Facebook community, exclusive access to over 650 episodes of the Accelerate! podcast and much more. All for just $1 a day. Click here to learn more and get started.