Tom Richard: How to fail an open-book testWritten by Tom Richard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
When a teacher announces an upcoming test will be “open book,” you will hear jubilant chatter from almost any group of students. Based on this type of reaction, you would guess the students assume the test will be easier because they can use their textbook.
However, it is possible to fail an open book test. Yes, students fail open-book tests everyday, even when they have all of the answers staring at them from an open book. They fail because they deserve to fail. They fail because they do not care enough to succeed.
Like students who fail an open-book test, businesspeople fail when they do not use the wealth of information available to them.
I shake my head in puzzlement when I see salespeople spending more time deciding what to eat for lunch than they spend deciding what to recommend to a client. The only organized file they have is their manilla folder containing menus from local restaurants.
These salespeople start the lunch conversation early in the morning. After they eat, the conversation changes to how they feel about the meal they just ate.
If you were to ask any of these lunch-obsessed salespeople what they were planning to do to grow their sales this month, they would look at you like you just asked them to solve a complex derivative. No matter what their boss may try to do, try to teach, or try impart, these are the types of people that fail an open-book test.
To ace an open-book test, you must already have an existing desire to succeed, to seek the answers staring at you from the various resources available to you. The very nature of an open-book test allows the student to systematically find the answers they desire, however, if there is no desire, then he or she is certain to fail.
In addition to having the desire to find the right answers from your open book, you must also know where to look. Books are big. Books have lots of words, pages, and chapters. If you have no idea which page to turn to when you get asked a question, then having the book on your desk does not help you.
Yes, there are salespeople that say they do not like to read. Good for them. They will be easy to beat.
Reading, on any subject, allows you to absorb information, learn different perspectives, and understand the world we live in – all valuable assets. Reading allows you to know where to look when you are called upon by opportunity.
Acing an open-book test also requires knowing how to interpret the question being asked. The test in sales is both multiple choice and essay, and there is always a best answer to every question.
However, in sales, you cannot complain to the teacher about a poorly worded question. You must learn how to interpret questions by learning how to apply the information that surrounds you everyday, by learning your customers, by learning your products, and by learning yourself.
Applying what you learn is the real objective of life’s open-book test. Unlike school, there is no value, virtue, or victory in memorizing information without understanding how to properly apply it. Without proper application, failure is imminent.
Sure, failure is an uncomfortable topic for most salespeople. Instead of viewing failure as a real consequence of poor preparation, salespeople avoid acknowledging it. Instead of admitting they lost, messed up, or made a mistake, they either pretend it was a good learning experience, or they blame somebody else. If they are not blaming somebody else, then they are shielding themselves from it.
Blame, like obsessive talk about what’s for lunch, is nothing more than a time waster. Instead of wasting time, ask yourself if you want to find the answers to the questions you are being asked. If you can honestly answer yes, then smile, get to work, and relax knowing you will succeed because the test is open-book.