Sports and athletes have been compared to sales for ages. No wonder! Professional athletes work daily with success, setbacks, perseverance and determination. They always try to achieve a higher level of knowledge and skill. Of course it is risky to generalize, but personally, I have received an enormous boost in motivation by doing this comparison between sports and sales.
Professional athletes are not born, they are made! What combines professional athletes is the tremendous work ethics that they put into being the best in what they do.
What does it take to score goals in Sales?
Let me take an example from my favourite sport: Football. Some of the biggest athletes in this game are Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Lionel Messi. What is the combining factor for all of these athletes? They love to score goals. They want to put every drop of sweat and tears in to being the best goal scorer. Haunting them in the back of their mind, there is always a younger and hungrier player behind them that would want to take their place.
Scoring goals for a professional athlete could be compared to signing a new agreement for a sales representative. I believe that is what we sales people thrive to and what gives us the feeling of succeeding in our work.
For a football player, to be able to score a goal, he needs to be in the starting eleven and play in a game.
In a sales perspective this would probably mean that we need to meet our customers. We need to be able to exchange thoughts with the customer to get a good solution in hopes of an agreement.
Making it in to the starting eleven is key
How does a professional football player make it to the starting eleven? How is he chosen when there are so many others in line willing to take his place? He keeps on training! He goes all in at every training session to achieve a higher level than his competition.
In a sales representative’s world, I would say that this means prospecting. Cold calling, one’s own processing, inbound leads, references. Whatever it takes to make it to that meeting.
Training is not always fun… So keep the dream alive!
Let’s be honest. Training is not always fun. Nothing comes free and sometimes you feel like quitting. Remember that when you train, it is a lot more likely that you will be chosen to play in the game and eventually score that beautiful overhead kick that will be watched on YouTube for millions of times.
“When I was able to get down the road a ways and look back, I realized success is 90% perseverance. The key is to stay in the game.”