How to sell and perform like an athlete

So you want to improve your skill as a salesperson? Strengthen relationships, or accelerate growth?

The complexity of growing in any of these areas is that it isn’t a straight answer or progressions. Where you should focus your energy is different for us all.

My co-founder Robert is one of the most effective at networking and finding the initial deal I’ve ever seen. Me? Not so good at networking, but accelerate in the formalities and structuring the deal. Both of us going in to close a deal is great, but we both strive to become better at individual sales as well.

The point is that just as for me and Robert, where your attention should flow is greatly independent. But what we’ve seen from meeting hundreds of sales professionals is that they lack attention to training and setup to fulfil their potential.

Sports isn’t my cup of tea, so take the details with a grain of salt. If we were to take a professional athlete and let them take a look at the daily schedule of a salesperson, the questions would likely be something in the realm of:

Where is the warm up?
You compete more than you exercise?
No post game analysis?

What athletes have figured out is that to reach an optimal state of potential, what we refer to as Peak Performance (Swedish link), you need to have multiple components to develop this.

Let’s make another sports comparison:

A soccer player warm-up is quite trivial, they shoot some passes, light running and preparing them for the actual task.

In sales, this can be as easy as finding a co-worker and do some sales arguments back and forth, just get into the rhythm and tune into the task you are about to.

At the actual game, the players give it all but realize that it’s a team effort. Sometimes you gotta pass to get the goal. Your name might not be on the scoreboard, but a good soccer coach will still recognize you assist.

Not all salespersons are passing customers within the team to create greater results together. You pass some, you receive some.

After the game, all players gather around and watch the game to see where they can improve. Providing feedback, finding weals spots and leaks as well as congratulating for the goals regardless of whom scored them.

How often do you review your sales conversation? Some record their call, others review individual steps of their sales funnel. Tune this to what works for you and is suitable for your methods.

Last but not least is the training part. Athletes put more time into training than they do playing games in the arena.

No matter how much we like sales training here at Regium, we understand that it’s impractical, to say the least, if you would train more than then actually selling. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of it. Most people we encounter spend 1-5% of their time improving themselves. Compare that to the athletes that reach Peak Performance, and let that number sink in. We all can put more effort into improvement.

The takeaway is to do the work necessary if you want to see how far you can reach. In a time and place where burnout, stress and anxiety are reaching all time high I’m not going to promote extracurricular activities that are unhealthy for you. But I will leave you with the insight that when you find your goal regardless if it’s becoming the best within your field, or maybe even the world, you need to adopt the training, reflection and preparation that is associated with it.

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