3 Pro Athlete Takeaways for Sellers
What do professional athletes have to do with sales? Well if you’re in the market of selling supplements or sneakers, maybe it’s more than we can possibly imagine. But even if you’re just in the business of selling, there’s a lot you can learn from the pros.
Professional athletes aren’t just born. Sure, some of the them may have a natural advantage over others, but the only way they can maintain long term success in their sport is through dedicated practice and training. (Check out The Sports Gene by David Epstein if you want to get really technical.)
Most of us probably think that some people just have an innate knack for getting people to buy stuff. Perhaps to a point that’s true, but usually that just means they have great people skills and a subtly persuasive personality.
At the core, we generally overestimate the seemingly inherent nature of someone’s selling ability. Even if they’re not glaringly obvious, that “natural” seller has had some kind of training and experience that got them to that point.
Thinking that it’s all simply based on luck or some kind of inborn quality shouldn’t even be a consideration. In order to become truly successful, each seller needs to establish their own process and a solid objective.
Athletes don’t just train when they feel like it and then hope for the best on game day. They have schedules that stretch far in advance to plan out every bit of their strategy to attain a goal. They know when, where, how, and what they will need to do along the way to eventually reach their target.
As a seller you have to be your own agent by learning to manage your process and time properly. You’ll have to figure out what works best and track your progress. Of course you’ll have your sales manager to keep you accountable, but in order to ensure you’re really set up for success you can only truly rely on yourself to stay on top of your game.
The pros put pressure on themselves to be on top, instead of simply counting on others to push them. Their coaches and trainers merely supplement the intrinsic motivation they already have.
Athletes know all their PRs, stats, and averages even in their sleep. Sellers should always have an eye on their numbers and know what they’re doing, why, and the effect it’s having.
Understanding that your job at its core, is the same as those of the elites is necessary to having the right mentality. Athletes don’t shy away from challenges, but attack them head on with a plan and a concrete objective in mind.
Here are 3 ways to get aligned with a pro mindset:
1. Seek out challenges.
Athletes don’t wait to break records, they strive to beat themselves and others constantly. You need to be on a mission and force yourself to face your fears. Pushing yourself to the limits will help you improve and evolve, continually.
2. Be realistic.
The pros know they won’t be able to knock 10 minutes off their marathon time in one week.
You need to be realistic about your starting point. There’s no advantage in exaggerating your abilities or skills. It’s better to humbly accept how much further you have to go to achieve your goals so that you’ll be prepared to have an effective game plan.
3. Use the power of negative thinking.
Professional athletes don’t wait until the day of to think of a Plan B or C or D. They have already assessed every possible scenario and prepared themselves to deal with it.
You should focus on identifying everything that could go wrong, rather than blindly trusting optimism. Only this will give you the groundwork you need to be fully confident and prepared to handle any obstacle.
Not all of us have the ability to run a 2:05 marathon or serve a tennis ball at 150 mph, but approaching your job with the same outlook that professional athletes have when approaching theirs will help get you where you need to be in your game.