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Athletes and salespeople – two peas in a pod

January 28, 2013

The best salespeople and professional athletes have a lot in common:

1.  Game Plan – in any game of sports, all athletes will go into the game or competition with some sort of game plan.  That plan is what they have been focusing on and preparing for a long time. For the game plan you scout your competition and know their strengths and weaknesses. The same holds true for salespeople. When you are planning on a meeting with a client – it often starts with a game plan which you develop and uncover client needs and figure out how you can overcome obstacles to succeed at getting the business.

2.  Discipline – along with any game plan, the athletes know what they need to be doing to be able to improve their game.  This could be diet, strength training, conditioning.  On the sales side this could refer to cold calling, pipeline development, fact, feature and benefits of your product or service.  Both athletes and salespeople are focused on the job that they have to do.  No distractions to interrupt them.

3. Training – with athletes, this is practice, practice and more practice.  Practice makes perfect.  With the salesperson, this practice is in the form of call preparing and role playing.  When you work through this process and anticipate certain circumstances, it helps to keep you on your toes to respond to any objections that the customers may throw your way.  Athletes and salespeople stay in shape.

4.  Competitive –  All athletes and salespeople are competitive, have the drive to win and are fueled by the thrill of the big win, the championship or giving the MVP performance.

5.  Play by the rules – It is important that athletes and salespeople play by the rules.  If they don’t, this can hurt their success and tarnish their reputation and ability to play the game, close the sale.  People don’t like to see people break the rules, and they certainly don’t want to do business with people that they cant trust.

6. Team player –  In both worlds, athletes and salespeople surround themselves with the best people, the best team, best support and will do what they need to do to fit the part of the team that they are needed to fill.

There is no “I” in TEAM.

Remember that success doesn’t come easy for athletes or salespeople, it takes all the qualities above, but the good news is that hard work and dedication will eventually pay off.

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