Training for a Gold Medal in Sales

Right now, in London, the worlds greatest athletes are competing in the Olympics. While I can say with 100% conviction that all the people in my office are waiting till they get home to check the results, I’m sure that you’ve noticed a few of your people checking the results while they’re on the clock. (I may or may not have said that last statement with a few grains of salt.)
Why are people so captivated by the Olympics every four years? Suddenly everyone is becoming an expert in gymnastics, water polo, or any number of sports that for 3 and half years only a few people seem to pay any attention to.

It’s because we’re seeing athletes achieving greatness. We’re watching them at their peak going for accomplishments and records that defy what the rest of us think is even possible. We love watching greatness and people achieving beyond human limits.

But do you know what those athletes are doing during those 3 and half years and longer when they aren’t in the spotlight? They’re training. They spend most of their lives getting up before everyone else does, pushing their bodies and mental states further than anyone else is willing to do, they hold to much stricter diets for years, in short, they are training every single day so that when the time comes, all that training will allow them to be the best.

But that training rarely gets the spot light. Yet it’s that training that needs to be emphasized because you are always training. You’re training right now. If you’re the type of person who walks in to work and the first thing you do is open up a web browser to read the news, just so you can settle in to work, then guess what? You’re training yourself. You’re training yourself with bad habits and excuses.

One of my favorite quotes that we use in my office is “Under pressure, you do not rise to the occasion, rather you sink to your level of training.” Barrett Tillman. When you see an athlete perform with millions of people watching them, knowing they have to have a perfect performance, they don’t suddenly hope or pray that they’re going to get everything right, they know they’re going to get everything right. They have trained for years to get everything right.

So why do so many sales people think that they don’t need to train for handling customers? When you come out of a deal that wasn’t closed and you say things like “oh that guy was just a hard customer” or “that guy was never going to buy, anyways.” What you’re really saying is that you didn’t train hard enough to handle difficult customers or to stay in the deal as long as it needed.

Look, I know the truth, no one likes training. No one wants to drill closes or rehearse greetings any more than those athletes enjoy waking up at 3am just to start a full day of training. Everyone loves results, though. Everyone loves closing a deal or getting a Gold Medal. But those results cannot happen consistently without training.

So how do you train for greatness as a sales person?

1. Train Daily. You wouldn’t expect Gabby Douglas to train once a week or once a month. She trains daily and you need to as well.

2. Push your limits. If you stay in your comfort zone and never try to reach new things, you will never reach greatness. Keep learning new closes, go and find some difficult clients, make sure that there’s something that you’re always trying to push harder for.

3. Make sure you get a coach. This can be someone in management or even a fellow sales guy, but you need someone who will watch you and help you practice to help correct your mistakes. It goes without saying, but if you practice something wrong, and no one points that out and helps you correct it, you will always do it wrong.

4. When the moment comes and you have to perform, be confident. Instead of sweating and worrying if you’ll have what it takes, you’ll be relaxed and confident knowing that you’ve prepared for this moment. When that difficult customer walks in, you won’t be stumbling over yourself, you’ll be prepared and will find a way to make this moment work.

So find a way to train daily. Call my office if you need help and we can show you a program that emphasizes daily training in under 12 minutes a day.

To all those competing over in London, Keep it up! You’re making us all proud back home!

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