(2 minute read)
Just when we needed to disrupt the funk that can seep into our lives during lockdowns and restrictions, along come the Olympics (cue ‘Hallelujah’ type music).
Whether you’re a hardened sports fan or not, it’s hard not to enjoy the opportunity of watching the world’s best compete on a global stage – delivered into your lounge or living room (or some personal device by your desk).
While selling is not a sport, there are so many similarities worth exploring.
- The best performers get the most attention and are – deservedly – rewarded the best
- The good performers help keep the best performers on their toes, letting them know that if they make a slip, they’re right on their heels.
- There are average performers who may make up the numbers, but whose place in the team is rarely sustainable
- Both sales and sports excellence demand self-motivation and self-discipline.
- Both have a series of fundamental skills required for success, which can be learned and improved with dedicated, deliberate practice.
- In a team environment, it is essential for all players to have the same goal or focus.
What about the differences?
- In sport, people train for years to seek brief moments of glory. Whereas in sales, people train for a relatively brief time and hope for long-lasting rewards.
- Sport has developed a broad range of coaches to enhance the performance of the athlete or team (Strength and fitness, Physio, Mind-health, Recovery specialist, Dietician, etc). Sales coaching is usually the realm of the best sales performer, or a sales coach if you’re fortunate.
- Sport has other like-minded individuals/athletes with whom you can share experiences and training routines, etc. The sales performer is often self-reliant.
Lessons from Great Coaches.
This week, the world witnessed the un-bridled passion a coach can have for his athletes. Upon the final stages of the Women’s 400m Freestyle swimming final in Tokyo, just as Australian Ariarne Titmus was about to touch the wall in 1st place, her coach was going ballistic! Dean Boxall, looking more rock-star than swimming coach, was seen on camera in full-flight jubilation. A genuine and un-reserved joy for the achievement of his star athlete.
Aside from the limelight of the Olympic Games, there’s so much that good sports coaches do, which could be emulated by those of us coaching salespeople to achieve their own ‘podium finish’.
Good coaches observe, correct and encourage their people. They have a mental checklist of things they are looking for, the little things that can make a big difference. (Observe, correct, encourage).
One final lesson for us all; neither great athletes or salespeople achieved their greatness by waiting for their moment. They seized the opportunity as it arose, the one they had been working so long to achieve!
Go for Gold!