“Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims.”
Carlos Santana

Practice! Who Needs To Practice… Salespeople Need To Practice

Can You Imagine A Professional Athlete Operating With A Sales Reps Mindset?

Once asked why he was so successful on the basketball court, Kobe Bryant looked right at a reporter and said: “Have you seen Los Angeles at 4am? I see it often because that’s when I start training.”

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It can sometimes be difficult to find differences in top athletes which are noticeable. Their level of physical imbalance is minuscule. What separates the good from the great? What separated Kobe Bryant from good athletes?

Top athletes are finely tuned machines. They spend their lives perfecting their craft as they look to gain every conceivable physical and mental advantage over their opponents.

Let’s look at Tiger Woods’ daily routine. He starts the day with an hour of cardio exercise and an hour-and-a-half of weight training. He follows this up by at least four hours of golf then another half an hour of weight training.

Since the age of three, he has always practiced his golf game. As Tiger transformed the game of golf, becoming the one of the greatest golfers of all time, he still practices hard to improve his game.

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What separates an average athlete from an average sales rep? Millions of dollars and their mindset.

Success is simply a consequence of practice and repetition. There’s no shortcuts. It’s based on pushing yourself to do better and better.

Sales reps consistently talk about their work ethic as most enjoy puffing the chest BUT are they really committed to it? How many walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to putting in the hard work and long hours that it takes to become a sales professional?

Top athletes understand the process of developing their talents will have obstacles along the way. They embrace the challenge. They embrace the suck in order to get better every single day. They understand failure is just another challenge, a roadblock to overcome.

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Top athletes encourage feedback from their coaches, using it to focus on areas of improvement. Less successful athletes tend to dismiss, ignoring feedback and focus on the person providing it, rather than using it as an opportunity to reflect and grow. This sounds an awful lot like most sales reps, doesn’t it?

My challenge to all those in sales and management… come up with a meaningful and purposeful plan of not only when you’re going to practice, but HOW. And then, just do it.

The roadmap to success for an elite athlete is based upon hard work, personal ownership and practice. They hold themselves accountable to the process and they just do it!

Why do sales reps have difficulties doing what elite athletes are paid to do? What makes a sales professional AND how they go about doing their job any different than an elite athlete?

My answer to all of you is quite simple – MINDSET, PRACTICE AND NO EXCUSES

TO ALL THOSE IN SALES MANAGEMENT… STOP USING SPORTS AND SALES ANALOGIES!

Are you willing, able and committed to provide an environment around practicing, planning and preparation? This is what professional athletes are held accountable to do every single day!

Are you holding your team accountable to practice?

NO EXCUSE MENTALITY

Athletes with an excuse mentality fear negative outcomes and make excuses to avoid responsibility. Sounds a lot like many in sales and management, doesn’t it?

According to Patrick Cohn, PhD, sports psychologist and founder of Peak Performance Sports, “an excuse mentality results from allowing circumstances to dictate your actions instead of taking control of them.”

Sales professionals hold themselves personally accountable. They hold themselves to a higher degree of standards than sales reps. They have a no excuse mentality and they don’t point fingers when they fail to hit their sales plan. They hold themselves accountable even if their manager doesn’t.

Why do so many in sales management accept excuses?

Salespeople of today love swimming in the sea of excuses. Many of you use excuses to rationalize your actions regarding the circumstances you’ve created for yourself – why you didn’t hit your sales plan, why you lost one of your best clients and why you don’t have time to prospect.

One excuse follows another excuse which follows another excuse. You want to know what the real issue is here… lack of commitment!

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When you only put half of yourself into something and then proceed to make excuses, you disrespect yourself and your manager.

Half-ass efforts gets you half-ass results

  • How committed are you to the sales profession?
  • How committed are you to practice?
  • How committed are you to yourself?

WHY DO SALES REPS INSIST ON GETTING PAID TOP DOLLAR BUT LACK A TOP ATHLETE MINDSET?

The biggest problem with salespeople today is they’re consistently inconsistent.

True sales professionals, the elite of the elite do things just a little differently than the average sales rep. They practice with purpose, passion and pride.

Sales professionals practice with purpose. Sales professionals operate with a no excuse mentality.

GET REAL

Sales professionals set goals and invest the mental and physical energy towards achieving their goals. They equip themselves with an arsenal of effort, patience, and persistence as they know their journey is difficult. They are realistically optimistic.

Can the same be said for sales reps?

BE THE BEST

Sales professionals know, no matter what, there’s always room to improve. This may involve learning a different technique, strategy, or even hiring a coach.

Can the same be said for sales reps?

CONSISTENCY

The success of sales professionals is built upon small sustainable changes. When those become second nature, they add in new challenges. Whatever their goal is they track their progress and are consistently consistent with practice.

Can the same be said for sales reps?

WAKE UP SALESPEOPLE

Imagine for a moment, how long would any professional sports athlete last on their team with the attitude and mindset of most sales reps? Not long at all, as they would be released from their team immediately.

Some can say athletes are over-paid prima donna’s, however; the one thing they possess that most sales reps don’t – a growth mindset.

I encourage the self-centered and the “all about me” sales reps out there to kick your complacent mindset right in the ass. Do you think a complacent mindset lands an elite athlete a new contract?

Sports athletes don’t come out of rookie training camp saying, “I’m shooting for average – average skills, average income and average performance.

When you started out as a sales rep you didn’t set out with the goal of hanging on, doing enough to just “get by”, or riding it by figuring out how to survive until you can inherit another sales reps accounts. Well, at least not in the beginning, correct?

You learned that mindset. You learned that behavior. You learned to settle. You failed to practice. You started to make excuses.

I’m positive the mind can be convinced of almost anything if you tell it the same story over and over again. So here lies the question to all of you in sales…

Are you really happy with average results or have you just convinced yourself that’s the case?

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Larry Levine

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