“I know I’m supposed to be there, I know I’m supposed to lead by example. I know that. And I’m not shoving it aside like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important. I do. I honestly do. But we’re talking about practice, man. What are we talking about? Practice? We’re talking about practice, man!”

Allen Iverson

What a fantastic quote which reminds me of a past blog… Can You Imagine A Professional Athlete Operating With A Sales Reps Mindset?

The roadmap to success for elite athletes is based upon hard work, dedication, personal ownership and how it’s all applied. Athletes understand they must commit themselves to all facets of training. They take extreme ownership, holding themselves accountable to the process.

A growth mindset is such a critical component to the success of an elite athlete and a sales professional.

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

PRACTICE… the separation point between elite athletes and average sales reps.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” 

Will Durant

Think about what it takes to move from being ordinary to extraordinary. Think about what it takes to move from being a sales rep to becoming a sales professional. It starts with transformation, accepting you can do better and developing the mindset to do better.

Transform your thinking from sales rep to sales professional. I encourage you to think of the sales profession as a work of art and handle it with care.

Immerse yourself in your work, become fully engaged. Transform your mind to one of growth. As this happens, you improve your ability to grow. As you grow yourself you grow your career. The opposite is to disconnect, settling for complacency.

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PRACTICE IS THE DIFFERENTIATOR

Sales professionals practice, sales reps find excuses

A basketball game isn’t won on the court. The game is won in the days, weeks, months and off-season work leading up to the 48 minutes of actual playing time.

Elite athletes win with preparation. They watch film, memorize plays, hit the gym and eat properly.

This all leads me to asking all of you…

  • How well are you preparing?
  • How well are you practicing?
  • How well are you planning?

The lie you tell yourself, “But, I practice on the job.”

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Kobe Bryant saw Los Angeles at 4:00 A.M. Michael Jordan was the first person on the court and the last one off. Magic Johnson was the true definition of a work horse. It was his work ethic, growth mindset and his commitment to practice that made him one of the best basketball players of all time.

I’m concerned with how many in sales struggle so much with practice. I’m concerned how many sales managers fail miserably at holding their team accountable to practice.

Why has PRACTICE become a nasty eight letter word?

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What are you doing to become the best you can be? In sales, you don’t have the luxury of an off-season to condition your mind or body. You don’t have 3 months off to prepare for the season long grind.

CONSISTENT PRACTICE

Consistency, this separates elite athletes from good athletes. The ability to go out there, day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out for years is simply incredible.

The same can be said for top sales professionals versus average sales reps.

  • Consistent practice
  • Consistent planning
  • Consistent prospecting
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What makes elite athletes and top sales professionals so consistent?

It’s methodical preparation in every aspect of what they do including physical conditioning, practice, technique, tactics, mental aspects, nutrition, sleep, and on-going learning.

Consistently great performances comes from consistency in practice.

Unfortunately, I see a disconnect between elite athletes and those in sales. Elite athletes have great coaches. Can the same be said for sales people?

How many sales can honestly say their managers make great coaches?

PRACTICE HAVING A GROWTH MINDSET

If you aren’t willing to help yourself and practice then how can you help your clients do better business?

LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR

Many of you are portrayed as egomaniacs with a “do whatever it takes to close the deal” mentality and “I’m above this thing called practice.” There’s always some truth to stereotypes.

Ego can also hinder one from sales growth.

In today’s highly connected, digitally driven and socially empowered business world; highly assertive, a know-it-all mentality combined with super-charged egos will be the kiss of sales death.

“A huge ego is a sales growth buzz-kill”

Top performing sales professionals, the true superstars – sell from the heart, are the open-minded, curious, collaborative, vulnerable, open to learning and practice. These sales professionals have humility and operate without any deception whatsoever. This is a direct conflict to the behavior of ego-driven salespeople.

PRACTICE BECOMING BETTER LISTENERS

Seeking to understand goes a long way. Too many of you listen just long enough to spew out crapola. Listen with intent to understand and learn. Practice at genuinely being interested in helping your clients for their reasons not yours.

  • Listen for clues and look out for problems affecting their business
  • How could you fix these problems?
  • What potential implications could this have to them?
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PRACTICE BECOMING BETTER AT PROSPECTING

Point blank… how can you call yourself a sales professional when many of you simply believe prospecting is beneath you? This blows my freaking mind.

I get it. Prospecting is a challenge. Many of you aren’t very good at it. Why? Because you haven’t cultivated the right habits and you’ve failed to practice.

“Sales reps have hypnotized themselves into believing what they aren’t doing doesn’t work”

It deeply saddens me that most sales reps lack the fundamental skills necessary around practice and prospecting.

Ask a sales rep the hardest part of their job and if they’re honest they’ll will utter the word, PROSPECTING.

If one fails to practice at the single most important aspect of their job then how can one achieve a consistent level of success?

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A true professional continually practices the art of prospecting as they keep their sales and relationship funnel full of opportunities. They divide their time between selling, prospecting and taking care of their clients. Those professionals who crush their quotas are fully dedicated to prospecting. The primary differentiator of today’s successful sales reps is their ability to prospect.

PRACTICE, THE BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS

Elite athletes and sales professionals who achieve extraordinary results put in more hours of practice than the average. While their performances, outcomes and what they do are remarkable, there’s no mystery how this was developed. They practiced beyond the average ordinary individual.

If you want to reach the next level in your sales career, it’s imperative you spend more time preparing and more time practicing. It’s foolish to say it is all about working smarter, not harder. If you really want to win in sales, you have to work harder and smarter.

Larry Levine

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