March 31, 2009

Why Selling Is An Olympic Sport

Sales people are in the front line in this time of economic slowdown.  Well all know it is not going to be easy – in fact for many it is already providing to be a challenge of Olympic proportions. 

So, perhaps 'selling in the downturn' should be among those competitive sports included in the London  Olympics.  Here are some of the parallels:

1. Selling as in any competitive sport, requires discipline and stamina, strength and endurance.  A lot of hard work and preparation will go into that short moment on the track. Training and preparation is everything.

2. There will be bruises and the occasional injury along the way.  Sometimes, it will seem like you are constantly running up hill, where perseverance rather than skill counts most.  Other times you will be on a winning streak - in the zone / the sweet spot and at the top of your game.  It can switch between these at any time.

3. You will occasionally hit the wall, that may be a lost sale, or worst of all, perhaps, it may be a stalled sale.  The ability to motivate yourself to get back on the track is paramount.

4. It is not just about a single race – but an unending series of competitions.  That means you cannot rest on your laurels for long, the moment of glory soon fades.  After all, you are only as good as your last sale.

5. Winning is everything, even second place is poor consolation.  If you are not winning then you are off the team and on the sidelines. 

6. It is a team sport.  Increasingly it is not just one person in the limelight.  Every champion owes shares his/her success with a support team of trainers, coaches and so on.  Team based selling requires a combined of skills and for each person to successfully pass the baton. 

7. It could be a marathon, it is not just a long race, but a series of short races one after the other.   With increasingly long sales cycles you cannot always see the finishing line.   Or it could be in the pool, as it can require holding your breath for long periods of time.

8. A great coach is a key ingredient of success, someone that can help people to perform at their best.  So too is effective team work and an evironment that not only rewards, but celebrates success.


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