8 years ago
April 13, 2016

3 Reasons Why Athletes Make Incredible Salespeople

If you want your sales team to have a higher chance of success, hire athletes! They make incredible salespeople, and here’s why.

Rhys Metler


When hiring salespeople you have to look beyond career experience to get a true indication of their talent and potential for success. A candidate could have had two dozen sales jobs and still doesn’t know how to close a sale. Another may not have any experience in sales but has what it takes to succeed in the industry. Most often than not, it comes down to personality traits.

Hiring for sales is more difficult than finding talent for most other professions—there aren’t many salespeople who can come out on top. So, CEOs and hiring managers started trying to figure out what their top earners had in common. What traits indicated that someone would be a great salesperson? Once they realized it, it was so obvious. Athletes! So many of their top talent were athletes, and it made so much sense. Want to know why? We’ll give you three reasons.

They Have Drive and Passion

Rarely do top salespeople work their hardest without passion. Passion drives them to succeed, and athletes know all about passion. They have the inner zeal needed to hit their sales targets because they’re driven by an innate need to win at anything they do. Salespeople without this sense of drive will just coast along, not caring about the results of their work. They just show up for the pay cheques.

They Practice and Never Give Up

Think about all of the grueling, high-stress training that all great athletes do. They spend hundreds if not thousands of hours, day in and day out for years, pushing themselves to do better in their sport. They know what it’s like to work hard. No matter how much they want to take a break or give up, they keep going in order to be the best.

Wouldn’t you want the same from your salespeople? Competitive athletes are committed to anything they do. Demanding schedules, long hours, hard work—they know what it’s about. They thrive from it. They have the self-discipline, resilience, and perseverance it takes to overcome obstacles and meet the quotas and sales goals that you’ve set forth—or those they’ve created for themselves.

And because athletes know what practice is all about you can expect the same from their work ethic. They’ll practice every sales pitch, presentation, and demonstration until they’re perfect. They have a game plan before going into every meeting. And they take instant replays seriously—they’ll figure out how they can improve by studying their past work.

They Know How to Win and Lose

Every athlete has failed at one point or another. Because they’re used to failing at something that they care so much about, they can handle it by now. They can brush it off. As salespeople, they won’t let a missed sale or a slump get them down. It’ll only get them working harder to improve.

Additionally, they know what it’s like to win. Companies want salespeople who have a winning attitude—who can think about the sale at the end of all the hard work. And athletes know how to take responsibility for their wins and failures.

Business as a Sport

There’s a reason it’s called a sales team. In an abstract way, business is like a sport. Companies are competing against each other to sell and they want the best salespeople to play on their team. Salespeople are competing against each other to outperform and get the commission, incentive, or bonus that’s dangling in front of them. So when you’re looking to hire salespeople you should pay close attention to those who have competed in sports. Athletes are passionate, never give up, and know about winning and losing. They could be just what your company needs to succeed.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.