While I was trying to come up with what to write about how to be successful in sales, my mind kept coming back to an experience I had outside of the
While I was trying to come up with what to write about how to be successful in sales, my mind kept coming back to an experience I had outside of the business world. Too often traits that lead to success at other endeavours carry over into sales, and this instance was no different.
Recently my daughter passed her first program in learning how to skate. When she first stepped on the ice 10 weeks ago she couldn’t let go of the boards without a fall, resembling Bambi on ice (although I have no right to comment since you’d never find me on the ice).
Over the next ten weeks I witnessed a transformation of sorts until this week my daughter flew (ok, glided) around the rink doing laps, just for warm up. While she is not ready to pull off a double toe loop quite yet, she can admit to being a skater and it made me think about a few things… aside from making me a proud father.
In fact, three words kept coming to mind with each practice:
Like clockwork, she’d take 2 strides and fall. First on her butt, then on her knees and sometimes sprawled out on her belly. At one point I counted 35 falls in the first half of a lesson. But without fail, she’d be back up and at it again. Trusting her instincts and her teacher; knowing she’d get there. Her teacher was providing the right mix of building confidence and pushing her forward. So she’d try a one legged glide. Fall. Jump over lines. Fall. Skate backwards. Fall. What she quickly realized is, the worst that can happen is a fall and she’s well protected.
By not being afraid to fail we remove the mental blocks that often stop us in our tracks entirely. Whether it’s an activity like cold calling or making a tough client phone call, knowing the worst possible outcome will prepare us for the event itself and provide the courage to get it done.
In the 3 minute drive to the rink, we’d discuss what seemed like 20 different topics from how her day went, to what snack she’d like afterwards, to debating what Santa would like best for a snack; clearly a curious mind with a very short attention span. But put her on the ice, and you have 45 minutes of sheer determination and focus. I haven’t seen that from her. Ever! I couldn’t even get a glance over for my repetitive waiving or photo op.
If you have a passion for something and can visualize the end goal, you increase your ability to stay focused on the task, making incremental improvements each and every time you practice. This is no different in sales. First, be sure you’re doing something you’re passionate about. Second, practice may not make “perfect” but it does make “better”. Third, stay focused. Devote all of your energy to a task that you need to accomplish. If you need to make cold calls to prospects, set aside time for only that activity and check your emails or complete other tasks when you are finished.
For some kids in the program, as soon as the gates opened they were blazing around the ice for all to see. Their seed is impressive, but everything about them looks odd; no balance, ankles burning along the ice and flailing arms. After 10 weeks the same kids have the same poor skating skills. They will need extensive work to correct these formed habits.
Have patience. Doing things right will help reinforce good habits. If you’re a new employee it’s important to get ramped up quickly, but doing it the right way will help reinforce your value to the organization; versus the guy who “hits the ground running” in the completely wrong direction.
Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ 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 two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.