As a sales trainer I spend much of my time trying to motivate people. Helping them realize they truly can become what they want to be. It makes no difference whether their goals are strictly financial or they simply want to take their career to the next level. The most successful people, regardless the industry they work, all seem to possess the same characteristics. They are truly professionals at what they do. I have a deep interest in how the top 100 real estate agents in the United States perform on a daily basis. What do they do differently from the other million agents across the Country? Thorough research indicates that all the top producers use the same basic techniques. As it turns out, it isn’t rocket science. They mostly use the same techniques that have been producing results for the last forty years. In fact, it is more of a characteristic than a technique. We see the same characteristics possessed in the sports arena.
We can learn a lot from Coach Nick Saban.
Do you ever listen to a coach, during an interview; explain why they lost or what makes their team win? We can learn many lessons about life and how to become successful at whatever we do, if we will only listen intently. I recently read a newspaper article focusing on a speech given by Coach Saban. As I read I highlighted the main points of interest they had to possess in order to win a National Championship. They are the same things required to become successful in sales. Let me expound on them individually.
Coach Saban is always stressing the mindset of the team as well as individual players.
It doesn’t matter how much athletic ability they have, they won’t reach their real potential until they have the proper mindset. They must have mental toughness to work through pain and adversities. They must have confidence in their own ability to compete on any level. Their attitude allows them to think every play through carefully and then execute; all in a matter of seconds.
Coach Saban understands they can’t win all games.
He places great importance on the ability to overcome losses, learn from them, put them behind you, and move forward to achieving the ultimate goal. Salespeople have these same losses. We miss more sales than we make so we need to learn why we lost the sale, and use that information to help us make the next sale. We can’t dwell on our losses. We need to focus on the opportunities that lie before us.
All coaches talk about working to improve.
I believe the key word is work. Getting better at anything requires constant focus and consistently, diligently working to become better; to be more proficient. Successful sales people understand that most sales don’t come easily. They have to work in order to produce. Many people enter the sales field but aren’t willing to work hard enough, or smart enough, to produce enough income to survive and end up quitting. They settle for a job that has fewer requirements and earns them less wages.
College Coaches are always talking about developing players.
They knew how to play the sport but they are just average. Coaches want to develop them into exceptional players. They have athletic abilities but haven’t been taught how to hone their skills to perform very well. Just like sports players, sales people may have the basic abilities to sell but haven’t been taught how to perform a high level. Sales people aren’t born knowing how to be sell; they are taught! After all, didn’t we have to learn how to talk, walk, read and write? Sure we did. The reason for getting an education was to learn. At some point in life, some people decide to enter the sales field. If they aren’t properly training, they will become the norm rather than the exception and never reach the level of production they are capable of reaching.
Coach Saban talks about being a good leader.
Leadership is required to become successful. He says, “in order to be a good leader, you’ve got to have vision.” He isn’t talking about eye vision. He’s talking about mental vision. At what level you want to perform. At what level you visualize your accomplishments. A career in sales has the same requirements. A Chinese Proverb says, “He can who thinks he can. And he can’t who thinks he can’t. This is an indisputable law.” A former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.“
Coach Saban also stresses the importance of having a plan.
Can one imagine how helter-skelter a football game would be if there were no set plays. No one would know what the other person was going to do. Winning would by accident only. Sales are the same. We must have a plan. To become successful in sales of any kind, we must plan our work and then work our plan or we’ll accomplish very little. Without a plan, we will let insignificant things hinder us from doing significant things that produces positive results.
We must also set a good example for others.
In football, work habits on the practice field are a good example. If one player works hard in practice to be the best he can be set and example for others to follow. Leadership is very demanding. It requires very hard work as well as verbal communication. How can one player call on another to work hard if he doesn’t work hard himself? Leadership is contagious on and off the field of sports. We are all heroes to someone. Try this little test on for size. Take your hand and point to something and hold it there for a second. Now look at your hand. In most cases three of your fingers are pointing at yourself. People are watching everything you do. You are setting an example for someone else. This illustration tells me that before you tell someone else something, the emphasis is on you knowing it yourself. You are the example.
Coach Saban talks a lot about accountability.
Football players must hold themselves accountable for their own actions. Then the coach is also going to hold the player accountable. How many times have we seen star football players get in trouble with the law; then admit they should have been more responsible about their own actions? Sales people must also be held accountable. As a productivity coach, one of my main responsibilities is to hold people accountable for their actions. Naturally my accountable doesn’t involve discipline. It involves reason for allowing certain actions to happen. The top producing sales people all have coaches to help them stay on tract; to stay focused on doing the things necessary to reach the goals they have set. Sales people have to set their own principles; their standards of practice, that guide everything they do. Accountability aids them remaining focused on principles.
Lastly, Coach Saban says a good leader must be a servant to other.
Essentially every player on the football field is providing a service to the other plays. That’s what causes team unity, which results in wins. All sales people must focus on serving others; whether we like the term or not, we are servants to others. We must put others need above our own. When you see someone that’s always doing things for other people, without being recognized for the things they’ve done, that individual has one of the main characteristics needed to become a successful sales person.
My favorite quote from Coach Saban is “Discipline yourself to do the important things that lead to your success………“You either suffer the pain of discipline, or you suffer the pain of disappointment.”
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