Sales as a Sport
Sales is a lot like sport. And I thought it might serve as a good metaphor for this months article as we head into finals series right around the country with our various football codes.
2 Keys to Sales Success
To be excellent in sales requires a balance of two key work habits – quantity and intensity.
In sales, just as in sport, there is a balance between quantity or work and intensity of work to produce outstanding performance.
You can’t be all quantity with no intensity. And you cannot be all intensity without the quantity.
So let’s use the sports metaphor where ‘training’ is just another word for ‘work’.
Hard Intensity is training flat out. No holds barred, animal like grunt with no rest in between. If an athlete was to train like this all the time they would injure themselves, rip a muscle, burnout or worse, put themselves out of the sport for good. Salespeople who work at unsustainable levels of intensity can do the same thing.
There is an optimum level that lies somewhere between ‘no intensity’ and ‘too much intensity’. This is where you will find your consistent sales performance. but it also requires….
Quantity is all about the amount of hours being put in. And just like intensity there is the ‘too little’ and ‘too much’ conundrum.
The athlete who doesn’t do the hours will never perform at the highest levels. An athlete who does too much thinking that quantity will make up the difference between the top performers and themselves is kidding themselves. There is an optimum level of work that needs to be done to reach the highest levels of success.
Every human being has 24 hours in a day. Top sales performers don’t magically see twice as many people or five times as many, even though they often sell two to five times as much as the average performer. They have simply found that right combination of quantity work and are able to produce the right level of intensity for those presentations and contacts with potential customers to be quality.
There is no wasted contacts, appointments, presentations, days or weeks in the top performers world. But the average performer who has yet to find that balance of quality intensity and optimal work quantity, seems to continue on the up-and-down rollercoaster of results.
One week they are gung-ho and produce 6 sales, but they have worked at unsustainable intensity or quantity levels that would enable them to repeat the same results the week after.
Just like the athlete though, over time, salespeople should get tougher. With training, which is another way of saying consistently producing strong weeks of work, your brain will adapt as you push yourself to gradually improve. Your mental endurance, your emotional endurance improves and you are able to see more people and maintain the intensity levels. Here you will find your best sales results.
All salespeople and sales managers understand the emotional energy that goes into selling. It can be draining. You may have worked a labor style job previously, doing 12 hour shifts and still been able to come home and go to the gym that night. How different it can be when you get into selling. 5 Full presentations and you come home and want to sleep for 10 hours. It can be that draining. But over time, like all training, you adapt and it gets easier to maintain high levels of performance.
Lack of quantity means a salesperson is never going to kiss enough frogs to find their prince (sale).
Lack of intensity means no passion and enthusiasm. And these are the infectious qualities that move customers to take action.
Too much quantity means eventual burnout. Or it could mean loads of wasted work where there is no intensity and someone is just going through the motions.
Too much intensity will not only turn people off as they question what substance you’re abusing, but you will also run yourself into the ground.
Balance your intensity with a good quantity of work. Sales is a momentum game. If a good work ethic, mixed with the right intensity can be maintained, the hot streak can continue for days, months and as some people have proven in sales… years!
Put this into practice. Look at your work habits and your intensity levels and find your optimal sales formula for yourself.