By Sarah Lowe (@SarahL_SAVO)
I recently had the honor of sitting before three world renowned Olympic medalists, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Brandi Chastain, and Candace Cable as they discussed their competitive journeys. First, wow. Second, their attitudes and lessons learned through competing can 100% be applied to sales and driving growth in your sales organization. Their outlook on competition resonates with every facet of life, particularly your sales approach, and boils down to three key themes: having no limits, being resilient, and mentorship.
1. No Limits, No Boundaries
In sales, there is a lot of unpredictability. But, there are two things we as sellers can control: our attitudes and how we show up. When we show up with the right mindset and a positive attitude we have the ability to break down barriers and move the sales cycle along.
Use defeat to your advantage. Rather than letting it bring you down, you can lift your attitude to fuel the fire beneath you and drive yourself towards better results the next time you have the chance. Kerri Walsh Jennings’ personal example was around the defeat in the 2016 Rio Summer Games. Instead of retiring on a bronze note, Jennings is using the fuel from that defeat to drive herself to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with one goal: to come out a Gold Medalist once more. Net-net: use your defeat as determination to not accept an outcome.
In sales, it’s common to not get the outcome you wanted from a client or prospect. You hear “no” a lot. So how do you come out on top in a world of “no’s”? Brandi Chastain spoke about her mom’s time as Vice President in a growing organization and constantly getting told “no”. Instead of taking that no, her mom always found the “yes”.
Being resilient and continuing to nurture and create conversations that may at first seem like “no’s” is the best way for a sales person to succeed. When someone tells you “no”, find a reason for them to say “yes”. Change the outcome, whether through more research, different messaging, or looking to someone for advice, you can always find a reason to add value to that particular person or organization.
As with many things in life, it is always good to learn from those who have gone before you and succeeded in whatever endeavor you may be looking to accomplish. In sales, finding a great sales leader to learn from and be mentored by can be a game changer.
Candace Cable spoke a lot about mentorship and the importance of finding a mentor (or mentors). Whether in your discipline, your family, or throughout your network, having someone to turn to is an unparalleled asset. Candace, however, was not so lucky. She faced the dilemma of being one of the first Paralympic athletes, bringing 4 new events to the Paralympic games. For Candice, being one of the pioneers of the adaptive sports movement, finding someone outside her direct community who shared the same goals and desires as herself was essential. So whether you are looking for a mentor or are a mentor yourself, optimizing on mentorship opportunities is one of the most powerful tools we have to accelerate our knowledge and career growth.
So to win in sales, you need a winning attitude. And remember, the next time you get a no, try to find the yes; if you don’t have a mentor yet, start actively seeking someone out (or offer to mentor someone!); and don’t let perceived limitations or boundaries hold you back from making this quarter or year your best yet. Happy Selling!
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