“I know I’m supposed to be there, I know I’m supposed to lead by example. I know that. And I’m not shoving it aside like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important. I do. I honestly do. But we’re talking about practice, man. What are we talking about? Practice? We’re talking about practice, man!”

Allen Iverson

Once asked why he was so successful on the basketball court, Kobe Bryant looked at the reporter and said,

“Have you seen Los Angeles at 4am? I see it often because that’s when I start training.”

Sales leaders and for that matter, salespeople, at what time of the day do you start your training?

The roadmap to success for an elite athlete is based upon a commitment to disciplined work, personal ownership and how it is applied to their craft. They understand they must apply themselves in all aspects of their training.

They take pride in holding themselves accountable to the process.

A growth mindset is one critical component to the success of an elite athlete and a sales professional.

All you sales leaders, key in on this question…

What separates an elite athlete from an average sales rep? Millions of dollars and their mindset.

Practice, one huge separation point between elite athletes and average sales reps.

What I find concerning, fascinating, interesting, hilarious and alarming is the continual difference I see between sales reps and sales professionals.

What would happen to a professional athlete who comes to a meeting unprepared, half-asses practice, lacks engagement, is on their phone, looks as though they do not want to be there, bitches/moans, and gives off the aura they are above all of this… What happens?

Well… You all know the answer.

So why do we allow salespeople to carry this same attitude when it comes to sales betterment?

Why do sales managers and sales leaders continually allow this to happen?

What are sales leaders and managers so afraid of?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” 

Will Durant

WHAT’S OLD IS FOREVER NEW

In 1908, Napoleon Hill was a young and struggling magazine reporter. Expecting to conduct a brief interview as the basis for his magazine article, instead he spent hours conversing and listening to the great Andrew Carnegie.

At that time, Carnegie was the wealthiest person in the world, having just sold his company, Carnegie Steel, to JP Morgan for $480 million, which would be equal $16,732,856,470.59 in today’s dollar.

As the conversation progresses, Napoleon Hill,

“I deduce that self-discipline is largely a matter of the adoption of constructive habits. Is that the idea?”

To which, Andrew Carnegie replies,

“What a person is and what a person accomplishes-both in failures and success-is a result of that person’s habits. Fortunately, habits are self-formed. They are under the control of the individual. Gaining control over these thought habits goes a long way toward the attainment of self-discipline.”

Folks, this conversation took place well over 100 years and is still 100% applicable today.

Let’s all think together for a moment… What would and could happen to your sales teams results if you held them accountable to practice, discipline and constructive habits?

We all know the answer, yet why is this so difficult?

“Practices zealously pursued become habits.”

Latin Maxim

What made Andrew Carnegie so successful?

What will make your salespeople successful?

PRACTICE

DISCIPLINED PRACTICE

Tony Robbins said it best,

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”

To achieve consistent sales results throughout your entire team means you as the leader must dedicate yourself completely to the task, activity or goal at hand. It means you must stay engaged without distraction.

You set the stage. It’s about you and all up to you.

Commitment to practice starts with you. It requires that you commit to yourself and your team to a sustained effort of action over the long-term. 

Essentially, this means you keep a promise to yourself and your team that you will follow through with what you set out to do consistently over a period of time up until the moment your objectives are achieved.

Sales leaders… Consistency and your teams’ results are all about your ability to be dependable, reliable and responsible for all your choices, decisions and actions.

THE DIFFERENTIATOR

Unfortunately, many sales leaders, managers and salespeople struggle with consistency when they fail to see immediate results from their actions.

Our society thrives on instant gratification. We feel hungry we call for a pizza; we get bored we binge watch Netflix; we get lonely we start texting our friends.

For many of us, we have grown up and have been hardwired to expect our impulses will immediately be satisfied. However, when it comes to achieving any level of sales success, the rules are a little different.

Here lies the disconnect… Many in sales crave immediate results with minimal effort, practice, accountability and commitment. And who allows that to happen? I wonder?

The lie your salespeople keep telling you, “But, I practice on the job.”

A basketball game isn’t won on the court. The game is won in the days, weeks, months and off-season work leading up to the 48 minutes of actual playing time.

You play how you practice

The game is won with preparation. The team watches film, memorizes plays, hits the gym and eats properly. Preparation and practice are the keys!

So, why do sales reps struggle so much with practice? And why are you allowing it to happen?

In sales, you don’t have an off-season to condition the mind or body. You and your team don’t have 3 months off to prepare for the season long grind.

CONSISTENCY

Consistency, this is what separates elite athletes from good athletes. The ability of these elite athletes to go out there, day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out for years is incredible.

Can the same be said for top sales professionals versus average sales reps?

What makes elite athletes and top sales professionals so consistent?

I believe it is consistent preparation in every aspect of what they do including physical conditioning, practice efforts, technique, tactics, mental aspects, nutrition, sleep, and on-going learning.

Consistently great performances come from consistency in practice efforts. The best way to build this consistency is to have clearly defined goals and structure for every practice session.

Unfortunately, this is where I see the disconnect between elite athletes and many in sales.

Elite athletes have great coaches.

Can the same be said for salespeople? Can the same be said of your team? How many sales reps can say their managers make great coaches?

Pay close attention to this one…

If you aren’t committed to practice and helping your sales team improve, then how can they consistently help your clients do better in their business?

If you continually allow and foster a laissez faire approach to practice, then how can your team achieve a consistent level of success over a long period of time?

SALESPEOPLE DO NEED PRACTICE

Successful sales leaders hold their team accountable to practice. They do not allow their salespeople to rule the roost.

The elite in sales continually do the things that sales reps find excuses for. The same can be said for sales leaders.

Elite athletes and their respective teams who achieve extraordinary results, put in a lot more hours of practice than the average. While their performances, outcomes and what they do are remarkable, there is no mystery how this was developed. They practiced beyond the average ordinary individual and team.

If you want your salespeople to reach the next level in their sales career, it’s imperative you spend more time with them in preparing, planning and practicing.

Remember… just as in professional sports, the same applies to sales… there is always someone eager and willing to take your place.

Come on sales world… You all can do so much better.

I will leave you all with something to think about…

As a sales leader, if you want to achieve the results that nobody is achieving, then you must do the things that nobody is doing.

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