Most salespeople are extremely competitive, not just in sales, but in everything they do. In other words, there’s a reason there are so many sports analogies used in sales. It’s the same reason some businesses head straight for the athletic department when recruiting on college campuses. Successful athletes are highly competitive. It’s the way they’re wired, and it’s what drives them to win.                              

Like good athletes, good salespeople also draw on their naturally competitive juices to drive success. But really good salespeople take it one step further. Just like exceptional athletes, they know the game isn’t really won on the playing field. It’s won on the practice field.

Sure, you can give 110% during the game, set and match. But if you haven’t poured that same blood, sweat and tears into your preparation, victory may not be yours.

If your sales team isn’t performing to their potential, there are ways you can help.

Be the Coach

Coaches know that effort alone doesn’t necessarily equate to giving the best performance. Players need to know the game inside and out. They need to know the strategy: what plays will work and why.

Every team has a different dynamic, with different strengths and weaknesses. And as much natural talent as your new recruits may have, they won’t know any of those nuances when they first join the team. Good coaches will take the time to teach and mentor each new addition until they are completely confident in their role.

  • Recognize individual strengths and who fits best in each position. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone needs to be good at everything. Your catcher is not also going to be a great pitcher. Let him do what he does best. Then groom a pitcher to compliment his talents.
  • Motivate your team around a common goal. Like any team, this isn’t every man for himself. Getting the MVP award is fantastic, but not nearly as good if you’re on the losing side. When your team wins, you all win.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Then practice some more. Given two equally matched opponents, preparation will win the game. Does your team hate role playing and rehearsing presentations? Too bad. It’s equivalent to pumping out push-ups. The more you do it, the stronger you become.

Talented athletes and salespeople who go out there and wing it will still win occasionally thanks to sheer will, luck, or a less capable opponent. But those who have great coaching and are willing to work their butts off at practice are far more likely to bring home the gold.


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