…in fact, it’s more like a marathon. If you want to succeed, you must prepare. You cannot simply “wing it” and expect to see great results. Sales, just like running a marathon, takes planning, but that’s not all it takes.
These are five things it takes to be successful for both marathon runners and sales people:
Just as a marathon runner trains and sets goals, you must also have goals in your sales role. You can’t only have a goal such as “I want to win.” You need to have a strategy. When you get to work every morning, run down your to-do list and focus on how you are going to hit your goals. For example, if your goal is to set up two appointments, how many phone calls are you going to make?
If you’re in sales, you know not every day is a great day. Sometimes you may find yourself “hitting a wall”, a runner’s worst fear. Meaning that it can feel like you can’t push any harder. Sales professionals experience this feeling when they have deals fall through or when it seems as if all of your leads don’t pan out. Runners and sales reps alike understand that to achieve their goals, they must be patient and expect setbacks.
If your goal is to be the top sales rep at your company, don’t expect the 9-5 to cut it. You need to work harder and smarter than anyone else and that may entail some long days and even working weekends. It’s a price to pay for victory. Runners training for the marathon may train hours each day, seven days a week. They may stick to a rigid training and diet plan too which requires focus and discipline. If they don’t take care of themselves and put in the work, they may get injured or be behind their training regimen.
People think sales is an individual career just like people assume running is not a team sport. Contrary to popular belief, both require a strong network. When elite marathon runners are training, they may have a coach or teammates to train with. When they are racing, they are feeding off one another to push forward. Runners rely on the support of family and friends and even the cheers of the crowd to carry them through. Sales professionals need a strong management team to help them achieve their goals. They also need to feed off the competitiveness of their co-workers.
The most essential trait to both running a marathon and building a career in sales is resiliency. You may find yourself hitting a wall, experiencing doubt and disappointment, and encountering a few bumps and bruises along the way. However, you need to be resilient to be the best. You must overcome objections and rejections and silence the voices in your head telling you to just quit. If you can push past the moments of doubt and focus on achieving your goals, you are on a path to success. Train, work hard and measure your efforts, and then do it all over again.