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  • Writer's pictureLance Tyson

Selling as a New Olympic Sport?

Updated: May 30, 2023

Sales as an Olympic Sport Phelps in Swimming Relay

The Common Ground Between Olympic Superstars and High-Performance Sales Teams

A marathon runner. A gymnast. A relay swimmer. A fencing champion. A salesperson.

What do all these people have in common? A lot. With the Summer Olympics upon us, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on all the commonalities that high-performance sales teams share with Olympic athletes. Never thought of your sales team at the elite level of the best athletes on the planet? Well, you should.

Think about it: high-performing salespeople need to be able to go the distance. They must train and practice their craft endlessly, just as hard as any athlete. They need to have the endurance to continue when they are exhausted. They must find the drive to persevere, to outlast and outperform everyone else. Because if they rest for even one second, or allow themselves to become distracted, the competition will pull ahead of the pack to win the sale.

It’s the Olympic spirit that the best salespeople have—comprised of grit, endurance, persistence, and perseverance. I’d say that’s why so many sports teams connect with my process, because at its heart, it’s that kind of spirit that wins championship games. I’m competitive by nature, so I understand the kind of challenges involved, the perseverance required to close business and compete in a complex world.

Sales ain’t easy. It’s hard. About as hard as winning a gold medal and standing on top of that podium, listening proudly to your country’s national anthem play. You can coach all day long for skills, and you can always pick up knowledge, but that Olympic spirit is what makes all the difference between victory and defeat when it comes to selling.

Good coaches, including today's sales leaders, start with an honest assessment of their high-performance team's skills and abilities. Don't get left out.  Take the Sales Team Science assessment here.

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