Each sport has its own winning language and imagery.
In the horse world we call it the winner’s circle.
We talk about the blue ribbon winner, winning by a nose, and wearing the winning silks.
Everyone knows we are talking about first place.
If football was our playing field we would talk about getting it into the end zone.
In basketball we talk about being in the zone. Whatever your sport Michael Jordon said it best, “Winning is about what happens from your shoulders up.”
Isn’t that true for all of us in sales? And everyone in business truly is in sales.
The play Death of a Salesman epitomized the struggles of a salesman in the name and character of Willie Loman. In everyday jargon we refer to winners, and unfortunately we refer to losers with the familiar L etched with a thumb
and forefinger on our forehead.
Winners Prepare For Victory
And they prepare way in advance.
Winners expect success:
- They taste it.
- They smell it.
- They see it.
For winners, victory is a total sensory stimuli experience. And it starts…long before they ever engage in the game, the negotiation or the meeting.
Winners prepare for winning long before they walk on their court of play. For hockey great Wayne Gretzky it begins with a mindset. He visualizes the end result. The Great One has said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been.”
The first step? It begins with the visualization of where you want to end. We begin with the stories that we tell ourselves about our success.
Very simply, what we put out in the marketplace is what we are thinking. If we think tentative thoughts, that’s what we put out to the world. We, especially in sales, need to be vigilant in censoring our thoughts.
Get Out of the Stupid Zone
We need to be honest with ourselves. We can only get out of our own stupid zone when we are honest about the stories that we tell ourselves. If we think, “I’ll never get this sale” then we need to identify this thought process. Conversely, if we think “no one can touch this offer” we have to be honest about our competitive edge.
Test the Stories
The next step to visualizing success is to test the stories that we tell ourselves. Then we need to ask what Dr. Phil calls the Get Real questions.” What can I do to increase my value to this customer? What has my competition done to increase their value?”
Be Prepared with the Goal
To visualize success be prepared with a positive statement or story to tell yourself about the desired result. At the time you need most to visualize your success; you need to have your positive stories prepared. “I have a great chance to get this sale because I have researched the client’s needs”, or “We have put together and practiced an awesome presentation”.
We need to be diligent with ourselves in order to consistently visualize a positive outcome.
The second step is a dedication to excellence.
Let’s look at John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach emeritus. He exemplifies a dedication to excellence. Retired in ’75, he still holds the record of 88 consecutive victories on the way to 10 NCAA championships and 7 consecutive NCAA championships.
Each year he would spend the first practice of the season teaching players how to tie their shoes.
Can you picture Bill Walton or the then Lew Alcinder,
sitting patiently or not so patiently on a bleacher while Coach Wooden showed them how to lace a shoe. Wooden said that he did not want to lose a player in post season play due to a foot problem. So he showed players how to make sure there was not a fold in the sock, and even pressure was exerted as the shoelace cris-crossed each famous foot.
Was it just about putting on socks and shoes. I think NOT.
It was a dedication to excellence in each and every facet of the game.
Imposters want just the accolades. Winners embrace the hard work on the road to excellence.
The rewards of March Madness started months before tournament play. They started on October days when 6’ and 7’ players sat down and learned the correct way to lace their shoe.
Where is the evidence of your dedication to excellence?
We need to see evidence of your excellence in everything you do and
in everything you say. From the heels of your shoes to the written presentation
to the spellchecked follow-up email . . . is everything about you saying excellence?
The third step to excellence is persistence.
We watched Michael Jordan reliably hit free throw after free throw.
What we didn’t see were the afternoons spent practicing 200, 300,
and 500 free throws.
Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.”
An athlete spends more time in practice than in a game.
Can we say the same?
Do we spend more time practicing than playing our game?
Or do we want to play the game-get the rewards-without the hours of practice.
One recent study said that anyone in business today needs to spend 60%
of their time marketing. It might seem far off until you realize winning athletes prepare for winning by practicing more than they play. No wonder athletes have
a winning attitude, they have practiced it. What we pay attention to grows. Yet, salespeople go on a sales call without practicing what they will say, how they will overcome objections, how they will move the sales process forward.
Winners prepare for success using all of their senses. Do you?
In the arena of sales as well as the sports arena, the more you prepare
the more you increase your chances to WIN PLACE OR SHOW.
Winning is a state of mind that comes from knowing that you have done your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.