Why Passionate Business Athletes are Winners
The first step to success is desire. As the Olympic games closed this year, it’s clear how desire drives these athletes to their success. When I coach sales, one of our first priorities is defining the desires of the sales person and the desires of the customer. Then, even more importantly, we connect the two together. Olympic athletes follow this sales process and allow their desires to drive them to the top. To do this, we have to answer our 4 important questions:
- Who is the customer?
- What is their desire?
- What is your desire?
- How are they connected?
Who is the customer?
First, who is the customer? A lot of positions I work with in my leadership roles don’t have a clearly defined customer. People usually save the term “customer” for the recipient end of a sale. What we have to realize is every job is a sales job. What do I mean by this? Well, it’s important to change your perception of what sales is. By definition, sales is the exchange of goods or services for an amount of money or its equivalent.
When we think about it in these terms, every job is sales. A simple employee-employer relationship requires sales on both ends. Employees have to sell their skills, productivity, and results to their employers. Meanwhile, employers have to sell a competitive pay, benefits, and a thriving company culture to employees. If one fails to sell to the other, chances are they’re looking for a new job.
So who do Olympic athletes sell to? Sponsors. Athletes are generally funded from sponsorships. They have to sell their skills, productivity, and results to be employed.
What do they desire?
Now consider what an Olympic sponsor desires — wins. As with any employer, they desire their employees to have a strong skill set, maintain a good reputation, and sustain quality performance. Sponsors profit from the exposure of a winning athlete. That’s why they’re willing to pay top-dollar for someone they think can provide a good return on their investment.
What do you desire?
Does this mean Olympic athletes have a desire to make money? No — they desire to win. When an athlete places even fourth, you can visibly see their heartbreak:
When asked what they desire, most sales people immediately resort to money. To Olympic athletes, money is a byproduct of their successful selling because they have developed their desires to be about their passions. As a transitioning sales leader, money will become a byproduct when you deepen your desires.
Realize why you desire more money. Is it more time with family? More security and freedom? Having direct, tangible desires will provoke you to be passionate about your client’s desires.
How is it connected?
Not many people have the desire to sell. Even fewer are truly passionate about selling and the products they provide. When I was in the financial industry, was I particularly excited about selling life insurance? No, of course not, but what I was excited about was changing my customer’s life. When I look at my customer’s desires — freedom, time, security — I realized they completely aligned with mine. Olympic athletes could want more money but they would never be where they are today. When you deepen your desires, you’ll find you align with your customer and you’ll be on your way to becoming a passionate sales leader.
This post is inspired from Chapter 1 of my book 3-D Sales. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a 3-D sales leader.
If you want to read more about connecting your goals to your bigger picture, check out last week’s blog post: Focus on your Why.