Work It Out: Lessons in Sales Straight From the Gym
I recently joined my local YMCA, which I absolutely love. I’ve been TRYING to get there at least three times a week. As I run and climb and cycle and lift weights, some pretty interesting sales related comparisons have come to me. Committing to getting in shape and committing to your success in sales are a lot alike.
- Pushing yourself is about setting the weight a little higher than you think you can comfortably do, and then doing one or two reps more than you think you can. Whenever I do this, I surprise myself and get really proud of how strong I am getting and what I can do.
Translation — Decide to try to do something you think you can’t do, or do just a little more than you are comfortable with. Maybe this is as simple as making one more sales call each day, or deciding that you are ready to speak in front of a group of people even though public speaking makes you want to hurl.
- Training for something like a half marathon is about more than being ready cardio-vascular-ly (yes this is probably made up) — just because your heart and lungs can take running for more than two hours doesn’t mean your legs can. There is also race nutrition and proper gear and comfort to consider.
Translation — If you are great at being able to articulate the features and benefits of your products and services, but you have no idea how to ask questions to determine how your solutions help solve individual clients’ problems, you are not all the way there yet. Taking a more 'whole picture' approach to your knowledge and communication is vital to your success.
- Having a training partner and a plan makes your success all that much more in reach.
Translation — You can decide to run a marathon yourself and show up on race day having been running consistently for six months OR you can consult others who have successfully trained for a marathon and ask their advice on best practices to help you prepare. Having someone else along on the journey helps with motivation, accountability and commiseration. Misery might love company, but so does accomplishment.
- It’s never too late to push yourself and try something new. There is a lot to love about the Y, and one is that people as young as 11 and as old as 95 are there on any given day for any number of reasons. I love seeing older folks jumping onto machines or taking a Tai Chi class. They inspire me and remind me that health and fitness are unlimited by age.
Translation — If you are nearing retirement but still want to start a blog, go and do that. Same goes for Twitter. Or Facebook. Or Instagram and Pinterest for that matter. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re too old for ANYTHING. And please never tell yourself that, either.
- It takes a village. Thanks to the fine people at ChildWatch, which is the inside childcare facility in the Y, I get to work out and my kids get to play and have some space away from me. This is very important for all of us. Without that feature, I could not get a workout in without paying through the nose for babysitting, which would have made the membership useless.
Translation — No one expects you to do this all by yourself, or at least they shouldn’t. Your sales manager (are there any of those still out there?) or the person you report to, should have tools to help you succeed. There are these blogs. There is coaching. There are your colleagues. Please never fail because you were too proud to ask for help. It's out there for you. Ask.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.