I love sports, and as a sales and leadership expert, I find there are a lot of lessons on the field that apply to sales. As a Yankees fan, one player in particular stands out to me, and it’s not Mickey Mantle —one of the Yankees’ most revered players of all time. I admit he had incredible raw power and skill, but because of his drinking and carousing, he didn’t use that raw talent to its full potential. I think Mickey Mantle probably only achieved 70 percent of what he could have in life. Not all of us are blessed with such raw talent, but we all have the potential to achieve greatness the way Don Mattingly did.
Don Mattingly always impressed me, and he represents what I believe is 90 percent of the population: he is a man of average skill who achieved phenomenal results. When I attended Yankees games during Mattingly’s era, I noticed that before each game he had a routine. He’d take a tee, put it in front of the net behind home plate, and practice his swing. Every single day. Mattingly didn’t have the raw power of some hitters, but he hit home runs, and his nickname became “The Hit Man.”
For those of you who are saying why can’t I use a more current example, I beg to differ. Don Mattingly today is the manager of the Florida Marlins. As a leader, wouldn’t you want someone with his mindset and background leading your team? Now let’s get back to the main message.
Everybody knows about the great basketball player Michael Jordan – the one who didn’t even make it on a team in college. Do you know what Michael Jordan did to prepare for his games when he played for the Chicago Bulls? Jordan had a full basketball court in his basement at home, and for two hours on game days, a trainer came over and put him through a full workout. After that he’d head to the Chicago Bulls stadium for his normal pre-game warm-up. Then he’d play the game. This was Jordan’s routine.
What’s YOUR preparation? How much are you practicing your skills? If you consider the time you spend with customers to be “practice,” you are using valuable time to hone your skills. When you get in front of your customers, it’s show time, not the practice field.
It’s routine practice that helped to make Mattingly and Jordan great. All professional athletes put in practice time, but Mattingly and Jordan exceeded the standard practice schedule and reaped the benefits. Long-term dedication to training and practice leads to extraordinary results for EVERYONE! Not just the gifted ones! What routine are you using to become a star player?
One more thing. Practice by itself is not good enough. If you practice the wrong techniques, you will not get the results you are looking for. You MUST practice the right techniques! To find out what techniques you should be practicing that will help you grow your sales immediately, check out our new online video–based learning program Selling with IMPACT! For the cost of a dinner it will help you make more money than you have thought possible.