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Sales Tip - Be An Olympic Salesperson in 2014

With the Winter Olympics just around the corner, I'm reminded that the preparation, discipline, focus and training necessary to qualify for those Olympic games is akin to how your business should be approaching the new year.

Think about it.

For your business to be successful in 2014, you need goals to shoot for and a strategic plan for achieving those goals. You need to decide if it's worth investing the time (and money) required to win a proverbial gold medal, or if a top 10 finish is sufficient. You need the right people, processes and technology in place to help you achieve the highest level of performance.

So, with all of that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share some tips for how to approach 2014 like an Olympic athlete and make this year one of your best yet:

1. Set a goal. What sales goal do you really want to accomplish in 2014? Spend time thinking about that first and then establish a plan by identifying what (or who) can help you get there and what (or who) you should leave behind.

2. Use technology to your advantage. The very best athletes need technology to succeed and you do, too. Make sure that you have the best tools in place -- CRM, email system, productivity tools, mobile software, web research tools, prospecting lists, calendar invitations, etc. -- and that you know which social networks your prospects frequent.

3. Don't take things personally. Be like a duck and let things slide off your back. If you encounter a rude gatekeeper or difficult decision-maker, it's probably not about you. Don't give up on yourself just because a prospect interaction goes poorly.

4. Perfect your craft. At the Olympic level, athletes are obsessed with improvement. Try to take the same approach with your business this year. Maybe you were the top sales rep in 2013, but if you stand still, others will pass you by. Learn even more about your prospects' industry, work on improving your listening skills and dive deeper into your competition's strengths and weaknesses.

5. Practice positive self-talk. You're good at what you do and you can be the best. But do you really believe that? If you don't, what needs to change? No Olympic athlete won a gold a medal without believing in him or herself first.

6. Identify a good sales coach. Even the best athletes in the world rely on advice and insight from other people. Find someone who can stretch your thinking and take you to an even higher level than you already are.

7. Find sponsors and collaborate. Your sponsors could be alliance partners, your network or the vendors you work with, but try to think more broadly than that. What about the commercial real estate agent who knows which new companies are moving to town? Or the VC that funds growing startups?

The simple reality is that making quota and winning Winter Olympic gold doesn't just happen. If you want to have a memorable 2014, then your preparation must begin TODAY -- not a few weeks or two quarters from now.

Source: Sales consultant/speaker Kendra Lee