There is so much to admire about the athletes who will compete in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. There is also a great deal we can learn from the practices that drive their success. Consider the potential benefit of these practices in the business world and in our day-to-day sales efforts:
VISUALIZE THE END: “Busy fools” can be found readily in the business world, but they are non-existent among Olympians. Athletes at this level always begin with the (successful) end in mind. When you define and articulate a goal for an initiative (sales call, presentation, lead nurturing program), it provides focus and clarity, and makes it easier to map a plan for success.
SEEK CRITICAL FEEDBACK: A primary role of an elite athlete’s coach is to diagnose and address weaknesses in their performance. This function is critical to improvement. Seek and embrace critical feedback of your own performance – from customers, supervisors and peers. It’s the first step in eliminating your weaknesses.
LEARN FROM THE BEST: Spend time with people who can do what you can’t. Every athlete in the Olympics has engaged role models and observed competitors in order to improve their own performance. In the business world this type of modeling most often comes in the form of professional coaches or mentors. Their input teaches new skills, provides a fresh perspective and the aforementioned candid evaluation.
ALWAYS IMPROVE: Olympic-level athletes bring new meaning to “continuous improvement,” evaluating their success not only by their place on the podium, but in terms of whether they beat their personal best (performance). This drive for continuous improvement is how the top athletes stay at the top, and it is how top sales professionals do the same. Winning the business is terrific. Continually improving your “game” and your value to customers will keep the business.