Best Lessons Can Come from Non-Sales Pursuits

October 3, 2014  |  Posted by in Sales Training

Sometimes great insights come from the most unexpected sources. I just finished reading Pro Cycling on $10 a Day by Phil Gaimon. It was intended as a pleasure read, but Phil’s story of transformation from a fat 16-year-old to a top level professional cyclist for the Garmin Sharp pro cycling team offers lessons that are incredibly relevant to sales professionals and every business professional.

First, the perseverance that Gaimon demonstrated throughout his long and arduous journey to the top is impressive. He worked his way through the University of Florida, then spent years after college at annual salaries ranging from $5,000 – $18,000. While incredibly talented, he understood that he needed to pay his dues, and learn the specific tools, skills and psychology of winning. He developed both the physical and emotional stamina to win. It does make one consider how deep our own well of perseverance is. Do we have the passion, drive and grit to accomplish our goals? Too often we have more quit than grit in us, because selling is tough! Perseverance is the key factor of success in sales or any career.

Reading Gaimon’s experience, one can see pro cycling as a testament to the role of hard work in one’s success. In cycling, there are no short cuts – particularly for cyclists like Gaimon who are committed to success while staying within the rules and racing clean. You cannot make excuses to take days off. You have to work harder and smarter than your competition, with the mental toughness to outlast the competition and overcome your internal doubts and fears.

I don’t think there is a single characteristic of the competitive cyclist that is not applicable to the sales professional. Gaimon demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit to overcome obstacles, similar to the approach of exceptional sales professionals. At the infancy of his career and in need of supplemental income, he bootstrapped a cycling jersey company and started writing professionally – all while continuing to excel up the pro cycling ladder. Cycling is a yearly game, where you live contract to contract. Sound familiar? Except at times, sales professionals live day to day.

We can all benefit from the perseverance, work ethic and single-minded determination of Phil Gaimon. Don’t take days off. Think every day about how you win. Phil Gaimon does, or he has to get a “real job!”

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