5 Things Learned from being a Collegiate Athlete that can be applied to Sales

Sep 26, 2013, by Jen Nordine, Happiness Officer

Back in college being an athlete was a lifestyle. Up until my soccer retirement, I ate, slept, and dreamt the sport. The game of soccer taught me to be resilient, not to fear failure, and to work hard and never give up. Recently, I have come to realize that any sport really translates into the sales game within the business world. So, I decided to whip up a few lessons I learned from playing soccer for the Fighting Irish that have helped me in sales.

You will fail

Truth be told you are going to fail. Whether a game or a deal is lost failure is a part of life. Fear - it will get you nowhere.

Fear holds you back. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of what you don’t know: these potential threats to your status quo can cripple your confidence and make you avoid the unknown. In order to realize your dreams, you must first learn how to confront your fears. -- Noah Kagan

The people that are able to get up ten times after falling nine are capable of anything. Being able to push through all scenarios is what will in turn get you to where you want to be. I think the best lesson learned from college soccer was when I grasped the true understanding of what “drive” really was.  Pushing passed distractions, obstacles, overcoming adversity and failures to get to where you wanted to be.  I am a firm believer that you can push yourself further than you think. You just gotta keep swimming my friend. 

8AM is not early

5AM, negative 20 degrees, half a mile walk to morning workouts. Good times. Morning workouts not only taught me I can endure the most agonizing weather but more importantly that “the early bird gets the worm.” I always felt more accomplished, and ready to get shit done. This translates to the sales world as well. Waking up at 5:00AM, grabbing my morning coffee and starting the day before most, gets me jazzed, ready to be proactive, productive and close some deals. If you don’t believe me, check out some successful superstars that take advantage of their sales day bright and early.

You gotta want to be the best

I am constantly looking to be better and do better. In the business world, you must be goal oriented. You want to win the National Championship? You think you can close that 10 million dollar deal? You need to strive to be the best, never waiver. You need to work harder, smarter. You need to do whatever it takes to get there. Do I sound a bit over the top? To some, I am sure, but to those who really want it, this probably really resonates. Because successful people are always looking to better themselves and move up to that next level. You need to do double days to become a starter? You need to work from 7AM - 7 PM for months to close that deal? What are you waiting for? Rise and shine and get after it. Hard work never goes undone.

Balancing Act

Some people can do it all. Athletics, academics, and balancing a social life while also giving back. This was always a struggle for me. Today, after college - family, social life, success, and health are hard to juggle successfully.

Power to those people who can do it all. That deserves a slow clap.

For someone who is not superhuman - pick two of the above. Multi-tasking and trying to do it all is not easy peasy. Plan out your week ahead of time and take it one day at a time, do the best you can. If you fall short, it’s okay, try the next week. It is all a balancing act and takes practice.

Respect your competitors 

Know your competition. Respect your competition. What people don’t realize that it is more important to know the competition’s strengths and weaknesses than what you are actually going to present. Do your homework first then plan your strategy.

So many times people are afraid of competition, when it should bring out the best in us. We all have talents and abilities, so why be intimidated by other people's skills? -- Lou Holtz

On the field, in the office, you should always respect your competitors. They are going to teach you, push you, make you better. Lost a deal from the competition, take a step back, analyze and learn from the loss.  Chances are you won’t lose from that competitor again.

Sales and athletics can go hand and hand.  For those of you who competed in sport, who are in sales, parlay that into role today. Work hard, be resilient and close deals. Of course, while leveraging ToutApp in the process.

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