Why And How Athletes Benefit From Cold Calling And B2B Sales
After retiring from professional basketball, sales was the last thing on my mind. I never even thought about it nor gave it the respect it deserved. Firstly, I never even thought about a career outside sports but with a degree in Communication, upon retirement I thought PR, marketing or journalism were the best paths. Sales was by far the most distant thought and an undesirable career choice.
I was wrong!
Sales is a profession requiring resilience and skill. It’s built on empathy and discipline. It is the art of connecting, listening and engaging with another person. Sales is human engineering — Solve problems through conversation, that’s all there is to it.
Sales enabled me to connect and build relationships with some of Australia’s most successful business owners. It taught me the art of negotiating and public speaking. It helped me understand business processes and how to build a business from nothing. Whereas sport helped me tap into my physical + mental energy, working in sales enabled me to tap into my cognitive energy. Most importantly, it taught me the most essential skill in progressing my career and/or running my own business – how to sell!
Here are some benefits of cold calling and working in sales:
- You build a network – Not only are you selling your company’s product, you’re selling yourself. Sales give you the opportunity to build your own network and get paid for it. Most likely, you’re connecting with high level executives, hiring managers and decisions makers. You never know when someone you connect with now, might be someone that helps you out in the future – use as a reference for a future job, someone you might work for or your first client in your own business. So keep a database and notes of everyone you meet and stay in touch.
- It builds resilience – Most pro athletes are resilient, that’s why they’re a pro athlete! Working in sales teaches you business resilience. It’s hard work and there’s lots of rejection involved. It’s like baseball – 3 hits out of 10 at bats is amazing! Same applies in sales – 3 yes’ out of 10 tries is brilliant. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives, but the negatives will outweigh the positives if you let them. You keep searching for the “yes” and learn from the “no.” Highly essential skill to have in business!
- Public Speaking competence – Sales forces you to become an expert in public speaking…and you get paid for it! You’re constantly presenting or pitching to a group of people, negotiating with decisions makers, meeting with high level executives and holding internal talks. You have to constantly refine your communication Skills. Your company will most likely send you to various public speaking courses and provide extensive training. Eventually, you become an expert in public speaking & communication and a confident negotiator.
- It replaces the adrenaline rush you had – As an athlete, game day is one of the most exciting days of the week. The anticipation & preparation leading up to game day is intense and process driven…but you love it, it keeps you “alive.” All that hard work leading up to game time is expressed during the game and it’s such an adrenaline rush!! Your performance determines whether you win or lose and you love the responsibility. Mostly, you love the feeling of winning! That same process and feeling happens in sales – you follow a strict process to find clients & customers. Once you find them you have a big presentation Friday morning to convince the client to purchase what you are selling. That is a huge adrenaline rush! Then the client has a week to think about your pitch and you start anticipating whether they’ll buy or not. You follow up a week later and they say “yes”, it’s an exhilarating feeling! You’re winning again and the rewards are uncapped $$$. Sales replaces the adrenaline rush & winning feeling from sport!
- Sales teaches you how to sell & make money – Ultimately, sales teaches you the most essential skill needed to advance your career and/or start your own business – how to sell yourself and a product or service. Through listening and asking for constant feedback, you can always learn from every failed sale. Eventually, you learn to perfect your pitch and negotiation skills, hence become a confident and skilled negotiator. This is an essential skill when you are interviewing for a promotion or job that offers a higher salary but most importantly if you’re ever going to start your own business you need to know how to sell. Working in sales, you’re essentially on the front lines. The amount of sales you make in any given month, determines the revenue the business you work for makes. This enables you to see the process of selling a product or service from start to finish and play a part in the strategy sessions. I can’t think of any other environment to be part of where you get to learn how to run a business, sell your product & service…whilst getting paid for it!
If you’re a pro athlete and not sure what career path to go down upon retirement, definitely consider sales!
If you want to explore the sales industry now, get in touch with the team at Athlete2Business – firstname.lastname@example.org