Everything that is easy was once hard.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics Michael Phelps won an unprecedented 8 gold medals, more than any athlete, in any Olympic games, had ever won. Later, when asked about his gold-medal, world-record-setting 200 Butterfly swim, here is what he said:
“It’s how I wanted it to go, how I didn’t want it to go, and how it could go…so, when my goggles filled up with water, I was relaxed because I reverted back to my training. I swam blind for a 175m out of a 200m fly, won gold, and broke the world record.”
He swam blind for 3/4s of this race and still set a world record. How is that even possible?
It’s possible because he trained for this adverse condition. In fact, his coach is known for making him swim with cracked goggles in practices and even stepping on them unknown to Phelps right before a routine swim event, forcing him to swim in difficulty.
Are you struggling to meet your sales objectives? Having some difficulty with certain aspects of your job? Wish you were closing more deals, were more productive, less overwhelmed…?
If you are human, here’s the good news, you are designed to adapt, flourish, and advance!
Everything that is easy, was once hard. You simply need to focus on how to make what’s currently hard, easy!
Taking a page from Michael Phelps, here are three things you can do to improve your results, make things easier, and provide some life-affirming growth at the same time!
1. Identify what you can control when things you can’t control happen. Here is a partial list to get you started:
You can’t control whether your prospect picks up the phone, but you can control the message you leave if they don’t.
You can’t control whether your prospect will call you back, but you can control how you entice him to want to do so.
You can’t control whether your prospect thinks they need your services, but you can control the questions you ask to help them to recognize they do.
You can’t control how often your competition is contacting your customers, or what they are saying, but you can control how often you are connecting with your customers and how you communicate value.
You can’t control whether your Key Decision Maker stays in their role, but you can control building strong relationships all around that person, so when (not if) they do leave their role, your relationship is not at risk.
You can’t control whether your product, service, or solution is actually going to meet all your clients’ expectations 100% of the time, but you can make sure you set expectations that limit dissatisfaction to the things truly out of your control.
You can’t control time, but you can control how you spend it.
2. Create habits to control what you can control
Habits are formed through practice. Small, consistent, and regular always beats getting all fired up once. Great sales professionals believe in constant development. They role-practice their craft regularly, no matter how seasoned they are. They don’t ever “wing” it. We’ve written several Butler Street blogs on the power of role-practice. (See related: It is NOT Role-Playing, It's Role-Practice) There is no silver bullet to success, but role-practicing comes darn close! Think of Michael Phelps swimming blind. He practiced that, so if/when it happened, he could relax and still perform his best.
Put yourself in the uncomfortable during practice so you can relax and perform your best when you are in live action with a prospect or customer. Practice handling the tough objections – word for word - with a colleague and mentor. Practice and practice until you are able to stay relaxed when you get thrown a difficult objection or a pushback that may seem like a “no”, allowing you to stay intently focused on advancing your client relationships, communicating your value, and digging underneath the surface of the objection to identify how you can best solve their problems and improve their business.
3. Get coached
First rule. Be Coachable.
Second rule. Find a coach. Hopefully, it is your direct manager, but if it’s not, there’s someone out there who can help you improve. If you are lucky enough to participate in instructor-led training, virtual or in-person, you should consider the coaching as a gift. If your manager doesn’t coach you and your company doesn’t invest in your professional development, find someone who will mentor you. You have a willing network, you have industry associations, you have successful peers, and most would be flattered to help – as long as you’re coachable.
Third rule. Keep your emotions in check. A good coach is going to find ways to make you better. They are going to look for the little things that could be improved. No one - no matter how successful is perfect. Don’t ever look at constructive criticism as being picked on. (See rule #1)
Do you want to find success? Smash your goggles. Get out of your comfort zone, recognize the difference between going it alone and having a coach, and practice, practice, practice to be 100% prepared and ready to control all the things you can control. Everything that is easy was once hard. What is hard, can become easy.
If you need a coach to help you form the right habits and control what you can control in your profession, Butler Street can help.