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Sales – Survival Of The Fittest

My son is quite a little athlete.  He plays four different sports throughout the year and which ever he happens to be involved with, (at the time he is asked), happens to be his favorite sport.  His mom and I are constantly shuttling him, (and sometimes his friends), to practices and games.  It really does consume most of our free time.

During the spring, he is donning the cap and learning to hit 50mph fastballs up the middle for a double, just like David Wright.  The fall finds him juggling soccer balls and trying to be like Messi from Argentina…not a bad player to look up to.  Michael Phelps is the topic of conversation during summer months as he marvels at how Phelps has mastered so many strokes.  My son is not that tall and the butterfly baffles him.

Wrestling, however, is a different story.  He doesn’t mention any wrestlers he looks up to.  We don’t really talk about wrestling during meals; or anywhere else, for that matter.  He digs deep more for wrestling practices and matches than he does for any of the other sports.  He has developed a game face and a line in his jaw I hadn’t ever seen before.

It could be the singlets.  It’s disturbingly obvious they are uncomfortable to wear.  Perhaps it’s the pungent aroma emanating from the mats…a smell that is equal parts attic, sweat and disinfectant.  But maybe, just maybe, it’s because he doesn’t have a team to hide behind when it’s go time.  In soccer and baseball, the team loses and the team wins.  Oh, sure, swimming is an individual sport, too, but swimming doesn’t have you look into your opponent’s eyes and make it personal.  There’s an individual element to swimming but if you don’t win there are four other swimmers that didn’t win either.  You can comfort yourself in the camaraderie of defeat.

Wrestling is the ultimate individual sport.  You either win or you don’t.  The only other person that counts for those three 1-minute rounds, aside from your opponent, is the referee.  It involves a sense of controlled rage because if you let it get away from you you’re disqualified.  If you’re timid you won’t last 10 seconds.  You have to think 3 moves ahead without losing situational awareness.  Wrestling is full contact chess.

Regardless of the sport, I believe every kid should try their hand at it at least once.  I have seen reluctant children surprise themselves as they excel in the field.  It doesn’t always happen, but occasionally it’s there for all to behold.

Sales is the same as wrestling.  You are a member of a team but, ultimately, you are solely responsible for your results.  You may not have time for prospecting today but you can’t let that get away from you because in three months, when your sales are suffering, you will think back and have no one to blame but yourself.  You have to think ahead and yet keep your head in the present.  You are constantly facing rejection but you can’t let that stop you from moving forward.  There are only three people in the ring; you, your competition and your sales manager acting as a judge more than a referee.

Everyone has to know their limitations.  Everyone should take a shot at selling anything at some point in their careers.  You may not be successful at, it but at the very least, you will learn what the sales department goes through on a daily basis.  Wrestling is not for every kid.  Neither is sales.  But who knows?  You may look in the mirror and see a line in your jaw you didn’t know you had.

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