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Sales Solutions
On Top of Your Game vol 7, issue #2
February, 2010

Most of you know that next Sunday the Indianapolis Colts will play the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV (that's 44, for those of you who've forgotten your Roman numerals!).  Many of you - those who really follow football - know that you will have the privilege of watching arguably the greatest quarterback of all time - Peyton Manning - once again performing on football's grand stage.

What makes Peyton Manning a great among greats?  Surely natural talent.  But also other qualities.  Qualities such as Drive.  Dedication to Continuous Improvement. Boundless Confidence.  And good old fashion Hard Work.  These qualities are the mark of champions not only in football, but in any profession.

Let's look at how possessing each of these qualities makes champions in the profession of Sales.


Drive.  Drive is something internal - energy, vigor - that compels certain individuals to be constantly moving forward, to push themselves towards achieving a goal or objective.  It is independent of external influences.  Peyton Manning is internally motivated - is driven - to win football games.  The best sales people possess this drive.  While they appreciate having an inspirational leader for a manager, they're not dependent on such a person to get them to produce.  The drive to do so comes from within.

Dedication to Continuous Improvement. Everyone tells Peyton how great he is.  So it would be easy for him to simply soak up the accolades, be satisfied with his accomplishments, and rest on his laurels.  But he doesn't.  The guy spends more time preparing for games than most any quarterback in the game.  He studies the game of football like a chess master studies a chess board.  Anything to give himself an edge over his opponent.  The best sales people - the ones closing the most business, those handling the most challenging accounts, those selling the most reluctant prospects - are the ones who never rest on their laurels.  They regularly "sharpen the saw" - to use a phrase coined by Stephen Covey - to stay on top of their games and ahead of their peers, and of their competitors.

Confidence. Time and time again, we've seen Peyton Manning run his famous two-minute drill to perfection.  Even when opposing defenses know it's coming, he's still able to march his team downfield - seemingly at will - to score touchdowns, casting fear in his opponents while doing so.  That's not just talent - that's confidence.  Knowing you can beat the odds - consistently - because you've done it before.  Few quarterbacks have done this as consistently as Peyton Manning has.  And that consistent success builds confidence.  Do you have confidence in your ability to engage an indifferent prospect? To handle their objections? To present your solutions powerfully and convincingly? Do you have the confidence to ask for commitments - including the order?

Hard work.The bedrock of any successful person - in any profession - is hard work.  Even though he's a star player in the star position, Peyton Manning works as hard as any other player on his team during the five practice days between games.  This not only contributes to his becoming the best player he can be, it earns him the respect of his teammates.  Are you working as hard as you can at your profession - Sales?


Are you driven to excel at sales?  To overcome those objections, to close those deals, to make those extra calls to uncover and develop new opportunities - without being prodded by your manager?  If not, a dose of introspection is in order.   Revisit why you decided to get into sales.  What do you want to achieve? What are you willing to do to achieve it?  What do you do on a continuous basis to improve yourself?  Do you invest in your own professional development?  How?  How much time (and, yes, money) do you invest in staying on top of your game, and ahead of your peers and competition - over and above what your company provides?  Subscribing to and reading this newsletter is one thing - chalk one up in the "plus" column. But is it enough?  Attend seminars and workshops. Participate in role plays. Collaborate and learn on LinkedIN.   Read a book on Sales.

And what about confidence?  Confidence comes from being successful.  Success comes from having the internal drive to do your best, from having solid fundamental skills, and from working hard and smart. If you find your confidence is lagging, work on those skill areas in which you're lacking - with a buddy, or with your manager - in order to strengthen them. 

Lastly, are you working as hard as you can - are you going the extra mile it takes to be your best? If not, it's time for a gut check!

So as you're watching Peyton Manning and Drew Brees perform at the top of their games Sunday night, think about what you can do to be on top of your game each and every day you're out there selling.

Good selling!

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