What Salespeople and Athletes Have in Common

Among the most resilient workers out there are salespeople. Long hours, daily rejection, and constant bench-marking are just a few of the challenges salespeople overcome every day when they walk into work. Many sales managers try to hire former athletes for sales roles. Not necessarily a collegiate athlete, but someone who was raised with athletic competition in the forefront. So what are the commonalities between athletes and salespeople?

They’re in it for the win.

One thing rings true about both salespeople and former athletes: their eye is always on the prize. Whether that be the gold trophy in athletics, or the monthly quota in a job, both the athlete and the sales person want the win. 

Competition is motivation.

Whether it be making the team and rising to the top, or making quota and rising to the president’s club, both salespeople and former athletes know how to compete and thrive in a competitive environment. Rather than getting discouraged by those who are better, both salespeople and former athletes will practice until they are on top. 

Rejection is just part of the game.

When someone has been brought up as an athlete, they have lost at one point or another. Maybe they were cut from a team, or lost the state title in their final match, or maybe they had to overcome unspeakable odds to win. In any case, athletes know rejection. In order to succeed in sales, a person must be familiar and comfortable with rejection. Because in sales, there will be a time when the sales person is cut from the client’s “team,” when they lose the sale in the final round of pitches, or when they have to overcome countless objections before they make the sale.

Understand the power of habit.

Bad habits are hard to break. It takes practice, reviewing performance, and then more practice.  Athletes are familiar with practicing drills over and over until they turn a specific motion into habit. 

Know the value of a good team.

Setting goals together and helping the team reach them is an integral part of both sales roles and athletics. Former athletes have worked with others as part of a team since childhood.

Use the past to better themselves.

In both sales and athletics, the person has to have a level of personal accountability in order to be successful. The salesperson can’t blame other departments for losing the sale, just like the athlete can’t blame their coach for not scoring. Both salespeople and athletes know how to study their previous mistakes to better themselves moving forward.

Whether or not athletes make the best salespeople, they most certainly have experience with the same challenges that salespeople face every day.

Kate Jacoutot is the marketing coordinator for Spire Workforce Solutions, a staffing company with a focus on placing sales and recruiting talent in both agency and corporate settings. To learn more about Kate, visit www.thronemarketingtm.com.

Kate Jacoutot

Spire Workforce Solutions, 5575 Peachtree Dunwoody Road Northeast, Building C, Suite 240, Sandy Springs, GA, 30342, United States