5 Lessons Your Sales Team Can Learn From Olympians

Olin Hyde
September 13, 2016

Rio 2016 has come and gone. This year’s Olympics kept everyone riveted. Many of us watched Michael Phelps win several gold medals. His performance in the Olympics was remarkable, leaving us wondering how he did it.

Instead of focusing on the fact that Michael Phelps finished on the podium in 93% of his events, maybe you should be thinking about how these Olympians can help boost your sales team’s performance.

In fact, there are lots of lessons you and your sales team can learn from Rio 2016.

From improving your customer service or to reducing customer churn rates, this post discusses five lessons you and your sales team can learn from the men and women of Rio 2016.

  • Make Perfection Your Philosophy

Everyone knows that perfection is out of reach. But while it’s physically impossible to be perfect, Olympians still try. Striving for perfection even though you know you’ll fall short can give your business a boost when it’s not performing well.

Striving for perfection pushes your sales team to go further, forcing them to become champions. That’s what every Olympian does and it’s what every entrepreneur can do to improve sales.

  • Prepare for the Unexpected

Rio 2016 delivered some unexpected events, such as Novak Djokovic getting knocked out in all his categories  early on. Yes, defeats happen and they often come at the most unexpected times. Like an Olympian, though, you and your sales team needs to be prepared to deal with setbacks and defeats whenever they happen

For example, if your team is building great B2B content for your company, you have to be prepared for some of that content to under perform. You need to determine why it under performed. Then do something about it. What separates great sales teams from bad ones is their ability to take stock of what happened and make changes

But to do this effectively, you must have a deep understanding of why your customers do what they do. Crafting intimate buying personas is the key to doing that.

  • Coaching Can Mean the Difference Between Success and Defeat

It’s easy to forget that Olympians always have great coaches backing them up. Coaches come with a cache of experience and knowledge that can help athletes improve. The same principle applies to your sales team. Without fresh ideas and someone pointing out their mistakes, your team’s chances of improving are close to zero.

One of the best winning sales strategies to take advantage of is to bring in an outsider to review your team’s efforts.  Hire someone to shadow them. After doing so, that person will be to pinpoint where team members are going wrong and how they can improve. Consider it an Investment in your sales team’s education.

Also, bring in a coach to help team members improve. Unfortunately, many companies see coaching as a secondary consideration. They’re so obsessed with meeting sales targets they never consider how they’re going to take their sales team to the next level. Don’t let that happen to you. Coaching requires a long-term mindset but it can pay big dividends.

  • Make Every Meeting Count

When athletes participate in the Olympics, they have one chance to get it right. Fail to get it right the first time and they’ll have to wait four years to try again. The same principle applies in sales when it comes to meetings.

Make the most of every meeting you call and every call you make. If you fail to do this, you’re not taking things seriously enough. Neither will your sales team.

Instead, treat every task with the respect and importance it deserves and your team will do the same.There are a lot of lessons from the Olympics that apply to business but this one may be the best.

  • Apply the Numbers Right

Olympians track their numbers down to the millisecond. They review them later to figure out how they can boost efficiency and effectiveness. They know that applying their numbers correctly can help pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses.

Every sales team should take analytics seriously. They can help you figure out how customers are finding you and if they’re going all the way through the sales funnel. So setup meetings with your sales team to discuss these numbers. Then create action plans to take advantage of them.

Make this effort a continuing process and it will spur your team’s improvement. More important, it will boost their all-round performances.

Last Word – Sales is More Like the Olympics Than You Think

You and your sales team can learn a lot from the Olympics. By applying the same philosophies and mindsets that Olympians apply to their events, you can boost your sales team’s performance and your company’s profits.

What’s the most important sales lesson you learn from the men and women of Rio 2016?

Further Reading

Lainey Mebust
July 10, 2020
Lainey Mebust
June 24, 2020
Lainey Mebust
November 22, 2019