The whole idea that sports was training me for sales never occurred to me. I mean, I knew it was preparing me for life, but to what extent, I wasn’t sure. After 13 years of playing football at an elite level in the SEC to having a short professional career, I soon realized I had been positioned to prosper in sales. Here is how it all happened and how I was able to apply my sports training into sales training and dominate within my industry.
With my football career coming to an end not making the millions that I hoped of making with the game off football, I realized I needed to get a job. Not just any job though, a job that had the potential to change my family’s financial future. So after assessing my skills and determining my best asset was my people skills and doing my homework on different industries. I concluded that I should get into the sales industry. I was off to the races and in an industry I knew nothing about, it was called timeshare.
People were making money left and right. I heard that “if you can sell timeshare, you can sell anything”. So if they could do it, I figured could do it too. My first 3 months, I was what sales people like to call “killing it” but that didn’t last long. Slow time came, tours dried up and I needed to add some sales skills because the people skills weren’t cutting it. Here is where I had my defining moment in my sales career. I asked myself, what made me elite in sports? It was my ability to learn and prepare. That question changed my sales career and the sales training game forever for me.
What I discovered was the systemic sports approach we used and that every elite level sporting team use when preparing for their opponent. And guess what, I was able to correlate how each step could be used in sales. This allowed me to carryover sports training from the reading of the scouting report, film study; walk through, practice and reviews. These things were all second nature to me could be used in my sales training. In sports this systemic approach allowed me to get exposed to information visually, aurally, verbally, and physically condensing my learning curve. Sports training also stimulated game like situations allowing me to practice responding under pressure. Intern when game day came I knew my opponents inside and out; from their personal on the field, formations, and alignments. I knew the schemes they wanted to run, the plays they liked to call based on down and distance, their strengths and their weakness. This allowed me anticipate, predict, and play faster which ultimately is the winning edge in sports out side of talent and coaching.
So in my sales training my prospects became my opponent because they could prevent me from “the goal” which was to sale. So I wanted to know everything I could just like in football that would allow me to be the best sale persons. I needed to be able to anticipate their response, read body language, predict their concerns and objections, know their strengths for why they would do the deal, their weakness for why they wouldn’t. I wanted to be one step ahead if not more just like in football.
So for my sales training I replaced the scouting report with the steps of sale, sales script, and company credibility. Then I replaced walk through with role-play so that I understood the information and terms. From there I practiced, not on my prospects but on my co-workers, sales teams, family. I practiced on everyone I could so that I could stimulate a real life sales opportunity. Lastly I reviewed, when I practiced I would record the interaction on audio or video, whichever I could at the time. I then could go back and study the film. When study the film I was able to make corrections and adjustments to my delivery, pitch, expressions, closes and many other things that I would not have noticed just like in sports.
Taking sports training and using it for sales training was a complete game changer for me. I’m fortunate that I struggled early enough in my sales career that it forced me to take a self-assessment of my skills. My new program “The Learning Formula” is helping many athletes and sale people apply sports training into sales training and dominant. For more information visit derrickfurlow.com