Powerlifting can be strange to the newcomer. It’s an interesting sport that deviates from the typical “big four” in that there’s much more activity and strategy preparing for the main event than during it. In powerlifting, the behind-the-scenes is much more hectic than the main lift. Despite its exotic qualities, there are a number of lessons learned from powerlifting that can be applied to sales. Below are four key points shared between the two worlds that could help transform a burly powerlifter into a competitive salesperson:
1. Train toward a goal
Whether you’re at a gym training with a bar on your back or traveling for sales presentations with your computer bag on your back, you should always be working toward a goal. Having realistic, specific, and measurable goals helps you track your strengths and weaknesses, and create a timeline for when you can expect results. Seeing yourself inch toward your goal helps fuel motivation.
You should also ask yourself: “Why do I have this goal?” My personal goal is to achieve a combined total of 1,000 pounds for the squat, bench press, and deadlift at a body weight of 155lbs or less. I use this goal to determine how much I need to lift for each exercise and motivate myself. This goal is for personal achievement and to prove that you don’t have to be huge to be strong. What is the purpose of your goal? Whether it’s exceeding a sales quota or helping your team close deals, having purpose will help solidify your conviction and motivate you even more.
2. Be an active listener
During my first powerlifting meet, I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I survived the confusion by listening to the instructions from my team’s veterans. Being an active listener paid off when I placed third in my weight class at my first competition. Active listening is also the North Star for salespeople. As a new sales rep, listening to your manager will help you understand what you need to do to succeed.
Further, by actively listening to a client’s particular situation, you can truly understand what their problems are and provide tailored content for each business case for your product. Providing a personalized sales interaction allows you to stand out from your competition and close the deal.
3. Always be learning
I learn from my team almost every practice, from tips about lifting technique and strength to how to prepare for an upcoming meet. Similarly, there’s always something to learn from senior sales reps or from the marketing team, such as tips for prospecting, presenting marketing materials to clients, or how to speak to clients in specific scenarios during sales meetings.
Another great way to learn is just by doing. Nothing can fully prepare you for your first powerlifting meet or first sales call; you just have to do it. Exposure and repetition are your friends in both worlds. With exposure and repetition, powerlifters improve technique and mobility and decrease anxiety when competing. With the same two tools, salespeople can familiarize themselves with the product or service they are selling and develop confidence when talking to clients or prospects.
4. Your team is your family
This is the most important point. Powerlifting and selling are very team-oriented—your team makes or breaks you. My powerlifting team is my most valuable asset. We learn from each other. We rely on each other. We compete with each other and motivate each other. It’s the same in sales. Your team is a great source of knowledge, motivation, and support, and a great team unequivocally leads to success.
Just as a powerlifter needs to continuously train to get stronger and improve lifting technique to beat the competition, salespeople need to continuously train and improve their sales technique to beat the competition and grow sales. With the right mindset and these four key points, achieving success is only a matter of time.