How Sports Psychology Can Improve Your Sales

Learn from the Habits of Highly Successful Sportspeople

I am often asked «How can sports psychology help salespeople, surely they are totally different areas of expertise?» and my answer is simply this:

Every sport has different skills sets & disciplines and requires different areas of knowledge – yet most, if not all, now accept that mental strength and readiness is the single most important factor that separates the winners from the also-rans.

I’m sure you will accept that at the pinnacle of any sport the top athlete’s skill levels and abilities are extremely close?

My sport is golf. In any given week there are 20, 30 even 40 players who could win a tournament – if it was all down to their inherent ability to hit a golf ball. But it’s not! Every week it’s the player who thinks right and plays right that wins – not necessarily the most skilful player on show!

If you follow football; does the best team always win the match? No.

This demonstrates how you think matters!

And as someone who’s been involved in Sales and Sales Management for many years and is now actively involved in the training and development of sales forces throughout the country, I believe the same is true of our industry.

How salespeople think, matters!

Sales success is all in the mind. Yes you need selling skills. You need product knowledge. You need the ability to plan and prepare. As does the golfer; he needs to be able to drive the ball, play out of bunkers, play flop shots and putt. BUT! That all said; it’s how he thinks during the round that will determine his success and so it is in selling too. How you think during the day, during the call, ultimately determines your success.

So here is a brief glimpse into some of the areas that highly successful sportsmen and women excel at and how they would benefit us in the sales game too.

Practice, Practice, Practice… but in right way:

The top echelon of sportsmen and women make every second count when practicing. They work all areas of their game to the maximum, not just the points they’re good at. They dissect their sport into its smallest components and ensure they are world class in each and every one of them.

Take a long jumper. The UK Olympic qualifying distance is 8.20mts. If an athlete is coming up short of this target – let’s say 7.90mts, he doesn’t just keep practicing by running and jumping over and over hoping to get longer – he practices in the right way. He and/or his coach analyses every area of his performance and works on it in order to improve.

Technique: Take-off and landing – is his method right?

Physical: Does he have enough power in his legs for an explosive run up? If not – into the gym!

Diet: Is he eating properly, is he carrying a few pounds too many?

Mental: Does he have the belief in himself and his ability?

Technical: Is he using the whole run-up area – jumping too soon before the board?

You get the point? They don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over hoping it will get better.

The first thing to do in order to get better at selling is to think about the way you practice and rehearse your selling, your pitch, your selling style (if you even do it!) and create a solid routine.

First Impressions: Approach to the customer, Appearance? Do you adapt to what you see?

Presentation: Do you establish customer objectives? Translate selling points into benefits? Do you tell rather than ask?

Profitability: Do you always look to up-sell? Provide add-ons?

Closing: Do you make saying «yes» easy? Ask for referrals?

I’ve worked with many golfers and salespeople of all abilities and the thing that correlates most to improved performance is the way you practice. To keep motivated, create a Personal Progress Log – break your sales role into all of its different facets and mark whether your own performance in each area is Not Good Enough, Good Enough or Excellent and then work away on each area no more than a few at a time – to get them all up to Excellent.

Study, learn and rehearse – in sales this is your practice – the equivalent of going to the driving range for golfers. And like I tell all golfers, if you want to improve don’t make practice routine, make practice hard and challenge yourself. What can your team do to become dedicated to continual improvement?

Stay Focussed and in the Moment:

Staying in the present means that you give whatever you are doing your complete and undivided attention. In sport, this means you’re not thinking about your score, why you think you just mishit that shot or 3 putted the last hole. All your energy is on the task at hand. This is also true when selling. No point reflecting on missing out on that last sale, being caught out by an objection or forgetting to up-sell your add-ons and accessories – while you drive to your next appointment or await your next customer coming into the store. The last sale is over!

Yes you will and should have time to reflect later on, when the selling day is done but DON’T do it on the way to the next call or while you wait. Don’t bring yourself down. Focus on the positives in your abilities and think how the next sale will happen successfully.

It’s counter-productive not to be in the present!

If you play golf for example, just think back to the last time you started playing well and subsequently thought about shooting your best score, «if only I can keep it going for the last few holes» – only for your game to unravel!

Staying in the present is easier said than done, I appreciate that; and like everything else it takes practice but it can and should be done.

Create a highly repeatable routine – follow your Sales Process:

In golf, the top players in the world all go through the exact same routine before every shot, even down to the number of practice swings. Watch them and you’ll notice that the number of seconds it takes to go through their pre-shot routine is the same every time. This helps them stay focussed on the process of shot-making and not get too caught up on outcome thoughts such as; «This putt for the Open» or in football when they think «This penalty to get through to the World Cup Final» (Many football supporters will be all too familiar with what happens when a player focus on the outcome of the penalty!)

What’s your routine when selling? Pre-sale or during a sale? Post sale? Don’t have one? Do you factor in your Sales Process and plan and prepare accordingly?

Well unless you are perfect – take leaf from the Pro’s and get a routine that makes you feel comfortable and confident so you perform at your best when selling.

Know how to calm yourself down when the pressure is on.

How do you cope with the pressure of hitting demanding targets? Or dealing with a tough customer who’s giving you a hard time? In sales, nerves can and do kick in when the pressure is on and once again we have an area where selling can learn directly from the sports arena.

I’ve worked with enough golfers to know that the good ones know powerful techniques to calm themselves down to prevent nerves turning into panic and negatively affecting their performance. They use nerves to their advantage. Because if you are nervous it’s really a good sign – it shows that what you are doing matters! You care!

There are many ways to control nerves such as breathing techniques or using your peripheral vision or having special thoughts/places to go in your head. I recently read that Jesper Parnevik would try to solve math problems in his head when it all got too much when playing. So there are countless ways to do it! You just need to find a technique that helps you.

Remember, nerves cannot be eliminated totally IF what you are doing matters to you. If it’s not important or way below your level of ability and skill – you probably won’t be nervous. But when it matters – then you need the awareness to appreciate that feeling nervous is «normal» in fact it’s desirable – and then have a way that suits you in dealing with it and let the nerves help your performance, rather than hinder it.

The power of acceptance and moving on:

No one is successful 100% of the time. Mistakes happen. Sales are lost. But beating yourself up about it won’t improve your next performance!

By all means, at the appropriate time analyse what went wrong and take steps to ensure it won’t be repeated again if it’s within your power to do so but being able to accept a setback and not let it cripple you mentally is imperative to peak performance.

In golf, being able to accept the outcome of every shot is a trait that all the top players possess. Although almost impossible to achieve, the optimal state for golf would be if you could become emotionally indifferent to good and bad shots and remain on the same level throughout – but show me any sportsperson who’s not emotionally charged and pumped up for winning and I’ll show you a loser!

It’s a balancing act. Remaining in emotional control when it matters most can be done but once again it takes practice, discipline and the finding of techniques that work for you. Then you need the ability to let it all go – when it goes wrong!

Padraig Harrington tells himself as part of his pre-shot routine that although he has a positive intention for the shot, if it doesn’t go where he wants it to, it’s better to accept it and move on, than get upset. He wants his mind to be clear, ready for the next shot – wherever it may be from – not harking back to the previous swing that put him in trouble.

Try giving yourself that same pep talk before your next sales call. Don’t let setbacks drag you down!

Conclusion

Ensure your sales people make every second of selling time count! That’s when they are performing their trade, their skill, their chosen career.

Encourage them to put the above ideas into practice and you will see continuous improvement in their sales ability and performance.

The sports industry has spent millions of dollars and decades of research fine tuning these techniques. Use them. They work!

Should you wish to discuss how Sports Psychology can help you and/or your Team improve Sales Performance please feel free to drop me an email or give me a call.

Here’s to successful Selling!

The Inner Coach

You can find more information on ways Sport Psychology can help your Sales right here:

Develop Your Inner Coach Series

Marrying Yourself: Positive Songs, Positive Music And New Marriage

Chante Moore is known for love songs which are seen as positive songs by listeners all over the globe. Hits like "Chante's Got A Man" are balanced by her large repertoire of mellow songs. Some positive music, including one (and possibly more) of Chante's love songs, can be used in weddings and commitment ceremonies. Those songs are relaxing and ideal for ceremony. The type of marriage involved has typically featured a couple. Chante broke new ground when debuting on a reality show and deciding to marry herself. The act was documented on the television show; it represented the theme of a book which was released around the same time period.

Her book was marked as a source of self-love material. Positive songs about romantic love provide the perfect opportunity to describe how self-love is important. By writing this material, Chante merged the romance with wisdom and the music. While we can not all marry ourselves on a network television show, Chante's example showed that positive music and its' singers do not have to stick to the status quo. And, in fact, if they have something interesting and informative to share, they will often depart from the status quo at some point: sharing information that is seen as marginal and uncommon.

Another artist willing to break the mold, Queen Latifah, went through a similar theme in her life. In past songs, Latifah has advocated for more respect for women and more unity among people as a whole. In her past appearance on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Latifah expressed that she was currently discovering and loving herself day by day. She described the unique move while wearing a wedding ring, which she was asked about by the show's host. Latifah's comments would suggest allegiance with a similar theme in the self-love community- real love begins with self-love.

Music can be a motivating. Backing up the positive songs with action can increase the effectiveness. When you're reaching for relationship happiness, and lowering your standards, this can mean you will have to talk yourself into things- instead of being completely clear on sincerity, you have to ask questions, repeatedly play devil's advocate, to turn away from the internal pulls which signal problems.

Positive music and can help us remember how we are supposed to be treated and treat others. And unique methods, like self-love marriage, can make it that much harder for us not to follow through with the messages in the music.

The Ryder Cup – Europe Vs USA Biennial Golf Competition

The Ryder Cup is a hotly contested biennial competition between The United States of America and Europe. This is golf played at the highest level and although few prisoners are take, the competition evokes real feelings of passion from players and gallery alike. However, it was good to see the friendliness and sporting ethos returning into the competition after the 2010 event when The Ryder Cup was held in Wales for the first time.

The fuse was lit in 1921 when the inaugural event took place in Scotland as Great Britain and Ireland took on The United States of America. Gleneagles played host on this occasion and so the onset of the great rivalry between our nations began. Although the «home» team were triumphant, it was not long before the USA were champions at every Ryder Cup match. The rest of Europe were then included, helping even up the odds somewhat!

Samuel Ryder set about donating a cup, together with the promise of £5 to each golfer on the winning side. He also paid for some chicken sandwiches and champagne.

The image engraved upon the Ryder Cup is that of the man responsible for teaching Sam Ryder how to become a great golfer himself. His name was Abe Mitchell, and although selected as the 1927 Captain for Great Britain and Ireland he became ill before embarking aboard the Aquitania and could not make the arduous journey across to New York.

The Ryder Cup has not been held in Scotland for forty years, but is «coming home» in 2014 when it will once again be contested at Gleneagles. The course chosen to host this prestigious event is The PGA Centenary Course. This is a course re-designed by one of the «greats» Jack Nicklaus, who declared it was «the finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with» and it’s fast becoming recognised as a new classic.

September 2012 will see The Ryder Cup being fought over in Illinois at the Medinah Country Club with team Captains chosen as Davis Love III for The United States and Jose Olazabal for the defending holders of the cup. Jose is sure to have a tear in his eye as he captains the Europeans as he will be thinking about his dear friend and Ryder Cup team-mate Seve Ballesteros who passed away on 7th May 2011 aged 54. Seve was a fine ambassador for golf in general and The Ryder Cup in particular, and will be sadly missed.

We have put together an information site about golf in Scotland, with a little bit of history about the great game, which we hope you enjoy reading about.

Buying Your Tickets For The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the most popular sporting events that brings together cricket teams from across the world. It features more than 40 matches played between 10 national teams. The 2015 World Cup slated to be held in New Zealand and Australia is also expected to be a huge public spectacle.

This simply means that thousands of tickets will be up for sale to the cricket fans who wish to watch the matches for their favorite teams. It’s a major sporting event and if you are a cricket fan, you cannot miss out on these amazing matches.

You will of course be required to have tickets to gain access to the matches. Fortunately, there are different ways through which you can purchase your tickets, whether you are a local based attendee or an international one. The earlier you can purchase your tickets to the matches you are interested in the better it will be for you. You can use the World Cup 2015 schedule to pick the matches to buy tickets for. It is a simple way of ensuring that you get to watch all matches you consider important.

Buying your tickets when based in Australia

If you are located in Australia, buying your Cricket World Cup 2015 tickets is made very easy. You can use the official website to purchase the tickets online for all your preferred matches. Using a credit card, you can buy all the tickets that you need. You also have the option of purchasing the tickets directly from the official provider for the cup Ticketek. It has portal links to the official website and you can buy using a credit card or cash. You can also purchase your match tickets via phone from Monday to Fridays.

Buying your tickets when based in New Zealand

If you are based in New Zealand, you have the option of making an online purchase from the official World Cup website. Ticketek agencies based in New Zealand will also offer you an easy time buying your tickets for the matches in person. Orders can also be made by phone during normal business hours. It is however important to remember that the phone service is not open during public holidays and is open between 9 am and 5 pm.

Buying your tickets when you are an international attendee

Just because you are located far from where the matches are taking place does not mean that you cannot attend the matches you love the most. International attendees have the official Cricket World Cup 2015 website readily available for all their ticketing needs. The online portal is designed to be user friendly. Hence, they are very easy to use. You can also take advantage of travel packages that come complete with the tickets for selected matches and accommodation. The other option is to buy the tickets that you need on the phone, but you would have to cater to the calling fees. You will never miss out on a plan you feel is most suitable for you.

Sports and Hobbies in Kenya

Kenya is a land of acclaimed of numerous sportsmen who rule race tracks both locally and internationally, with an abundance of creative hobbies to pursue in spare time.

Sports and hobbies in Kenya are embedded in the country’s culture and are used to promote the highly social lifestyles and collectivist nature of the populace. By investing in sports as a culture (shown through the number of gold medals she has won), Kenya has also cemented its reputation as a home of sports champions. The Kenyan national anthem is a frequent tune at international sporting events as sports men and women receive accolades for their sporting achievements.

Notable Kenyan sportsmen

Kenya has nurtured real sports talent that includes sportsmen and women with domestic and international status who have won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals:

  • Great Marathoner Catherine Ndereba
  • Long-distance runner Paul Tergat
  • Long-distance track runner Tegla Loroupe
  • Gold medalist Ezekiel Kemboi
  • Current 800m Olympic world record holder David Rudisha
  • 800m Olympic gold medalist and winner of the Golden League Jackpot Pamela Jelimo
  • Olympic gold holder, Samwel Wanjiru (deceased)
  • Safari Rally driver Ian Duncan
  • Rugby’s Humphrey Kayange

Major sports in Kenya

There are assortments of major sports that Kenyans are engaged in from childhood, through school years up to professional level:

Track & Field

Kenya is known worldwide for its achievements in track and field, including short and long-distance track and field, road and walking races, cross country and marathons.

Most annual marathons held in Kenya are for social causes, including:

  • Lewa Marathon
  • Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon
  • Safaricom Marathon
  • Kass International Marathon
  • Kisumu World AIDS Marathon
  • Sotokoto Safari Marathon

Kenya Sevens Rugby Team

In 2012, Kenya Sevens Team finished fourth in 2012’s IRB World Sevens Series and had a good start in 2013, with a second place win after England, contesting at Wellington Sevens, New Zealand, which is their best performance yet. The Safari Sevens Rugby Tournament and Safaricom Sevens are some of the local rugby events.

Kenya National Football, the Harambee Stars

Formerly a force to reckon with, the team is presently a shadow of its former self. Internal management conflicts, misconduct among funs and poor pay for players have contributed to poor performance of the team in national and regional games. However, local sports teams such as Gor Mahia and AFC Leopard have a massive fan base and are targeted to change football in Kenya.

Common Hobbies

Most Kenyans have individual hobbies based on their interests and where they live. Rural folks are laid back while urban folks are more actively involved in their hobbies. There are hobbies common across ages, gender, social status and regions in Kenya that include:

  • Attending major events such as festivals, fashion shows, sport matches, political and religious rallies
  • Going to theatres and movie cinemas
  • Reading
  • Watching home movies and listening to music
  • Watching local television and radio channels
  • Travelling and touring
  • Karaoke (there’s a growing karaoke culture in urban Kenya)

Most young people consider logging into social media as a hobby, checking their accounts at least thrice a day. With almost every Kenyan having a mobile phone, their spare time is spent in mobile messaging, browsing the internet and socializing through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

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Liverpool FC – The History Of The Badge And The Meaning Of The Crest

Liverpool Football Club are one of the most successful teams in English and European football history, and the club not only has massive support in England but also around the world, the club probably has many millions of fans. Liverpool were founded in 1892 and have won 18 League titles, seven FA Cups and famously, they are five times winners of the European Cup and Champions League, combined.

The club badge or crest, is the epitome of this famous club, and the badge on their shirt is often kissed by the players when celebrating a goal or a victory, as a sign of loyalty and love for the club. The badge has changed considerably since the formation of the club well over a hundred years ago, but today’s crest has much significance about the history and tradition of this famous football club.

The club badge is predominantly based on the city’s famous Liver Bird, which has represented the city for many centuries. The mythical bird, which many believe to have been derived from a cormorant, can be seen on the top of the clock towers on the Royal Liver Building, where two famous Liver birds sculptures dominate the building and overlook the River Mersey, and they date back to 1911. Many modern myths have evolved regarding the origin of the Liver bird, but it is widely accepted that they watch over and protect the people of Liverpool and myth dictates that should they ever leave, the river Mersey would burst its banks and flood the city.

The Liver bird dominates the centre of the Liverpool badge, which is placed inside a shield. The image of the Liver bird on the badge has a short head and curved beak, which is more usually associated with a bird of prey rather than a cormorant, but it retains the sprig of laver, a type of seaweed, in its mouth.

In 2008, Liverpool FC attempted to claim copyright for the Liver bird image, but they failed in their attempt as it was deemed that the Liver bird belonged to all the people of Liverpool and not one company or organisation. The Liver bird image is also used by several other organisations.

Above the shield is a representation of the famous Shankly Gates, which were erected outside the Anfield Stadium in 1982, as a tribute to Liverpool’s former and most famous manager Bill Shankly, who had led Liverpool from Second Division mediocrity, to win three League titles, two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup. Bill Shankly is regarded by most fans as the greatest Liverpool manager, by the way he transformed the club.

Across the top of the Shankly Gates, and portrayed in the badge, are the words You’ll Never Walk Alone, which is the title of the song by Gerry and the Pacemakers that has been adopted by Liverpool fans as the club’s anthem, this again stems during Shankly’s time as manager, and is still sung reverently by Liverpool fans today.

The twin flames either side of the shield are symbolic of the Hillsborough memorial outside Anfield, where an eternal flame burns in memory of the 96 Liverpool fans who tragically died in the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, when the fans were crushed due to overcrowding during Liverpool’s FA Cup semi final against Nottingham Forest, 766 fans were also injured in the disaster.

The date of the formation of the club is clearly displayed below the shield, and while the club crest has changed a number of times over the years, it symbolises some of the most important events in the history of the club, the badge is worn with honour and pride by both players and fans alike.

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Spanish Famous Soccer Players

Soccer is the most popular sport in Spain. The Spain soccer team is a superior team and has produced the famous Spanish soccer players for years. As a national team, Spain was not able to achieve any success in FIFA world cup except the 1998 world cup. The team reached the quarterfinal stage by winning eight matches. This was only the best impressive performance in FIFA games where they lost to France. Spain participated in eleven world cups and it was ranked number four in 1950.

Though superior, the world cup squad never gave good results. The famous Spanish soccer players are Luis Suarez, Raul Gonzalez Blanco, Kubala, Alfredo Di Stefano, and the goalkeeper Zamora. Also, Michel, Santillana, and Butragueno are the rising stars of Spanish national team. Most interestingly, the world famous Spanish clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona have provided Spanish soccer with best world famous players. The Spanish clubs are more popular around the world and let us have a look at few big names.

Raul Gonzalez Blanco was born in Madrid, Spain on June 27, 1977. On the club level, Raul as a member of Real Madrid is the most impressive soccer player who was responsible for the victory in Champions League in 1998. Again, in 2002, he was the leading player who allowed Real Madrid to win the Champions league. He was a real hero in the whole tournament and scored the famous two goals that turned the whole situation of the game.

The famous Spanish soccer players include names of world famous goalkeepers. Ricardo Zamora was named as the best goalkeeper in 1958. The place of Zamora has remained unchallenged and not a single goalkeeper in Spain is able to reach his height. He is the greatest goalkeeper produced by Spain and played with the national team for more than 46 occasions. Also, he played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Spain has managed to provide steady goalkeepers like Luis Arconada and Andoni Zubizarreta. Edson Arantes Do Nascimento also nicked as Pele, is regarded as one of the famous Spanish soccer players of all time.

Most of the star players from around the world are involved in the famous Spanish soccer players list. The players signed by Real Madrid include big names such as Roberto Carlos, David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Robinho, and so on. To add on the world famous Barcelona soccer club granted Spanish nationality to Brazilian world famous player Ronaldinho and Mexican player Giovani.

The world cup winning captain of Argentina, Diego Maradona is related to world famous Spanish club Barcelona. The other famous players related to Barcelona club are Marcelo Trobbiani, Alberto Acosta, Marcelo Saralegui, Nicolas Hernandez, etc. Barcelona club from Spain is considered to be one of the top 10 clubs in the world.

Though the Spain soccer national team is not successful on international level, the Spanish soccer has got great respect on world sports platform. The Spanish soccer has great future and the list of famous Spanish soccer players is definitely going to rise in coming years.

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