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

What Coffee Capsules Are Compatible With Nespresso

Not all Nespresso machines work with any coffee capsule.

Water in the capsule container instead of Coffee in the Cup: The new Nespresso Machine models create incompatibility with Capsule Clones. In the test performed by K-Tipp, a large European Consumer Magazine, in January 2014, especially capsules from Coop, Jacobs and Aldi did not work, whereas Pressogno, Café Royal and La Caffè Mocha achieved 100% compatibility.

Nespresso has changed the way capsules are pierced, causing some compatible capsules to no longer function properly. The needles in the latest Nespresso models are so thin, that they are not able to pierce the capsule of some competitors and in the extreme case, will crush the capsule.

The Nespresso machine models «Pixie», «U» and «Inissia» are using the new, thinner injectors. This is «part of our ongoing development» of the capsule system says Nestle.

The problem for customers: While the new, thinner needles work well with the original Nespresso Aluminum capsule, they struggle with some plastic capsules from other manufacturers, as the needles are too thin and can’t pierce through the hard plastic.

The result: crushed capsules, half-full cups and plenty of water in the body, or the machine simply refused their service and turned off.

Our advice: Anyone who has previously used coffee capsules from other manufacturers should keep their Nespresso machine as long as possible, as the new machines do not work with all capsule clones.

K-Tipp performed a test with 12 Nespresso coffee machines and 8 Coffee Capsule brands

The most important outcome:

Capsules from these brands fit into all machines and are 100% compatible with the machines tested:

  • the Pressogno capsules «Espresso Medium» (SPAR and Volg),
  • the «Espresso» capsules Café Royal ( Migros) and
  • the capsules «Espresso» La Caffè Mocha (Coop, Fust and InterDiscount ).

These capsules did not work

By far the most problems occurred with the following brands:

  • the capsules «Espresso Classico» Jacobs Momente and
  • the capsules «Espresso 1882» Caffè Vergnano.

None of these capsules worked in the Nespresso «U» of Koenig. The needle could not pierce the capsules from Jacobs and the machine shut down.

Water ran passed the Caffè Vergnano capsule straight into the cup.

Jacobs manufacturer Mondelez says: «We are working to regain compatibility as soon as possible. There was a similar statement from Coop, stating that the suppliers would adapt to the changes.

The capsule «Supremo» from 100 % Espresso (available at Aldi) also proved incompatible: The Aluminum foil came off the capsule in almost all the testing. Particularly annoying was that in some cases, the foil was caught in the machine and had to be scraped off with a knife. Aldi is aware of the problem and says that in the problem with the foil has been resolved.

How the test was performed:

K-Tipp bought 12 standard editions of current Nespresso machines from De’Longhi, Koenig and Turmix. 10 Capsules from 8 different manufacturers were tested in every single machine.

  • Did the mechanism work properly?
  • Did the needles pierce the capsule or crush it?
  • Did we get a cup of coffee or some watery broth?
  • Not every deformation of some plastic capsule necessarily led to a loss in quality. However if there was more water in the cup than expected, this was considered a malfunction

How To Be An Excellent Football Player

Playing football looks like an easy task. But if you try it, you will find it somewhat difficult. Similar to any kind of sports, you have to learn specific skills. Also, you must know some of its places so you can enjoy playing it.

If you want to excel in this sporting activity, you have to practice. Also, you have to focus much of your time and effort so you can be a better football player. It would be a smart idea for you to learn only from the experts. This way, you are sure that you are getting the right knowledge and information.

Football Playing Tips

Boost your cardio – An excellent cardiovascular workout is running 3 miles per day. This will help you at your peak fitness. It would be wise also for you to run uphill as much as you possibly can.

Increase your speed – Stand on a barrel or on a safe object with the same height. After that, land on both feet in a squatting position and stand up straight as fast as you possibly can. Ensure you are well stretched and wared up prior to performing such activity in order to avoid injury. This exercise indeed will strengthen quick reflex muscles in your legs.

Learn new skills – If you see new tricks by a professional, you must watch it very closely, over and over again prior to trying it. Experts recommend spending about 10 minutes daily for learning and mastering the trick. You must not try it in a game until you really can do it perfectly.

Play with both feet – Plenty of footballers play better with one foot than the other. Experts say that by concentrating on your weaker foot, you may have a quick win. It would be wise for you to use your weaker foot when kicking a ball against a wall. Apart from that, consider having a scratch game in training where everyone can play only with their weaker foot.

Tips For Improving Your Weaker Foot

There are different drills in order to improve your control, touches and balances. First, kick ups with your weaker foot. Kick up the ball using the laces section of your foot for about 5-10 minutes. Once you become better, do not let the ball bounce on the ground as long as you can.

Second, trap the ball with your weaker foot. Throwing the ball upwards and trapping it by allowing the ball fall on your toe part is indeed the simplest way of doing this. Once you notice some improvements, throw the ball against a wall and trap it with your weaker foot when it bounces back towards you. After making successful traps, throw the ball with increase intensity. Try controlling it with a single first touch.

There are indeed a lot of things you can do to improve your skill. Watch live football games to learn new tricks from professionals.

An Uneasy Relationship – England Vs The Rest of The World

As a nation that once laid claim to the world's largest Empire, the United Kingdom has often traded blows with countries across the globe.

Politically, many British people often look upon Europe and its increasing influence in their lives as a source of annoyance. With specific reference to England, the English are known for their own patriotic beliefs and mannerisms. Whether it be staunchly in favor of keeping the pound or sometimes even something as trivial as our predisposition for tea drinking as a tool of social cohesion, our European cousins ​​and those further afield often deride us as 'Little Englanders'.

When it comes to football then, it is no surprise that such squabbles manifest themselves. In late February, there was the furore surrounding claims in the tabloid press that England's training complex for the impending World Cup in South Africa was so far half-built and ramshackle, some even going so far as to describe it as 'a dump'.

The £ 20 million Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg, the venue for England's first game against USA, has ignited English passions and prompted hasty rebuttals from those abroad. Although the accommodation is of a high standard, the training and medical facilities are still far from complete.

After this, following his recent visit, England manager Fabio Capello stated that he was happy with the progress being made.

South Africans, including World Cup ambassador and ballerina Andile Ndlovu have rallied round their country as it bids to host the final tournament yet. The spokesman for the Bafokeng sports complex, Martin Bekker, said that "the foreign media, especially the English, have lacked the courtesy to find out from us how preparations are going."

This is not the first incident involving England, its football fans and its national press engaging in verbal warfare and it certainly will not be the last.

One only has to look at certain authority figures in the world football and the chagrin they draw from the English to examine the roots of animosity between 'us and them'. The President of FIFA, the world's governing body, Sepp Blatter and his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini have all voiced their views on the state of English football.

Likewise Jack Warner, the FIFA Vice-President and head of its CONCACAF region is another who petitions condemnation. In his case, it seems he's a complicated individual who has a 'Jekyll and Hyde' approach to England. Once he was quoted as saying 'nobody in Europe likes England' yet he is supposedly one of the supporters for our 2018 World Cup bid.

Meanwhile Blatter is considered by some as anti-English, a man who never has a good word to say about the country or its football. During the Cristiano Ronaldo transfer saga, Blatter was open in saying that the player should move to Real Madrid and that keeping him at Manchester United adjusted to "modern slavery."

Clearly he is hopelessly ignorant of the treatment suffered by the real slaves of the past and how it bears little relevance to highly-paid footballers. His 6 + 5 rule, designed to cur the number of foreign players in teams and enhance their domestic number is somewhat noble in its intent although it has been interpreted as a direct attack on the English clubs, which is boosted by a large overseas contingent, have recently dominated the competition.

Michel Platini has also displayed sour grapes over England's success in Europe. One of his quotes, relating football finances, states that he wants to "create a situation where every team has a chance of winning and there is a more level playing field. and financial fair play, but sometimes you do not have that in England. "

Although England and its press often feel aggrieved at attacks from abroad, Platini in particular does have a point when he claims to be concerned about foreign ownership and increasing debt mountains.

One only has to look at the forlorn situation at Portsmouth to understand where he is coming from. If England's biggest clubs such as Manchester United and Liverpool did not rely on huge income streams to keep them tapping over, the problem would become cataclysmic, not just for English football but for the entire game.

No matter, England's uneasy relationship with the rest of the world is likely to continue for some time yet as we typically resist interference from beyond our shores.

Four Different Baltimore Pro Football Teams Have Won Championships

Winning the championship is the primary goal of any football team, or any sports team at all really. There is only one reason to go out and play and that is to win the championship. A championship season is not only rewarding to the players that duke it out on the field, but also to the fans that root them on. Cities and regions should be very proud of their championship winning teams.

Baltimore is a great football town and professional football has been present there in one form or another for more than 60 years. Many people don’t know this, but four different professional football teams have won championships while representing the city of Baltimore.

The Baltimore Ravens – 2000

The last Baltimore team to win a league title in pro football was the team that currently represents the city in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens began as a franchise in 1996, having been active as the Cleveland Browns the previous year. They had a few tough years, but in 2000 everything came together behind a strong running game and an out of this world defense. They ended up defeating the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.

The Baltimore Colts – 1958, 1959, and 1970

The Baltimore Colts won championships three times. In 1958, they defeated the New York Giants for the NFL title in what many would refer to as the greatest game ever played. After trailing most of the 1959 title game, the Colts would eventually score 24 unanswered points and defeat the Giants in a rematch of the previous year’s championship game by the score of 31-16. The Colts won their third league title in 1970 when they beat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl V by the score of 27-17. Technically, the Colts have a fourth title as they were champions of the NFL in 1968, but went on to lose Super Bowl III to the New York Jets of the American Football League before the two leagues merged.

The Baltimore Stars – 1985

The Stars franchise had played the first two seasons of their time in the USFL in the city of Philadelphia. The team was moved to Baltimore for 1985 and though they weren’t as successful as they had been in the past, they were able to make it into the playoffs. The magic was still there though and they marched through the post season and would win the last championship game in USFL history by defeating the Oakland Invaders.

The Baltimore Stallions – 1995

The Canadian Football League expanded into the United States in the mid 1990’s, and one of the cities that got a team was Baltimore. In 1995, their second season, the Baltimore Stallions not only won their division, but they became the first team based in America to win the Grey Cup as champions of the Canadian Football League. The team was gone the next year as they were moved to Montreal and renamed the Allouettes.

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