When Sales is Like Boxing

Boxers in action
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Many sports are team sports. Imagine a football player trying to pick up a single yard without the rest of his team surrounding him. Or a hockey player, trying to defend her goal while, at the same time, trying to advance the puck into the opponent's zone. Neither is going to happen.

But there are some sports where it's one on one. Boxing is one of these sports. And while virtually every boxer has a team in their corner, when the bell sounds, the boxer stands alone.

Hours of Training for Each Three-Minute Round

Imagine how well a boxer would do if they decided to skip training. "I'm good enough," they might say. "I don't need any more training." I'm sure you'll agree, things won't go well for that boxer.

So many sales professionals believe that their sales skills are good enough. "I have better things to do than to sit around, listening to how others think I can get better at my job." That sound familiar?

The truth is, if you don't commit to continually improving your sales skills and to adding new skills, you will begin to lose more sales, more commissions and more sales positions.

Devoting time to improve may be challenging, but, like a boxer, you need your time in the "gym" getting ready for when the bell sounds.

There's Nowhere to Hide

There is no shade when in sales. You have a poor month by missing your quota, your manager will know about it. Get angry with a customer and tell them off?

Your manager and your customer's fellow business associates will find out.

In boxing, a boxer can try to stay away from an opponent, but there is no place to hide. In other words, there is no shade in the shade in a boxing ring nor is there shade in sales.

If you made a mistake or had a bad month, you need to get off the carpet and get right back into the fight.

It's up to you and unless your manager throws in the towel (meaning you get fired) you're going to need to learn how to take a punch and keep standing in harm's way.

Your Corner Team

Every boxer has a couple of people in their corner. Usually, they have their trainer and a "cut man," whose job it is to close up any facial cuts so that the boxer can continue the fight.

In sales, your manager or sales coach is your corner man and you teammates are your cut men. Your manager till tell you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong, and your teammates will help you get over a lost sale (closing your cut) and motivate you answer the bell for another round.

Getting Knocked Out

Sales is simply not for everyone. Neither is boxing. If a boxer gets knocked down a few times, no big deal. Getting knocked down or knocked out is somewhat expected in the sport. But if a boxer spends more time on the mat than on his feet, he should consider a different career.

Losing sales is also something that sales professionals should expect. There's an old expression that says "you can't win them all." As sad as this saying is, it is true.

But if you lose way more sales than you win, it might be time for you to hang up your gloves and try a different career.

Sales is a tough career and is certainly not the right career for everyone. While most people could benefit by spending some time in a sales position, not everyone should make a career out of it.

Losing most of your sales? Try something different.