We celebrate them at the Olympics, we cheer them on in university stadiums and we go wild when “our team” wins the fill-in-the-blank Cup. Turns out there is more to dribbling a ball down a court, or spiralling a ball down a field, than once assumed. Behind the entertainment factor, athletes are some of the hardest working individuals around. They’re not simply on the court/rink/field for a few hours, rather they are training 24/7. Whether they’re weightlifting, dieting, practicing or meditating – athletes are constantly grinding to perform better and be the best versions of themselves.
So what does this have to do with sales? We’re not saying go out and recruit Lebron James as your newest account manager (which would be cool if you did!) but athletes make for excellent sales potential. Athletes develop mental toughness, a hard work ethic and the endurance needed to succeed; all of which are relevant when it comes to a career in sales. If you are staring at a resume with university athletics or pro league experience, give it a second look. The transferable skills learned in the gym or on the court are almost innumerable, but here are a few of them:
1. Team Players
Looking for people who cooperate to achieve a higher purpose, even though they realize they might not get along with everyone along the way? Welcome to an athlete’s world. They know how to put aside personal feelings and put the team above themselves. They truly know what it means to take one for the team and put in the extra effort to make things work.
This one needs no further explanation. Who better goal-oriented than athletes? This is literally what they live for, and they understand the importance of making their goals is for their own and the overall team’s success. Combined with their competitive spirit, hitting targets should be no problem for athletes-turned-salespeople.
Athletes truly understand the importance of feedback, criticism, and using those towards their own personal development. They’re very accustomed to having someone talk over their shoulder and push them to be better. Athletes are very malleable, impressionable, and easy to train – they are able to apply this from the court to the boardroom.
4. When the going gets tough…
We’ve all heard the saying, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” This is particularly true for athletes as every athlete has been through a season of loss during their athletic career. Those times when they or their teammates just can’t seem to make the scoreboard move and they experience L after L on their W/L record. Athletes know that loss only means, you work harder and you don’t give up. They dig their heels in a put in the work, until those W’s start to roll around.